My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I am always very reluctant to read a sequel that is written years after the original. All too often it’s obvious the author no longer hears the characters voices and all too often hasn’t even seemed to reread their own work because there are mistakes. So when I heard King had done a sequel to The Shining I was surprisingly not reluctant to read it. This was one I knew I wanted to read. I loved The Shining and King fought to have it remade (as a TV mini-series) because he was unhappy with how the iconic Jack Nicholson movie had been changed. It was something I knew he’d still have a passion for and I was right.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not The Shining. It’s very different and it is a tad overlong but it doesn’t feel its over 500 page length. It takes Danny, now Dan, Torrance, from practically the days after the Overlook goes up in flames until the modern day, so from the late seventies on. We see briefly Danny and his mom and how some of the haunts still follow Danny across the country and how Dick Halloran stays in his life.
Then the bad years where Dan hits his rock bottom with alcohol and it is there splayed out in all its ugliness. From there we march closer to the now where Dan is in New England, a drifter, still drinking and he comes across Billy, an older fellow who runs a small train in a park for the kids and Casey, the boss and AA member. With their help, Dan dries out and goes to work in a hospice where what’s left of his shining, something that lessens as they age, is put to a very different use. Along with a cat that knows who is dying, Dan sits with them and using his abilities to ease their passing.
The other storyline is that of Abra Stone. We see her born to her parents Lucy and Dave and her colorful great grandma Concetta. Abra has a boatload of the Shining. As she ages she twigs onto a murdered boy and realizes he wasn’t just killed, he was somehow consumed by the lady in the hat and her followers.
Rose the Hat and the True Knot feed of the shining which they call Steam. By slowly torturing to death kids with the shining, they have become immortal, almost, and have supernatural abilities. Unfortunately for Abra, Rose picks up on her spying.
Naturally Abra and Dan’s paths dovetail and he’s all that stands between her and danger. On one hand I did predict how Dan would handle the final battle. On the other there is a coincidence to end all coincidences. The book even acknowledges it. I won’t spoil it but I think the story might have worked without it. Works with it too for that matter.
This was great. I’m glad we got to see Dan again. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again after this.
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