Review of “The Shining” by Stephen King

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****WARNING!! POSSIBLE SPOILER AHEAD!!!****

 

When aspiring writer Jack Torrance gets hired at the opulent Overlook Hotel, he has no idea what he is in for, and neither does his family, who is staying with him there for the entire winter. It will just be the three of them….or will it? The Overlook is said to have a very colorful past, and strange, terrifying things have happened there. Could Jack, his wife Wendy, and his clairvoyant son, Danny, become prey to a sinister, monstrous supernatural force that has become one with this historic hotel?  Will Jack be able to stave off the demons of his past, or will the power of the hotel turn them into literal demons that he can’t hope to fight? All three of them lie at the mercy of this old and rambling edifice that has housed presidents, celebrities, gangsters, and members of the elite since the turn of the 20th Century……

It may shock you, but I’m only a beginner at reading Stephen King’s works. I’ve read books 1-6 of “The Dark Tower Series,” “Carrie,” “Salem’s Lot,” “The Dark Half,” and “The Talisman,” and a few of his short stories, but I do know from what I’ve read of him that he is a master smith of the written word and of the fantasy and horror genres. One simply cannot read his works without denying the heavy influence of authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Alan Poe Robert E. Howard, J.R.R. Tolkien, Clark Ashton Smith,  M.R. James, Bram Stoker, and others.
“The Shining” is one such work in King’s catalog that towers among the others. This was when King was in his prime, that he is returning to now. This is one of the masterpieces of horror that King would become known for, and rightly so, because it’s a haunted house tale that takes place in a hotel instead of a residence. I found the main characters all very lovable, even Jack with his demons of alcholism and anger. King has a knack for putting a soft spot in the heart of the reader for some unlikely characters.
The supernatural happenings in the hotel are truly strange and terrifying, partly because alot of them are echoing down from the era between the ’20s and the ’40s, and something has always hit me as unexplainably creepy about that era. It seems to have a dark, silent menace to it that I can’t explain, as does the era of disco, but don’t get me started on that or you’ll think I’m some freaking weirdo.
Danny’s power, his “shine” is indeed compelling and interesting, and alot like Haley Joel Osment’s character’s power in “The Sixth Sense,” only more poignant and hard-hitting.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and could not put it down. I do however have one complaint, with all the supernatural evil that is going on in the hotel, it never exactly explicitly states what was the root cause of it. It’s clear a curse is on the place, but it never identifies the maleficent being that possesses the hotel, the Manager, as they call him, or what he is. And for that reason and that reason only, I’m subtracting a star from this review.
I give “The Shining” by Stephen King a 4 out of 5.

 

 

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