Doctor Sleep is the long awaited, or perhaps, long anticipated sequel to King’s The Shining. In preparation for the release of Doctor Sleep, I read The Shining for the first time – having seen the movie several times, but not having read the book. Not surprisingly, the book was better.
Doctor Sleep picks up the story of Danny and his shine, several decades later. In trying to deal with the horrors that was his childhood at the Overlook Hotel, Danny has grown up into an alcoholic, not particularly shocking. The story is Dan’s overcoming of his alcoholism, reconnection to his shine, and the relationship he develops with a young girl who can shine quite significantly more than even Dan himself.
The book is classic King. Supernatural, super engaging, and super creepy. The best part about this book was its ability to stand on its own. Yes, it’s helpful to know the back story and have an understanding of what happened to Danny in The Shining. But the story can hold its own. It hearkens back to the plot lines of the original here and there, but it has its own solid plot, characters and sense of engagement. The makings of a sequel that doesn’t really feel like a sequel – which is what we’re all really looking for, right?
If you’re a King fan, I assure you won’t be disappointed. If you’re only interested in King’s “big works” I would count this among them. I’m glad King waited these many decades for the story of Danny to come back to him naturally, instead of trying to pump out a “second best.”
I give Doctor Sleep 3.5 of 5 stars.