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The Shining #2

Doctor Sleep

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Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Horror (2013)
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special 12-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.

On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless - mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted fans of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.

531 pages, Hardcover

First published September 24, 2013

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About the author

Stephen King

2,528 books828k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
April 4, 2020
should’ve left this one in the drafts, mr. king

Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,309 reviews120k followers
October 28, 2022
There is a boy (now a man) a girl, a band of baddies with a charismatic leader, a coalition of the willing, battles to be fought, supernatural elements and magical powers. Stephen King was at this long before Harry Potter lived under the stairs. He has a preternatural (not to say supernatural) talent for writing kids, and can keep you turning pages, losing sleep, and getting back late to work from your lunch breaks.

from King’s site

We will presume for the purposes of this review that you have read, or at least seen one version of The Shining. If you have not, read no further, as there are details here that would be considered spoilerish were they to appear in a review of that book. And if you have not read The Shining you should probably do so before taking on Doctor Sleep, a sequel. Ok, everyone here has read The Shining, yes? All right, but we are using the honor system here, and do not want to ruin the fun of reading that one for anyone. So, as long as you’re sure…

At the end of The Shining, three people survive the carnage, Danny Torrance, a five year old with a special gift, Wendy Torrance, Danny’s mother and newly widowed wife of the late Jack Torrance, and Dick Halloran, an employee of The Overlook and possessor of a gift like Danny’s, one that allowed him to hear Danny’s psychic 911 call and return from his home in Florida in time to do something about it. What happened next?

King does not typically do sequels, if one does not count books that are part of a planned series, but
Every now and then somebody would ask, ‘Whatever happened to Danny?’ I used to joke around and say, ‘He married Charlie McGee from Firestarter and they had these amazing kids!’ But I did sort of wonder about it. – (from EW)
One of the central features of The Shining was Jack’s Torrance’s battle with alcoholism. As with the real world, King’s fictional realm notes that alcoholism runs in families. And one of the criticisms of The Shining was that the possibility of Jack considering getting some help from AA is never even raised. If King has ever considered that to have been an oversight, I have not seen that interview. But it is clear that he has given the matter some thought.
Jack Torrance never tries Alcoholics Anonymous. That is never even mentioned in "The Shining." He has what they call white-knuckle sobriety. He's doing it all by himself. So, I wondered what it would be like to see Danny first as an alcoholic, and then see him in AA. (from an NPR Interview)

Ewan McGregor as Danny Torrance in the film

It gives nothing away to let you know that Danny is a true Torrance. Not only does he self-medicate to quiet the terrors that still haunt him, he is far from the best person he can be.
I knew if I did this sequel I’d have to try to put together some of the same elements, but at the same time I didn’t want to make it too similar. I didn’t want to make Danny a grown up with kids of his own, and try to replicate that whole losing-your-temper-because-you’re-drunk thing. But I did think to myself: ‘Not only alcoholism can be a family disease, but rage can be a family disease.’ You find that the guys who abuse their children were abused themselves as kids. That certainly fit Danny as I knew him. – from EW
All SK novels require a baddie, or a set of them. No disappointment here. King has again succeeded in taking the ordinary and making it horrifying.
Driving back and forth from Maine to Florida, which I do twice a year, I’m always seeing all these recreational vehicles — the bounders in the Winnebagos. I always think to myself, ‘Who is in those things?’ You pass them a thousand times at rest stops. They’re always the ones wearing the shirts that say ‘God Does Not Deduct From a Lifespan Time Spent Fishing.’ They’re always lined up at the McDonald’s, slowing the whole line down. And I always thought to myself, ‘There’s something really sinister about those people because they’re so unobtrusive, yet so pervasive.’ I just wanted to use that. It would be the perfect way to travel around America and be unobtrusive if you were really some sort of awful creature. – from EW
This wandering band call themselves The True Knot. They feed on the essence of those gifted with the sort of talent people like Danny possess. It provides them with extraordinary longevity, but as with their Transylvanian counterparts, the need is ongoing and the supply is limited. Like right-wing politicians they are more than happy to gorge on the pain of others and are shown here feasting on the spirits set adrift on 9/11. The usual condiments for this substance they call steam will not do. The taste and benefit is enhanced, however, if their victims endure extreme and prolonged torture. Does Ted Cruz drive a Winnebago? King gives the members Damon Runyon-esque names, like Crow Daddy, Steamboat Steve and Tommy the Truck.

