Saturday, July 28, 2012


Cujo by Stephen King
Viking Press - September 8, 1981
319 pages

Cujo was always the friendliest St. Bernard in Castle Rock, Maine. He was always friendly towards the children, the only danger he posed to them would be crushing them in his friendliness. That was until he went off chasing rabbits. When Cujo gets stuck in a hole after running after a hare, a colony of bats comes flying from the trees, and one scratches Cujo on the nose. The St. Bernard has never had a rabies shot in his life, and he immediately becomes infected. The town of Castle Rock has a new terror.

I am glad that the car was replaced before I read this book. The main part of Cujo takes place with a standoff between Cujo and two people, a woman named Donna and her son Tad. The whole thing takes place in Donna's Pinto because the car breaks down, which was what the old car was about to do before it was replaced. The book itself was one of the better King novels I've read so far; the occasional lapses into the mind of Cujo while he was affected were something that I did not see coming. I saw the end of the movie, and the end of the novel itself is much darker. However, in my point of view, darker is better.

Grade: A-

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Roadwork by Stephen King as Richard Bachman
Signet Books - March 1981
274 pages

Barton George Dawes has a problem. Well, actually, he has a few problems. He lost his job. His wife left him. His son died of a brain tumor. Oh yeah, and they're going to build a highway through his house. That's also the reason he lost his job; caught in the path of the wrecking ball. Well, fine, he says. You can take my son, you can take my wife, and you can take my job. But you aren't going to take my house as long as I'm still standing here. So he goes right ahead and buys $900 worth of guns and some gasoline for Molotovs and decides that he's just going to destroy the superhighway. And along the way he becomes friends with a Mob boss and a hitchhiker.

I apologize for the poor description of the book, but that's pretty much how it was in my point of view. Yeah, they've taken everything but my house, so instead of look for a new house like a sensible person I'm going to blow up everything, get into a (spoiler alert!)stand-off with police(spoiler end), and if everything goes my way I'll have an empty house that I can't pay for. If nothing goes my way I'll end up in jail and they'll still destroy my house. A rock and a hard place. Except, he was the one that shaped the rock and molded the hard place. Sure, a brain tumor isn't your fault, but you could have saved your marriage, and the real reason he lost his job was because he refused to sign a paper to relocate it. Yup, the place was moving instead of closing. So I have a hard time encouraging someone who creates a bad situation. Stephen King originally said that this was horrible, but then later changed his mind and said it was the best of the Bachman Books. I agree with 1985-Steve.

Grade: D


Firestarter by Stephen King
Viking Press - September 29, 1980
426 pages

Charlie McGee has a power; she can start fires with her mind. This wasn't supposed to happen, of course, but it was a result of her parents. When they were in college, they took part in an experiment for a drug known as "Lot Six" by a goverment agency known as The Shop. When Andy McGee and Victoria Tomlinson participated in this experiment, they retained minor psychic effects. However, that laboratory was where they fell in love. They ended up getting married and had Charlie. Because they both retained minor abilities, Charlie was born with major abilities. The Shop wants Charlie, and they killed Victoria for information. Now Charlie and Andy are on the run.

One problem I had with this book was the fact that a horse named Necromancer was given major significance and then has no end. (Spoiler alert!)Charlie and Andy get captured by The Shop, and they realize that if they don't want Charlie to burn the whole place down, they have to be nice to her. She likes horses, so they show her Necromancer and she learns to ride. When Andy and an officer named Cap plan to escape with Charlie, they decide that she can say she's going to ride Necromancer and then escape. When Charlie burns down the barn, Necromancer escapes and is never seen again. Seems like a waste of forty or so pages about a horse that eventually just runs wild.(Spoiler end) The description could be overpowering at times, but it was okay. Not his greatest, but okay.

Grade: B

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Dead Zone

The Dead Zone by Stephen King
Viking Press - August 1979
428 pages

After winning big at the Wheel of Fortune at the county fair, Johnny Smith takes his sick girlfriend Sarah home and then jumps in a cab, planning to go straight to his home. Today is not Johnny Smith's lucky day, however. The taxicab gets caught in an accident that kills the driver and puts Johnny into a coma for five years. When he wakes up, he needs extreme surgery on his legs, arms, and neck, but that's not all. When Johnny wakes up, he realizes that he's psychic.

Okay, that doesn't even begin to describe the plot of the book, but I couldn't reveal any more without giving it away. That alone is about the first 75 or so pages of the book. The reason that it doesn't even begin to describe the plot is because there isn't just one plot. And yet, it's all (for the most part) in Johnny's viewpoint. The problem is that this would do better as a book series or a television show (it actually was a TV show from 2002-2007). It cannot follow one storyline. Storylines are finished at various intervals, and a new one begins. Very few loose ends were tied up at the end, and the ending seemed like an easy way out of the book. I'll allow you this one bomb, Steve. But next time you'll be getting a letter and a copy of the review.

Grade: D

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Long Walk

The Long Walk by Stephen King as Richard Bachman
Signet Books - July 1979
384 pages

In future America, the ultimate sports competition is an annual walking contest known as "The Long Walk". All boys over the age of twelve take a physical and mental exam. One in fifty passes. Those who pass, up to the age of eighteen, are put in a drawing to get selected for The Long Walk. Two hundred are chosen; the first one hundred are Prime, meaning that they walk immediately. The other hundred are back-up, in case Prime walkers decide that they're terrified of The Long Walk and refuse to do it. Garraty is a Prime walker who will not back out.

I am dismayed by the sexism in this book to start. I understand that in most totalitarian dystopian societies men would be given more opportunities than women for any number of reasons, but this is a new level. Since walkers are allowed to have contact with anyone in the crowd as long as they stay on the road, walkers who have girlfriends will kiss and grab at girls in skimpy clothing in the crowd. They also talk about their women as objects that they can use to their will. Sexism aside, I found this novel interesting. (I also find it hard to believe that the original edition was 384 pages. I read it as part of the Bachman Books). While most of the walkers succumbed to physical tests, such as being shot after slowing down too much, some of them took a mental turn for the worse when the threat of death was continually being used. Sometimes a walker would be so beaten and bloody that they believe death would be better than continuing to walk. Another interesting novel from King's dystopian-favoring pseudonym.

Grade: B+

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Stand: Complete & Uncut Edition

The Stand: Complete & Uncut Edition by Stephen King
Doubleday - May 1990
1153 pages

The goverment has messed up, and a deadly superflu virus was released. As planned in the case of this event, the building of contamination was put on lockdown. And yet, Charles Campion managed to evade this and became patient zero of a disease that would be responsible. Nineteen days later, and the superflu virus, known as "Captain Trips", has killed 99.4% of the population. The survivors receive dreams of two figures: ultimate good comes in the form of a 108-year-old woman named Abagail Freemantle, where evil is embodied in the man who calls himself Randall Flagg.

Do not read this book if you are not up for some heavy reading. As I said, it is 1153 pages. There are a few full-page pictures, but the picture does not count as a page in King's world. I also will start by saying that I had high expectations for this novel. It was dystopian and contained one of the staples of high fantasy: the ultimate battle of good versus evil. However, what I did not care for was the attribution of certain animals to evil. The "good" animals died in the plague, and those are dogs and horses, which I am fine with, but apparently my favorite animals survived. I liked this until it was revealed that they were not killed because they are "evil": wolves, crows, and cats. These animals have all had bad reputations, but it is unfair, in today's age, to say that they are servants of the devil, or even the devil's imp. As for the characters, some had their flaws, but others were archetypes. Unfortunately, the archetypes were the ones that survived.

Grade: B