After The Dark Tower books, The Shining, Carrie, and his short story collections, I've pretty much solidified myself as a fan of Stephen King's writing. It's immersive, compelling, fascinating stuff really. Almost poetic at times. And fun, that especially.
I had spent a day or two as a little kid watching The Stand miniseries with my brother. I still like that and found myself very much entertained. Remembering that and my father's wisdom regarding King: movie is nothing compared to the book, I decided that would be the next King book I'd read. It's also the longest book I've read.
King has a gift for giving characters not only depth but a true presence, bringing them to life in very realistic ways. I imagine it would be difficult to write the perspectives of Nick Andros
, and Mother Abigail Freemantle
. Characters such as Larry Underwood
, Harold Lauder
, Frannie Goldsmith
, and Lloyd Henried
are all so wonderfully written, very relatable. Glen Bateman
, Randall Flagg
, Trashcan Man
, and Nadine Cross
were my favorites to read about.
The characters are one of the things that irk me about this book, however. When focused on a few characters, I think King truly shines. When there are a lot I think he tries to write them so that all of their individual idiosyncrasies have the same level of emphasis, to the point of personality overdose. The worst case is Fran Goldsmith, who seemed almost bipolar at times.
As for story, many tend to look at The Stand's the same way I do: as one story that leads to another. The first is more intriguing and scary than the second: a deadly biological weapon escapes into the world. How King describes the effect of this virus and the downfall of civilization and humanity is just haunting. Frankly because it seems like what would really happen.
The second part involving the reconstruction of society and the supernatural fight between good and evil was also very engrossing (if not a bit hammy as King can be), but not as engrossing to me. Even great books get tedious if read long enough.
The Stand is a brilliantly constructed adventure across a shell of America, delving into the grim nature of both society and humanity.