By the time you finish reading Doctor Sleep you might have a new image of the top hat to consider next time you are planning a formal night out. We all have one, probably this one:


But the baddie in Stephen King’s latest is likely to do for the top hat what this guy


did for the derby. Rose O’Hara, the leader of a group called The True Knot, won’t leave home without it. It adds a nice visual element, calling to mind a certain Caribbean Baron, and making Rosie even more riveting.

Rebecca Ferguson as Rose the Hat- from the film

And what of our young heroine? Abra is born with a shining of prodigious proportions. (btw, the name Abra was inspired by Abra Bacon, a character in East of Eden) She manages to send out a signal even when she is newly arrived. She’s a good kid, despite scaring her parents on occasion with tricks like making all the silverware in the kitchen take to the air, or causing the odd earthquake when she does a mental Bruce (or if you prefer, David) Banner. Don’t make her angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry. Bad-ass teen girl power fuh shoo-uh. But, just as Danny needed Dick Hallorann and Tony, Abra needs help as well. That she and Danny will team up is a foregone conclusion.

As for Danny, the shining never left him, despite his attempts to wipe it out with spirits of a different sort. But he finds the help he needs and manages to put his talent to good use. He works in a hospice, the Helen Rivington House, in Frazier, NH, easing the transition for those near death, with the assistance of a resident feline, and earning himself the name Doctor Sleep, which also serves to remind us of what his parents called him.
…It is this moment of transition that Doctor Sleep deals with and the idea, like so many of King's, came from an incidental story in a newspaper. This one was about "a cat in a hospice that knows when people are going to die. He would go into that patient's room and curl up next to them. And I thought, that's a good advertisement for death, for the emissary of death. I thought, 'I can make Dan the human equivalent of that cat, and call him Doctor Sleep.' There was the book." – from an interview in The Guardian
King has a bit of fun, naming the cat Azzie, short for Azreel, the archangel of death. Cute.

Azzie - the real Doctor Sleep - image from TheReelBits.com

What else do you need, really? Dark vs light, colorful baddies vs our everyman and everygirl. And that is indeed enough. But it is not all that King uses. He gives us a look at how people can really help people overcome, or at least handle their problems. When asked, in the NPR interview, whether his AA depictions were from personal experience, King says that the second part of AA stands for Anonymous, so he declined to offer a yes or no, however
You could say, having read these two books and knowing that I was a very heavy drinker at the time that I wrote "The Shining," and I haven't had a drink in about 25 years now - you could draw certain conclusions from that…I've done a lot of personal research in these subjects. - from NPR interview
AA figures very large in this story, is central really. And the wisdom one can find in AA permeates the novel, from the importance of recognizing that we need help from others, to accepting our past and dealing with it, a very strong, serious element.

Kyleigh Curran as Abra Stone - image from the gww.com

King sets the time of the events by referring to external realities, like who the president is, calls on contemporary cultural references, such as a mention of the Sons of Anarchy and a Hank Wiliams Jr song. He also mentions a variety of other writers in his travels, some approvingly, (John Sandford, George Seferis, Bernard Malamud, Bill Wilson) some not so much (the authors of the Twilight and Hunger Games series, and Dean Koontz and Lisa Gardner, although he may merely be playing with the latter two). He also drops in an Easter egg reference to Salem’s Lot and make two references (that I caught anyway) to his son, Joe’s, imagined world from Joe’s book, NOS4A2.

