Stephen King's The Stand - A Review
This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death.
And this is the day after. a world where 99 percent of the population has been decimated by plague. Where the last survivors must trek across the broken world guided only by vague dreams of an old woman, and a dark man. Two sides of a coin no one wanted to flip. But flip they must if they mean to survive.
And that is the story of the book I'll be talking about today. Stephen King's The Stand.
Published by Doubleday in 1978 The Stand is, if I could sum it up, two things.
A: it is a powerful and emotional journey into a frighteningly plausible post-apocalyptic America with interesting and original characters and scenes to match that setting.
And B: a MAMMOTH of a book. Clocking in at well over a thousand pages this book is a beast to handle and takes some doing by the reader to get all the way through without rage quitting or just giving up after a while. It is, however, a fantastically written book that, despite it's size, does not fail to keep you interested and entertained throughout.
It's written in a multi-viewpoint style much like George R.R. Martin with his Song of Ice and Fire series but much more free than that. By doing this he allows us to not be stuck in one place for too long, showing us more characters and world to explore. Because of this the writing doesn't get as stall as something like Insomnia where it follows one person and his rather uninteresting journey into sleeplessness.
This also helps with the fact that most of the story isn't carried by intense action, rather the fear of action and the emotional impact of the situation the characters find themselves in. One of the most powerful scenes in the book is when the character Larry Underwood---who I swear was named after the typewriter company for some reason---is forced to walk through the Lincoln Tunnel with the power out and hundreds of cars filled with corpses crammed in there like sardines.
That, and anything with Randall Flagg is just a delight to witness. Flagg himself is a link to one of King's other projects, The Dark Tower series which I'll get around to reading sooner or later.
Well, that's the good parts done, what about the bad parts?
Well, as I said this is a very well written book but that doesn't mean it doesn't have it's flaws. There is the proverbial bad Stephen King ending, the sometimes awful side characters and pointless scenes, the over use of brand names and those lovingly awkward moments that no Stephen King fan can't help but laugh at.
There's also this very annoying part where it's just the minutes from an assembly meeting for a few chapters that just got grating after the second one. For me at least.
But, other than that I can't complain about more else, other than, of course, the size of the book. Which I have to worn people about. I'm a fairly fast reader and it took me more than three or so months to read this Goliath of a book.
But, in the end, it's worth it.
In summation I give this book 4 and a half stars. Definitely something to pick up if you're either a post-apocalyptic fan or have read anything by Stephen King and are looking for the next book, check this one out.
Till next I may hold you.