Debra's Reviews > Summer of Night

Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
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's review
Jan 25, 2016

it was ok
bookshelves: horror-supernatural, sai-king-recommends, series
Read from July 10 to 15, 2011

Stephen King book blurb says: "If Summer of the Night isn't the best horror novel of the last five years, it is surely one of the best three - a gorgeous and terrifying story of five boys who come face to face with a monstrous entity during an enchanted Illinois summer thirty years ago. Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel, loading his American nightmare with scares, suspense, and a sweet, surprising nostalgia. This is one of those rare must-read books, easily surpassing Clive Barker's Books of Blood. I am in awe of Dan Simmons."

This book was written in 1991. I have to believe there were many better horror novels around that time, including Stephen King's! I just can't agree with sai King on this one. It wasn't awful, but it certainly wasn't great. I hate to disagree with King cause he's the MAN, but geesh... maybe he was paid A LOT for this blurb? Shaking head in wonder.

I can't agree with anyone who has reviewed this book and compared to Stephen King's IT and found this one superior. WHAT? No way, Jose! IT was in all ways superior to Summer of the Night. I think Mr. Simmons was trying to create his own version of IT, but fell short. Now, don't get me wrong; I think Dan Simmons is a great writer and his recent stuff rocks. But this one... well...

Ok, let's talk about continuity and repeated text galore! For example he mention's that Dale's basement has flooded 4 times in 4.5 years; several chapters later he says that the basement has flooded 2 times in 4 years. He also mentions that the same basement has no windows two different times. Another time he mentions that Lawrence usually wanted to hold his older brother's hand while falling asleep, but most of the time Dale told him no. He mentions the same thing almost verbatim later in the book. Simmons does this several times... I guess it's nice he wants to remind us of something he told us earlier in the book, but it really annoyed me.

Also, there is one boy in the group who sets out to fight the evil in their town that has never actually witnessed a supernatural event. All the other characters have seen stuff and experienced stuff that scares the bejesus out of them, but not Kevin? Why does he even believe his buddies when they share their experiences? His character is very under-developed so you have no idea why he buys into participating in life-threatening plans, when he has no first-hand experience of what has been going on.

And why did a key character get killed off early in the book; the most well fleshed-out character of them all? Why take the time to get us so invested in him and then eliminate him?

I did find that Dale's and Mike's characters were well-developed, but didn't really buy Kevin's and Jim's. Lawrence was somewhere in between, but why was he often alone in the brothers' shared room when he was sooooo afraid of what is under his bed? No way would he EVER be in that room alone, even in daylight.

An HOW could any of these boys experience periods of "normal" boyish moments like searching for a buried cave, playing hours of baseball, etc. when they all knew they were in grave danger at any time of the day and night? I'd be sticking close to home and worrying myself sick!

Just too many things didn't work for me with this book. It took me longer to read than my usual fast pace, and it wasn't plausible. It did have some creepy parts and the premise was good, but otherwise I just wouldn't recommend this to others.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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T.M. Calhoun Great review. You summed up my thoughts exactly.

Debra Thanks, Tawnee!

message 3: by Azn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Azn Great and thorough review. I don't agree with it but a great review nonetheless.

Debra Thanks, Azn. I appreciate the comment.

Jacquelyn I can't forgive what he did to Dale. It felt so arbitrary, especially after what happened to his uncle and Witt.

Debra Exactly!

Lindsey I also had a huge problem with the spotty history of the Borgias and the backstory of the evil in the town. It felt way too convenient. "The county millionaires just HAPPENED to bring a great vessel of evil and hang it up in the school!" I wanted more history. I wanted to read newspaper excerpts, not hear stories from the town wino. What else did the Stele do throughout history? How was it so easily destroyed?

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