It has been my experience with reading Stephen King that his conclusions sometimes offer a poor partner to the journey one takes in reaching them. That is much less the case here. The ending is not an alien spider disguised as Tim Curry with bad fashion sense or alien young playing with humans in a ham-fisted manner. And the journey is indeed fun. But I had some gripes. King gives Dick Hallorann a cameo here, which was fine, and the strongest of those. Tony returns for a look-see but goes alarmingly quiet at crucial moments. We could have used a lot more about Tony other than the weak explanation that is offered near the end. If the True Knot are so bad-ass, how come there are so few of them? There is an explanation offered of prey-predator stability of numbers, but I found that unpersuasive. And why the hell introduce This is one that actively irked.

Sequels present a danger. One of the things that is stimulating about any book, any story is newness. That is why most sequels are not as popular as their predecessors. It is hard to avoid a been-there-done-that problem when working atop existing material. The next story in line is unlikely to retain the sparkle, the shine of what went before. Given the constraints, Doctor Sleep fares better than most as a follow-on. There is enough distance in the story from the events of the past, and little enough overlap with those characters that the story seems fresh. When events from The Shining are mentioned, they do inform the current action and do not distract much. In fact there could have been more of that. So, in that way, this is a very nice addition. There is another element involved. Any event, any activity, is a product of the thing itself and of the perspective from which we view or participate in it. I read The Shining many years ago. I was an adult then, in my late twenties, and remember it as a VERY SCARY story. I have not come across much in horror lit that is still scary in that way, in the several decades since. I will not have any nights (on in my case days) of lost sleep because of the images King has proferred. But then, I am getting on, and am looking at those scary things with aging eyes. Someone younger (which would be almost all of you reading this) might find them far more frightening than I did.

So while Doctor Sleep might not cause much by way of lost rest, it is good, mainstream Stephen King and thus, hardly a snooze. The Doctor of Horror is in. Wake up!

First posted October 4, 2013

The film was released November 8, 2019

This review is cross-posted at Coot's Reviews

=======In the summer of 2019 GR reduced the allowable review size by 25%. As a result it was necessary to export the EXTRA STUFF to Comment #5 below
Profile Image for Dave.
33 reviews9 followers
June 3, 2016
Dan: Hi, I was a total scumbag, meaning I once swiped a few bucks, a horrible horrible thing for which I'll never forgive myself, and, oh yeah, almost forgot, I used to get in bar fights all the time and I for all I know, I killed people during a blackout. Anyhoo, nowadays I'm heroic. Seriously, I'm pretty much a saint. I have magic powers and it never even crosses my mind to profit from them.

Abra: Hi, I'm a totally normal teen, you can tell because of all my pop references! Game of Thrones! Fruit Ninja! I'm also all heroic, like, totally! I also have no imagination at all, just like Dan.

Both: Together, we fight crime!

Rose: Hi, I'm Rose, I'm super scary! Did you notice how convenient it is that we can't fly in planes? I mean, convenient for the heroes, not for me. We also are too good to use guns, despite the fact that we're as easy to kill, if not easier, than an ordinary human. Seriously, how the hell did we survive in medieval Europe, when getting around was a serious ordeal? Especially when me and my gang are hilariously incompetent. Anyway, I have a really cool hat.
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,607 reviews10.7k followers
September 23, 2023
I don't even know how it's possible, but I enjoyed Doctor Sleep even more the second time around!

I firmly believe this is the best duology ever penned.

I doff my cap to Sai King.

He is a MASTER.
Profile Image for Tiya Rosa.
143 reviews75 followers
Shelved as '2013-must-read'
December 29, 2012
A sequel, huh? I didn't feel much for Danny when I was going through The Shining since Jack Torrance pretty much had me by the balls, but I guess - this being a Stephen King book - I can give it a try.

Oh, who am I kidding?

Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,303 reviews43.9k followers
September 12, 2022
SEVEN THINGS FLASHING IN MY MIND when somebody asks me “ did you watch Shining?”
One : The car moves along the road and we see the humongous mountains and Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind’s eerie composition starts to play on the images as we whirl around the mountains…

TWO: Grady Twins’ spooky images as we see them stand up holding hands near open door! They say in unison: “Come, play with us Danny!” (This year I told my husband their clothes could be best pair for our Halloween costumes. And he blurted out his beer on my face. What a jerk! But he surprised me to buy tickets to Overlook Hotel for one night. I imminently forgave him even he made the reservation for one and he bought me only one way ticket! He really loves me so much J))

THREE: Little Danny Torrence’s screams as he keeps replying the same haunted words: “REDRUM! REDRUM! REDRUM!”

FOUR: At room 237:Jack thinks he kisses a young, sexy woman, appears naked behind the shower curtains. But he accidentally takes a look their kissing reflection in the mirror, he finds out he’s kissing an old woman whose shaggy body is covered in scars. He begins to run away (Actually I laughed at this scene so much! Cheater Jack couldn’t get away with his two minutes stand !!!)

FIVE: JACK’S NEW NOVEL COMING UP RELEASING SOON: “All work no play!”: Revelation scene Wendy finds out Jack has written the same words over and over again and turned into “DULL BOY!” was memorable and one of the creepier parts of the story!

SIX: Here’s Jackkk!!! He finally loses the rest of his marbles, swinging an axe, breaking a door and screaming Johnny Carson’s famous theme in version!

And SEVEN: We see Jack trapped in the maze, froze to death, scariest, epic expression on his face (scary and sarcastically awkward, just a little bit. I know I’m the weird one who is thrown away from the theaters for laughing too much at the horror movies!)

I know I didn’t talk about the book. I talked about the epic, scaring you shameless (or sh**tless) scenes of the movie. But even MY KING says the movie was a Cadillac with no engine inside, I liked to rewatch it over and over again in every Halloween! But of course “Shining” is one of the masterpieces of MY KING and one of the ten best book of him. (Salem’s Lot and Dead Zone will be always my favorites!)

And now the story returns back to inform us what happened to the three survivors of Overlook Hotel. Danny Torrance, his mother Wendy and Dick Halloran. We see older Danny suffers from alcoholism (like father like son, he is about to turn into a dull boy, too!)

This book is about Danny’s facing to his own devils and past traumatic experiences. Danny burned the bridges help him reach to his childhood and dug the ashes to the deep. But right now the past demons erupted out to threaten his future. So he has to go to the place where this nightmare begins!

His AA group helps him earn his second chance from the life. When he hits the rock bottom, we learn more about the secret he keeps eat him alive. He still has his shining but as his path crosses with the gifted girl whose life in danger by summoning from a group of dangerous psychic vampires, he is adamant to fight back.

Rose the Hat a.k.a Cokehead or once upon a time Irish Rose from Northern Ireland is the leader of the vampire gang. This disturbing, thrilling, awkward as hell group member give you enough creeps to close the book and surf around the comedy channels to recover from too much pressure and stress the book puts you in.

As a matter of fact, I had some second thoughts when I heard my KING wrote the sequel after all those years later. I always wish a happy ending for Danny Boy but I know after all those traumatic experiences they’ve endured with his mother, it might have been impossible for them to live a regular and undamaged, normal life. They had too many invisible emotional scars to achieve that!
But I loved the last conclusion, having another journey to the Overlook and villains of the book are perfectly developed to give you good nightmares.

LET’S HAIL TO THE KING! APPLAUSE HIM! He is one of the greatest authors of the century and he did it again. I never get disappointed after reading a long KING book. I still use some of them as weights to strengthen my arms. So mentally and psychically his books always help me a lot!!!
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,965 followers
July 30, 2015
Remember that psychic little kid in The Shining? Have you ever wondered what he’d be like as an adult after surviving a haunted hotel that drove his drunken father crazy and gave him a case of the redrums? If so, you’re in luck because Stephen King has now told us what happened to Danny Torrance, and he’s just as screwed up from his experience as you’d expect him to be.

