I've always been a luke-warm fan of Stephen King, because his novels tend to be hit or miss for me. I was intrigued that he penned this one as a seque...moreI've always been a luke-warm fan of Stephen King, because his novels tend to be hit or miss for me. I was intrigued that he penned this one as a sequel to the Shining, so I picked it up. One rainy weekend later, I was done with the book, which I enjoyed quite a bit. Perfect? Of course not, but it was entertaining. The first part of the book is mostly dedicated to telling us what happened to Danny Torrance after the events of the Shining and into his adult hood, where he becomes Dan, the promiscuous alcoholic drifter who struggles to live with his Shining (psychic) abilities. Eventually after an eye-opening "morning-after" encounter with a young single mom, her child, and some nose candy, Dan settles down in a sleepy North Eastern town and tries his luck at AA. Meanwhile, elsewhere in New Hampshire, a young girl named Abra Stone is coming into her own Shining abilities. Unfortunately, she's being hunted by a group of RV driving quasi-immortals that call themselves The True Knot. They survive by consuming the "steam" of psychic children, while torturing them to death. Abra cries out for help (psychically, of course) and guess who hears her? Dan to the rescue...
All in all, I thought it was an entertaining read, with some creepy moments, and lots of tension. Some people will probably be annoyed by all of the pop culture references but these were almost a comfort for me, in an odd way, during some of the more tense/creepy moments in the story. I also think they are a reflection of the America we live in today, in which we are bombarded by advertising and driven by consumerism.
I will agree with the reviewers that felt that The True Knot were not as scary as other King villains. They are still human and able to be killed, and they have their own particular weaknesses as members of The True. They also care about each other, which might turn off readers that are into more "pure evil" types of villains. Personally though, I think the mistake that King made was establishing that Abra was incredibly powerful, right from the beginning. The anticipation leading up to her encounters with Rose the Hat and all of the others, was nerve-wracking at times, but the actual encounters themselves were not. Rose gets her ass handed to her in the middle of the book. This kind of made me doubt her as the prime antagonist. And unfortunately, the ending is sort of anti-climactic, which is a problem I've had with other books King has written. There is so much build-up to the end, but then everything just kind of falls flat and it's over in a few pages. That said, there is still much to enjoy here. I read the book in two days, and was glued to the page, so he's still doing something right.(less)
I was nervous to read this book, when I stumbled across it on goodreads. I read the reviews and the warnings about how brutal the content was but inev...moreI was nervous to read this book, when I stumbled across it on goodreads. I read the reviews and the warnings about how brutal the content was but inevitably, as always, my curiousity and dark side won out. And I am glad that they did :)
Heat is a story about two humanoid alien men. The first is the antagonist/anti-hero/villain named Kane. Kane has come to Earth to harvest the dopamine from people's brains, to create a viagra-like drug named Vahst. As you might imagine, this gets rather gorey and messy, as he actually has to harvest parts of brain to do it. Thus begins a killing spree of epic proportions. The other alien, named Tagen, is a security officer from their home planet of Jota. He has arrived on Earth to stop Kane and bring him back home to justice for slaving and murder.
Here's the monkey wrench thrown in: Jotans go into heat during extremely warm temperatures. Their planet has only a few hot days a year. They arrive on Earth during July, in the pacific northwest. During a heatwave. The need to have sex becomes so strong it is painful and nearly unbearable. And in fact, there really seems to be nothing sexy about this kind of suffering. It is purely biological, clinical, and not erotic, in the way that its explained.
So both of these guys, who happen to be very large, muscular men, are in heat and suffering, but determined to carry out their missions regardless. How they go about doing that, is where we get the story. Kane takes Raven, a young prostitute with purple hair, when he encounters her in the woods with two young men (who he murders before her eyes). From this point on, their relationship is initially one of master and slave. Kane rapes Raven, and at first beats on her a little bit. He forces her to orally service other men right before he kills them, to get a better shot of dopamine. He covers her boobs and nether parts with piercings and tattoos his name on her body. And then there is the fact that he's a cold-blooded murderer who also rapes other women in the book in order to sate the heat. Make no mistake, Kane is a nasty, twisted, killer and he never changes. There is no moment of "wow, this is really f*cked" or anything of the sort. BUT...neither do you get the sense that Kane is a killer because he loves it. He has no qualms, but he kills so mechanically and without thought, that its not really all that exploitative toward his victims. He simply wants to make the Vahst so he can sell it and gain the profits. He views humans as less than....he just doesn't seem them as equals. But Raven surprises him by earning his respect. Slowly, a slightly gentler BDSM like relationship develops between them, as Raven uses her intelligence to help them evade the police. Kane gains insights into her because they spend every moment together, as such is the nature of their circumstances. The two begin to care about each other more and more, in spite of the neither of them really desiring that in the beginning. Kane also comes across a woman named Sue-Eye that he abducts from a biker-gang bar. She's a nasty piece of work herself, and as Kane uses her ultimately to take out his more sadistic leanings, I couldn't feel sorry for her, and even hoped that he would kill her.
Tagen on the other hand, was a much more standard hero-type. He was more good than anything else (although he does kill a few humans on accident and then hides it) and his relationship with Daria (whose house he breaks into and who ends up befriending and ultimately falling in love with Tagen)is very much vanilla and plays out in a familiar way. Still, the sexual tension is sort of delicious and takes forever to play out.
Somehow, the author manages to pull off a happy ending for both couples, in spite of it all, and I was rooting for it, even for Kane. Because I knew going into it, the kind of relationship that Kane would have with Raven and the kind of guy he was, I was okay with reading the disturbing stuff, but there were still moments that I very sincerely winced. But it was what it was, and it didn't pretend to be anything else. (less)