I’ll admit that I have a little bit of a love/hate relationship with Mr. Stephen King. What I like? I realllllyyyy like. What I don’t? I reallllyyyy don’t. His last few releases haven’t exactly been great for our torrid literary affair so his newest release, Full Dark, No Stars wasn’t on my “waiting with bated breath” list, but! Far be it from me NOT to read one of his books when I’ve enjoyed more than I’ve loathed.
The one thing that is so stuck in my mind after reading this collection of stories is how utterly PERFECT the title is. This is a bleak, depressing, completely dark book that really illustrates the worst parts of humanity. If you’re going into this hoping for some of the really popular supernatural elements (no vampires or werewolves and I’m not sorry), you’re not going to get that and you’ll be sad. All of the horror here is absolutely terrifying, gripping and entirely of the human variety, caused by people, suffered by people and — well, you get the point. This is man-made horror, not out of our control and completely disturbing. Perfect?
So, like I said, this is a collection much like Different Seasons (which I loved) and Four Past Midnight (which I did not love) and there are four tales. 1922, Big Driver, Fair Extension and A Good Marriage. If I had to rate them by how much I enjoyed them, it’d go like this: A Good Marriage, 1922, Big Driver and Fair Extension.
The problem that I’m having here is trying to review these without getting spoiler-y, they’re “short” and poignant and it’s hard to explain without actually digging into each story detail by detail. I’m going to give a brief explanation of MY OPINION about these, mostly so I don’t piss anybody off who hasn’t yet read them but intends to. Honestly, I think that’s part of the reason I enjoyed the collection as much as I did — I just picked it up and read it without a shred of background information on any of the stories. It made a difference.
Okay, so! I enjoyed A Good Marriage because I expected it to go in a certain direction and to an extent, it did, but not exactly as I expected it to.
1922 was just… classic horror and, in my opinion, a good, solid read.
Big Driver was disturbing. Absolutely, completely disturbing, a revenge plot if there ever was one and just… disturbing. It’s cringe-inducingly graphic and although the other stories are as well, this one REALLY stuck out for me. Maybe because I’m a woman…? I don’t know but yiiiiikes! It was uncomfortable.
Fair Extension was every bit as good as the others but far too predictable in my mind and it reminded me very, very much of other King stories. Neither a good or bad thing, in itself, but definitely not “new” in any sense. (Geez, I really hope that logic makes sense.) I enjoyed it though! In fact, I enjoyed all of these.
So! I will say this unto you, readers: if you enjoy Stephen King’s darker tales, those that are gruesome and rattle deep in your bones, this will be a collection that you’ll absolutely enjoy. If you don’t enjoy a strangely psychological sort of thrilling horror, you’re not going to enjoy this one little bit. Don’t pick it up expecting ghosts and zombies (errr… well, bad examples), or vampires or werewolves or whatever the kids are reading about these days because you won’t like it.
Speaking of kids these days, what are you guys reading? Anything exciting? Happy reading while you’re at it, nerdlings! Leave your thoughts here, or follow me on the twitters orrrrr email me! OR we could be NODE FRIENDS! Omg!