Like his father, Dan has grown up to be a bad tempered drunk, and he uses the booze to blot out his psychic powers as he drifts from town to town working menial jobs. The early part of the book focuses on Dan hitting bottom, and then trying to pull himself together with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous. He winds up with a job as an orderly at a hospice where he earns the nickname of Doctor Sleep for his ability to provide an easier death for the patients.

Dan becomes aware of a little girl named Abra with a shining ability that dwarfs his own, but unfortunately Abra has also come to the attention of group of vampire like creatures calling themselves the True Knot. They pretend to be humans who roam the country as a harmless pack of tourists in RVs while they track down and feed on the psychic energy collected from torturing children with the shining, and Abra would be like an all-you-can-eat buffet to them.

This book is almost two separate stories. One is about Dan Torrance struggling to come to terms with the legacy of his father, his abilities and his alcoholism. The other is about the battle to save a little girl from a pack of vicious monsters. King does a decent job of trying to make these two tales intersect while revisiting some elements from The Shining, but it ends up feeling like less than the sum of its parts. Frankly, I was far more interested in Dan’s battle with the bottle than another Stephen King story about a child in danger from a supernatural threat.

It’s not that Abra vs. the True Knot is bad. There’s a lot of genuinely creepy dread to be mined from a pack of psychic vampires roaming the country while posing as harmless middle aged farts, and King knows how to milk every drop out of that concept. And I liked the character of Abra a lot. The idea of a powerfully psychic young girl with a bit of a mean streak was great. Kinda like if Carrie White would have had decent parents and a happy childhood.

In fact, Abra’s a little bit too powerful because she seems fully capable of kicking ass even during her first encounter with the True Knot. So while there’s a lot of nice build-up, most of what happens seems anti-climatic.

Plus, while there’s some callbacks to The Shining, they mostly feel tacked on, as if King had this basic idea and then figured out ways to work in Dan’s history where he could. It’s not really organic and doesn’t seem necessary. I also think there’s a gaping plot hole in the True Knot’s key motivation to grab Abra and their scheme.

One word of warning for those who have only seen the movie and not read the book, King is basing this on his version, not the film and there a couple of significant differences. (I got a laugh that King couldn’t resist taking yet another shot at the Kubrick adaptation in the author’s note afterwards. I don’t think he’s ever getting over his dislike of the movie.) Also, I listened to the audio version of this, and the narration by Will Patton is simply outstanding.

I feared the idea of King returning to one of his best known works, but it turned out to be a remarkably solid effort with a lot of things I liked about it. I only wish that that I’d have found the rest of the book as compelling as finding out what kind of man the kid from the Overlook Hotel grew up to be.
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,943 followers
October 30, 2019
Reread with For Love Of A Book with pretty badge.

I said I wanted this to be a movie after I read it... now the movie is coming out! I hope it’s good!

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List



I love this is a sequel to The Shining and in the beginning of the book it goes into some things from when Danny was young.


Even though Danny, his mom and Dick Halloram survived from the tragic and (scary-as-hell) events that happened at the Overlook Hotel, some of the ghosties come back to haunt Danny.


As an adult Dan is traveling around, he's an alcoholic, and he finally lands in a nice little town. He's also trying to get sober. What I found in reading the book is that not only did Dan inherit the alcoholism from his father, he started drinking to stop the shining and the bad things it put in his head. But, from time to time his friend Dick's words would come back to him.



It will never stop, Danny thought. The Overlook burned and the most terrible revenants went into the lockboxes, but I can't lock away the shining, because it isn't just inside me, it is me. Without booze to at least stun it, these visions will go on until they drive me insane.

Then, like a flashlight beam in the dark, Hallorann's voice: Son, you may see things, but they're like pictures in a book. You weren't helpless in the Overlook when you were a child, and you're not helpless now. Far from it. Close your eyes and when you open them, all this crap will be gone.

So Danny now Dan lives in the town of Frazier and is a groundskeeper for a little village called Teeny Town. He works with a man that turns out to be a good friend and fellow shiner named Billy Freeman. Billy doesn't have the shining as strong as Dan but it's still there. He gets him the job and the man that runs most of the town gets Dan in AA and it's all going good.

