Book Review: Revival by Stephen King




384 PAGES 



A spectacularly dark and electrifying novel about addiction, religion, music and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Charles Jacobs. Soon they forge a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity.

Decades later, Jamie is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Now an addict, he sees Jacobs again – a showman on stage, creating dazzling ‘portraits in lightning’ – and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.


In one way, at least, our lives are really like movies.


Revival was a huge disappointment, even more so than King’s other 2014 novel, Mr Mercedes. I expected great things of this novel. Revival sounded right up my street. The first issue I have is that it takes ages to get anywhere. King waffles on for over a hundred pages telling us absolutely everything about James’s life including his rock ‘n’ roll days and drug addiction. Some of it was interesting but only a tiny amount. Most of it was tedious and unnecessary back story. Charles Jacobs is likable character at first and I felt emotional when personal tragedy makes him turn his back on God. King gives very little detail about how he became the demented madman he is at the end and I just don’t buy what is revealed. King gloss over this a little too much for my liking. And don’t even get me started on the ending. Revival goes all Lovecraftian but in an OTT and quite frankly ridiculous way. There’s absolutely no build up to what happens – King just has a severe case of Cluthou Mythos diahorrea. I wouldn’t mind if there had been hints things would veer in this direction or if the whole novel had been seeped in the world of the Great Old Ones. The way King injects this plot device is just awful. I enjoyed very little in Revival. King may be losing his touch and I’m not sure I can be bothered reading him anymore.




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