For those not already in the know, Doctor Sleep is the sequel to Stephen King’s famous novel The Shining, and the book begins almost exactly where The Shining left off.
…warning: spoilers ahead…
Doctor Sleep continues the story of Daniel Torrance, from age eight and the events at the Overlook Hotel, up to his adulthood in New England. After having spent considerable time in his youth drifting from town to town, Dan takes on a job at the Helen Rivington House, a local Hospice in Frazier, New England where he uses his gift to provide comfort to the residents. Aided by his companion, Azreel the cat, he helps to ease their suffering, and earns the nickname Doctor Sleep.
Along with Dan, we meet another gifted character called Abra, a young girl with stronger abilities than what young Danny had at her age. Together, they go up against a dangerous group of vampire-like beings called the True Knot, who feed on these supernatural abilities like a regular vampire feasts on blood. This for me, is quite an interesting take on the vampire genre.
I’m a big fan of The Shining – book, more so than the movie – and while it had a number of comedy-gold moments, Doctor Sleep is far, far superior in that regard. There are lots of witty one-liners and laugh-out-loud moments, from beginning to end. As a result I love this book so much and rate it at 5 out of 5 stars.
We get a deeper look into Dick Hallorann’s past, which provides much needed depth and continuity with The Shining. However, as with the previous novel, Dick is once again only a minor character. The vast majority are the members of the True Knot, and I just love all of the terrific Pirate sounding names that Stephen came up with for these: Snakebite Andi, Jimmy Numbers, Black-Eyed Sue, Dirty Phil and Diesel Doug.
There was one rather irritating moment in this book when Scottish Bard, Robert Burns was referred to as Bobby Burns. As I hail from Ayrshire, this really got my goat. However, I liked the reference’s that were made to NOS4A2, a novel written by Joe Hill, Stephen King’s son, as well as the odd reference to Stephen’s other books.
Much like his father, Daniel has his issues with anger management and alcoholism, but unlike Jack, Dan enlists the help of Alcoholics Anonymous to keep him on the path of sobriety.
“The mind was a blackboard. Booze was the eraser.” – variations on p46 & p76
“Think before you drink.” – p128
I won’t say any more about this fantastic book, for fear of spoiling any more of the story, however I highly recommend it.