Meanwhile, down the way little Abra Stone is born and she is born with a powerful shining. I just love her. She starts contacting Dan when she gets a little older. They are more connected than they know at first, but I'm not telling you what that is :-)

A little bit later Dan starts working at Rivington House, it's an elderly home and he helps them when they are going to pass over. He's so very kind to these people and I love this about him.

Then.... there are these evil bastards that call themselves the True Knot. They have been around for years, they pray on the deaths of kids with the shining. They suck in their steam. Yeah, it's a little crazy but I like this story line. I don't like these people and couldn't wait to see them strung up in their own knot. They also go to major disasters and stand around sucking in the steam of what I'm guessing anyone with the shining in them that were in the disaster.


They have a leader that is the most evil of them all and she's coming after Abra. Beware Rosie the Hat, until she meets her match!


I loved this book so much. Just to be taken back into the world of The Shining, I know it's not the same, but to have a book that continued The Shining was so wonderful. It turned out that the True Knot owned a campground that was set up where the Overlook used to be, that opened up a whole new can of worms. There IS something that happened there that brought a tear to my eye :-(

I wish this one was a movie too!!

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
October 10, 2019
A very good Stephen King book.

I went to see a concert last year featuring Joan Jett, Cheap Trick and Heart. Promoters called it the Hall of Fame tour because all three bands were in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It was a great show, we had a blast. I got the impression that any of these talented professionals could put on a great show in their sleep. They’ve been doing it so long that they knew their craft as well as how to win over a crowd.

Stephen King is also a wily old master craftsman who knows how to grab a reader and hold him entranced for hundreds of pages. Hell, he’s practically a genre unto himself now, leaving behind the Horror and Fantasy schools for a stage just for him. And while I would agree that he, like Joan Jett and Ann Wilson, could put on a great show without trying very hard, I think he did put some extra effort into Doctor Sleep, his 2013 sequel to his 1980 masterpiece The Shining.

While this takes off from where The Shining left off and then goes on to tell its own story, this is in many ways an amalgam of many of his best stories and returns to many of the themes that have made him one of our most successful writers. I noticed elements of Pet Sematary, Firestarter, and The Dead Zone. Besides trying to scare the heeby-jeebies out of us, King explores themes of family, life and death, extra sensory perceptions, and the demons that haunt us, paranormal and mundane.

King, a recovering alcoholic, wrote The Shining as an alcoholic and Doctor Sleep speaks from this mature, embattled perspective. Sadly, but fittingly, little Danny Torrance becomes too much like his father and has succumbed to his inherited drinking problem. King shares with us, no doubt from much of his own experience, how Alcoholics Anonymous helps Dan Torrance survive and thrive in sobriety, but also shares Dan’s rock bottom and how this hidden secret gnaws at Torrance as much as the ghosts from the Overlook Hotel. In this way, King provides an allegory for secrets held and like so much of his writing, finds the horrific without delving too far into fantasy. We are our own worst enemies – and nightmares.

Years after the tragedy at the Overlook, Dan Torrance is making his way from childhood to alcoholic despondency to an edgy and fragile temperance. Like most recovering alcoholics, he takes his life one step at a time, and one day at a time. And his gift of shining remains. Using his special abilities to help dying patients in a hospice, he has come to the sobriquet of Doctor Sleep. It is here that Dan discovers a young girl who makes his shining look dim by comparison; as his is a flashlight, hers is a light house. Dan also discovers an antagonistic group who feed on human suffering, and the suffering of those with the shining is their most cherished delicacy.

Rose the Hat. Leading this group of psychic vampires is one of King’s most devilish and engaging characters. From Northern Ireland (centuries ago – drawing on the vampire parallel) Rose was once Irish Rose, but now in her leadership role, she is Rose the Hat, appearing with a cocked to one side old top hat. King has made a good living on making bad guys scary and evil and in Rose he has given us one of his most dire, giving old Barlow a run for his money.

So I raise my lighter to you, Mr. King, great show.

