Review: The Shining by Stephen King

Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote…and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old. (Goodreads)

This is my very first Stephen King and I am so glad that I picked this book for my first choice. This book gave me exactly what I wanted – chills, thrills and explosions of tension which hit me over and over especially in the latter part, and most importantly, the twisted, distorted and insidious, sinister vibe that kept me on the edge of my seat; I was left breathless when I closed the book. This book is written to perfection as far as I’m concerned. I’m literally in awe of Stephen King’s prowess in writing. I have no better words to express my feelings.

It doesn’t mean that I didn’t have any issues with this book. I did, in fact, particularly in the first half.
Like I mentioned, this was my very first Stephen King so I didn’t know what to expect from his books. I wasn’t conversant with his writing style thus his super-detailed, in-depth descriptions on his characters and the build-up threw me off a little bit.
If you have known what kind of reader I am – you guess that right, I am impatient. With horror books, I expect explosions of thrills and tension pretty much right off the bat. King’s meticulous and methodical, slow-burning build-up kind of did my head in to be honest. I even thought there were lots of lots of parts that could have been cut – my bad- but the first half was pretty excruciating for me.

Nonetheless, once the “haunted house” kind of vibe and the insanity element kicked in, I was hooked. The dark, murky undertone shook me up and made me hold my breath in terror and my impression toward this book started to change. I mentioned that I found this book unnecessarily lengthy and the descriptions are way too thorough, yet I started to appreciate that’s exactly what made this book enchanting and captivating, even glorious once the connections are made.
It is funny; when you are in the midst of reading such descriptions that literally go on forever, you start to feel it is too much and can even be put off by them, but once you make the connections between things what you have thought are inconsequential/random and know they are closely tied with the plot, you feel like you are hit by a ton of bricks from the recognition, and that was exactly what happened to me. DON’T FORGET THE INSANITY!! I was stunned and astonished by how Jack’s mind slowly disintegrates and is driven into madness, and the ensuing bloodcurdlingly terrifying scenes… I actually did a complete one-eighty on his writing. He certainly has a way with words, and I was held in thrall by his writing. I could hardly put the book down while I was reading the last 150 pages.

The last 150 pages is such an irresistible page-turner. You can expect chills for an entire year in these 150 pages. The plot moves so fast and you can definitely feel the mounting tension and thrills, it’s like a barrage of explosions that come one after another. Boy, how much did I love that!

However, this book is most definitely NOT just about terror and horror. There’s humanity and friendship in this book and the execution was so on-point. It was even beautiful.
I loved how the characters – especially the main two characters – Jack and Wendy are portrayed as flawed; they are far from perfect and they have let pretty a miserable life. The depictions are visceral, gritty and truthful – they are not “just-scratching-the-surface” level, they are thorough and so descriptive. Stephen King doesn’t shy away from portraying the ugliest side of human nature, and that’s what makes his characters so realistic and relatable. Jack’s self-reflections and self-doubt were a teeny bit too long for my liking, but as I mentioned earlier, without these descriptions, I wouldn’t have been invested in him as much as I did. For that reason, I would be totally happy to give credit to the great Stephen King.

It’s 660 pages long for a kindle version. Yes, it’s bulky and you might get bored in the middle, but please stick with it. I can vouch you won’t regret it and even be blown away in the end.
If you are in need of some jolts of terror, pick up this book. I highly recommend this.

My Rating: ★★★★★

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28 thoughts on “Review: The Shining by Stephen King

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  1. Great review, Noriko. I saw the movie, but never read the book. Sounds to me like the book would be better. I’ve never read anything by Stephen King. Thanks for telling me about his writing style in case I ever do so I know what to expect. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laurie! I think this is an excellent entrance to Stephen King. It’s long and too detailed for sure, but you’ll be amazed how Stephen King piece together every single clues and hits later in the story and then generate a bigger story out of them!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Jay! You gotta read this. And remember- this book is far better than the movie which is like just scary and creepy. There’s much more depth to this book thanks to Stephen King’s excellent character descriptions.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Nina! I loved this so much! Granted, I almost gave up on this book had there not been my friends who read this book along with me, but I am now glad that I pulled through. His writing is sooooo gooood and strong!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the Shining 🙂
    It’s good to hear you enjoyed and that your first step into King’s world was a pleasant one. He does love his descriptions for sure 😀 For me that is actually what i enjoy about his writing. Most of his horror books are on the long style, and he does go in for the proper story telling 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Norrie! I agree – I was blown away how meticulous and methodical his descriptions are. That’s the vital ingredients that makes his book even more delicious! I am now so into Stephen King!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading your thoughts on The Shining and completely agree with you on the descriptive and emotive writing. Stephen King is a master and you’ll discover even more of his writing skills if you decide to read more of his books. Great review, Noriko!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much!! I totally agree – Stephen King is a master of storytelling and he weaves a very compelling stories which are not just scare and terror but also imbued with human nature!
      Of course I’m intent on reading many more from him!
      Thank you for such a sweet comment once again!

      Liked by 1 person

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