I've only recently got into reading the King of Horror, Stephen King. I started that journey with Pet Sematary, one of the first horror books I ever read. Horror isn't a genre of books that I have had much interest in, but after my gorge of Young Adult fiction when I was 16 years old, lasting all the way until about 18 years old, and reading general fiction from then on, I wanted to try something a little different.
I've always hated horror films, so I just assumed I would hate horror books - but when I read Pet Sematary, all of that changed - I was hooked! One thing I really enjoyed about reading it was that I could control how, and when I read it - quite unlike sitting down and watching a horror film all of the way through. And as a hater of jump-scares, I knew that such a thing wouldn't really have that effect in a book as much as it would on screen.
One thing that I was really looking forward to about The Shining, was that I had already seen the Stanley Kubrick film, and also Doctor Sleep, so I knew what kind of happened. I know there are a lot of differences between the film and the book - which was another reason why I was so looking forward to reading it!
THE REVIEW - 4.8/5
The first few chapters were familiar - already knowing the characters of Jack, Wendy and Danny from the film, it was a welcome re-introduction into some characters that I was excited to know again and learn more about; learn their true character.
One thing that I have noticed about Stephen King's writing is that I always find he likes to waffle on a bit. As much as I love his writing, I find myself sometimes wondering what this certain paragraph/chapter is really for. I know life in a hotel with three people for months on end would be very monotonous, which is reflected in his writing, but reading the book sometimes just felt like a chore.
It wasn't until the last third of the book in which I felt the purpose of all of this setup and exposition. You truly felt the Overlook coming alive, which is something I really enjoyed reading, considering I didn't really get that feel from the film - I understood the hotel on a whole new level - which in turn, made the experience of reading it even more thrilling. The Overlook really felt alive - a living and breathing entity, manipulating all who enter for its own gain. As I read on, that became more and more apparent. I know earlier I said that King tends to waffle, but when he gets to the good stuff, boy does he deliver. I don't think I've ever encountered an inanimate entity/object as the antagonist of a story before (does Sauron count?) but my goodness does it send chills down my spine. The more I think about the Overlook, the more I think about how genius and terrifying it is - a slow kind of terror, one that is always in the shadows, lurking and following - one that gently nudges you every now and then to remind you its always there.
The Shining was such a joy to read. A genuine slow horror that I think will stay with me for a long time. Terrifying not in the typical horror sense, but in a deep, psychological sense.
As someone who has only watched and analysed the film, reading the book gave me such a deep insight into the characters, and a much broader feel of the Overlook as its own entity - something which I feel didn't translate over as well in the film.
If this is your first time experiencing The Shining, then I hope you enjoy it as much as I have done. If you've watched the film, but not read the book, then I think this will complement, if not amplify the knowledge you already know about the Overlook and the characters we meet.
Have you read The Shining - what did you think? Did you enjoy the difference between the book and the film?
Let me know!