“Lightning had smashed the lock on a door that was never supposed to be opened, and Mother came through.”
Revival is now my favorite Stephen King novel. Yup, forget The Dead Zone. Needful Things? What’s that? This is King’s masterwork: an indelible stroke of genius, this taut and horrifying novel hangs together so perfectly — in such a way that I find I am at a bit of a loss for words.
Am I being hyperbolic? No, not at all.
This was a reread for me. I devoured this novel in only a few hours on release day, back in 2014. A lot has changed in three years . . . I’ve grown up (and, in some ways, grown down). I’ve made mistakes and have dealt with major loss and am more like Jamie Morton than I care to admit. I was able to empathize with these characters — really feel their pain — in ways I was not able to on my first reading. Everything just hit perfectly. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this novel the first time around . . . but this time I am totally gutted.
Leave all your preconceived notions of what a Stephen King novel should or should not be at the door when starting this one. Go into it pretending it is the work of an unknown, previously unpublished author. I suspect this book is underrated because King — a master veteran, matured and skilled from years of honing his craft — makes his audience wait . . . and wait. Old-school King went for the throat much sooner (though not without some buildup). The common complaint about this one is the ‘horror’ is too rushed, or just a letdown, or comes too late in the game. I don’t get that at all. I would argue this novel features King’s finest ending (there are hints at it all through the story, I found upon rereading), but I digress.
If this were the only novel King had ever published, he would still be my favorite author. A bleak and crushing tale about drug addiction, rock and roll, and death, this is SK in primo horror mode.
Read for ‘Genre: Horror’ in Halloween Bingo.