Book Review: The Shining by Stephen King

I doubt this book needs any introduction, but just in case: Family moves into hotel to look after it on the off-season. Hotel is haunted. Family becomes hotel victims.

I really like King’s writing style for this. It’s a much shorter book than IT which I recently read, and feels more akin to The Dark Tower series in the pacing and flow. There’s lots of background story and scene setting, but it’s done with a different kind of grace and speed. I really like it.

I think however, that this book has become a victim of it’s own legacy. I went in as blind as I could be, but I had of course heard of the book. And I’d heard about the book.

I’ve heard it’s the scariest book ever. I’ve heard of people who had to stop reading it. I’ve heard of people who had nightmares for weeks after reading this.

And it left me thinking… did we read the same book??

The Shining didn’t scare me at all, and maybe that’s my fault. I think maybe I had too high expectations going in. It’s an excellent book, don’t get me wrong, it’s creepy, unsettling and unnerving, but I’d say the first 70% are much better than the ending. The buildup is great, but the climax fell flat.

I’m intrigued to read Doctor Sleep however, so that will probably be my next King book. Looking forward to hearing what about to Danny.

Now, like I did with IT, I’m going to go watch the Kubrick (1980) movies adaption (which I’ve seen before but don’t remember if I liked or not), and then go watch the 1997 TV mini-series that apparently King got involved with because he didn’t like Kubrick’s work. Looking forward to it!

[UPDATE!]: So, I watch both of these, finally. I want to preface this by saying that I think comparing books and movies/TV is pointless, because they are so completely different, but anyway.

The reason I wanted to watch both of these was mostly because I know Stephen King hated Kubrick’s adaption, which is widely seen as a great movie.

Now, to me the Kubrick movie isn’t anything special. It’s a Jack Nicholson-fest that isn’t particularly scary. It’s a great movie, don’t get me wrong, but it was probably better when it first was released.

The 1997 TV mini-series is something completely different. It was apparently well-received at the time, but looking back it gets lots of critique. It’s biggest fault is a lot of late 90s movie effect that were probably amazing back in the day but have aged terribly.

It’s also critiqued for bad acting, but I don’t see what the issue is. Kubrick’s Wendy on the other hand, is absolutely awful.

To conclude, if there’s any point in doing that, Kubrick made a better movie, but the 1997 series is a better Shining.

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