I was skeptical going into this book, because as much as I loved The Shining, I wasn't sure what a sequel would do to it. Sure, I've wondered what hap...moreI was skeptical going into this book, because as much as I loved The Shining, I wasn't sure what a sequel would do to it. Sure, I've wondered what happened to Danny as he grew up, but I think part of the reason I liked the ending of the Shining was because it let you create an ending for Danny. Instead, King hands it to us, and it's not pretty. Should I be surprised or just angry that Danny, in more ways than one, turns out just like his father? To me anyway, the whole point of Jack's character was his constant fight with alcoholism. So to see Dan as a raging alcoholic with a bad temper tells me that he didn't learn anything from his father's mistakes. You could alternatively say that Jack's attitude and what happened at the Overlook Hotel caused Dan's alcoholism, but that seems like lazy writing to me. The idea of a sequel made me imagine a story revolving around Dan, about how he struggled to grow up with the shining and how he dealt with the passing of his father. We get glimpses of that, but not much more.
Instead, the story revolves around a pre-pubescent girl named Abra being chased by the True Knot, a group of people who torture and then kill kids with the shining for their steam. Eventually the slow-paced stories of all three groups intertwine for a rowdy, action-packed ending that you can see coming from about a quarter of the way through. Also, can I just say that the True Knot wasn't scary or appealing to me? Because the whole idea of their existence was weak, in my opinion. King can scare me; that isn't the problem. The problem is that he didn't make the Knot scary enough. I was bored with their dumb nicknames but (view spoiler)[really, the reason they start dying off is because they get the measles?! What a joke. (hide spoiler)] I didn't care whatsoever for the Knot.
Another dumb sub-plot (view spoiler)[but what was the point of making Dan a blood relative of Abra? She didn't need him to be a real uncle to make their bond tighter. I'd said being able to telepathically talk to someone gives you a pretty close bond already (hide spoiler)].
One of my biggest pet peeves with this book was how often King referenced pop culture. I want to be able to pick up a piece of literature and not be able to tell it's from a certain decade. King does the exact opposite of this. He references Amy Winehouse, Harry Potter, and The Hobbit within two pages. He makes redundant references (Abra was watching x tv show that's only relatively popular right now but five years from now no one reading it will know what that is) almost nonstop and was constantly putting an exact time on this. Sure, with the coincidences of 9/11 you get a feel for the time frame, but saying "In August of 2013" ages the story and made it harder to read.
Basically the way I feel about this book is "meh." King tried, and that's what matters. There is no way he could have written a sequel that appealed to every reader. I've heard people say they adored it and found the Knot scary, but for me at least, it fell weak. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)