Having read and enjoyed a few Stephen King novels before, I somewhat begrudgingly set out to tackle The Stand (the Complete and Uncut Edition). I expected it to take me a month to read the book. I actually finished it in about five days. It was addictive and engrossing, and while some complain about the strong theistic undertonesP, I felt that whatever your religious views, it's an integral part of the plot and worked well. While King told a great story, in my opinion his greatest accomplishment in this book is making me care so much about the characters. I do empathise with characters, but I have never felt as strongly about any characters as I do about Nick, Stu, Fran, Larry, Tom, and the rest of the gang. I probably felt the strongest for Tom and Trashy. Mostly Nick. Oh God, where do I even start with Nick? I played favorites, but ultimately I liked every character. I even liked the bad guys. I love how even though King clearly showed who was a villain (for the most part), I felt sympathetic for them because they were portrayed as more than just "bad guys", but as actual people. I really mean this about the characters. At one point, I even felt stomach-sick for them. My only criticism is that I felt like the ending was a bit rushed. I would have liked to have more pages and a longer conclusion and climax. I've always loved apocalyptic fiction, and this has to be the best one I've read. I highly recommend this book. It has become one of my favorites.
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