Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Book Review - Desperation

Desperation – Stephen King
This is one of King’s books that I have been meaning to read for a while. It has been likened to the Stand in the whole Good Vs Evil theme and that is fine by me. Other than that I knew next to nothing going about the book before I started reading it.
The blurb:
Welcome to Desperation. Once a thriving copper mining town in the middle of the Nevada desert, Desperation is now eerily abandoned. It's the last place that travellers like the Carver family, bound for vacation, and writer Johnny Marinville, astride his Harley, would expect to be stopped and charged. But Desperation still has a local cop - a unique regulator who patrols the wilderness highway.

The secrets buried in Desperation are as terrifying as the forces summoned to encounter them. A terrifying transformation is taking place and the travellers will soon discover the true meaning of desperation . . .
I find Stephen King’s books usually start off in one of two ways. The first focuses on a single character often with a unique voice and grabs you from the start (Dolores Clairborne or 11/22/69) the other consists of multiple point of view characters and can be either a bit confusing initially (IT) or slow to get going.
 
Desperation falls into the last category. King introduces a number of characters quickly. The reader is treated to their background and just as things begin to get interesting with them we are introduced to another character. Normally this would not bother me too much, but with Desperation the same event or situation kept occurring to each character. Whilst this was fairly interesting, I found myself impatient for the story to get going.
Luckily once the story does get going it’s a doozy (sorry but I love King’s language and turn of phrase). I thoroughly enjoyed Desperation, to the point where I think it is one of my favourite King books.
The plot maybe simple but as always the characters are fantastic. David as the boy who seems to have more to him is great. King strikes an excellent balance between drawing out his vulnerability and making him confident as being the crucial member of the group.
Johnny Marinville the writer (is there ever not a writer in King’s books) is brilliant as the flawed anti-hero. On one hand struggling to better himself and on the other selfish as sin.
It is the nemesis that is the real triumph of the story. The supernatural force behind the events in Desperation is delightfully despicable. King provides enough of an explanation to reveal what the entity is, without dwelling on the detail. That is just the right amount for me.
I purposefully try to avoid spoilers in my review so I won’t say anything revealing, but throughout King’s use of wildlife etc to creep out the reader is excellent. It really adds to the atmosphere and makes you grateful that you are safely tucked away in doors.
King has often been derided for his endings. I mostly disagree with these comments and Desperation is no exception. I would even go as far as to say that the ending to this book is very good. The plot is resolved in a definitive manner in keeping with the story.
Overall, I really enjoyed Desperation. King always hits the mark with me but this is one of his better books.
My rating: 9.0