Profile Image for Baba.
3,619 reviews985 followers
November 12, 2021
After all these years, King writes and gets published a sequel to The Shining! And to top that off, I really liked it. I liked it a lot more than The Shining!

Erm, I liked it a lot more than The Shining, which I gave just one or two Stars to I think?. Danny Torrance is all grown up now, but with the baggage that is the trauma of his childhood and the Shining, which he still has. This is a pretty neat dark fantasy with King introducing Constant Readers to The True Knot another unforgettable King creation alongside their leader Rose The Hat. A solid 8 out of 12, for the sequel I didn't even realise I needed!
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,005 reviews10.6k followers
October 2, 2013
Dan Torrance grew up to be an alcoholic, just like his father. But now he's in recovery and working in a hospice where he uses his Shine to comfort people when they die. But what is his connection to a young girl named Abra Stone? And what does The True Knot, a traveling group of RV people, want with her?

After all the glimpses shown in NOS4A2, I knew I'd be reading this one hot off the presses. Was I disappointed? Well, I don't think it was a home run.

I loved the story of Dan Torrance, recovering from his experience at the Overlook with his parents in
The Shining, only to become an alcoholic just like his old man. His road to recovery was well done and I loved how the connection to Abra Stone unfolded. Dan's friends were well done and I found myself dreading which one of them would die at the bloody conclusion, as is the fate of many Stephen King supporting cast members.

There were some nice Easter eggs in Doctor Sleep. Charles Manx, Castle Rock, the Dark Tower, and probably a few others I've already forgotten. When Dan got a job at TeenyTown, I had flashbacks of Joyland. Maybe Joyland started life as a fragment of Doctor Sleep that got cut out like a bad appendix. Also, I have a feeling Stephen King read a book about carnies and felt the need to work as much lingo into his work as possible.

Another thing I loved was the True Knot. I love the idea of a bunch of psychic vampires riding around in RVs, draining kids of their Shine to rejuvenate them. Rosie the Hat was pretty vile and her compatriots were almost as bad. I almost feared for Abra Stone's life.

Almost. My main problem with the book is that Abra was too damn powerful and I never thought for a moment that she wouldn't survive. When she outmaneuvers the bad guys at every turn, there's no sense of jeopardy. The ending was straight from the Nerf factory. I don't remember another Stephen King book where so many of the good guys survived the final encounter.

Still, it was a fun read and there were some tense moments. We'll call it a 3.5.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Annemarie.
250 reviews696 followers
November 21, 2019
Actual rating: 4.50 🌟

This was a great book that was much more than a simple sequel. It's a book with its own story and doesn't just depend on the fame of The Shining. Of course there are references, and reading the first book before this one will help you understand the content much better, but it's clear that this book wasn't just written for the sole purpose of making more money and drawing out a story to an unnecessary length (like I have seen done before)- I would love to read more sequels of this kind!

Like in The Shining, you will find several points of view. This was very well done, despite how different the characters were from each other. Everyone has their own distinctive voice, which does deserve a mention as the two main characters have a huge age difference and I'm sure not every author would have been able to develop such fitting personalities for both of them.

I love that we get an insight into the life of the characters spanning several years before the prime storyline begins. This really helps painting a clear picture of everyone, and I was able to understand Dan Torrance better than I might would have without this leadup.

It was really great to get a more diverse and evolved look at what the gift of "The Shining" is and what it all entails. All in all it was just very interesting and at this point I totally wouldn't be surprised if someone came up to me and told me that they have experienced the same things the people in the book have. Stephen King just has this way of writing that makes everything seem real and believable.

There's a huge banger late in the book that totally surprised me! But again, it was done in a believable way and didn't totally seem unsuitable. Looking back at it, little hints were being carefully and nicely placed throughout the book.

I thought the resolution to everything was just perfect. It was done realistically (as realistic as it can get with a plot like this) and not over the top. I was even tearing up a bit at a certain scene, which I thought was just a perfect addition to connect the previous book to this one.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
672 reviews4,292 followers
January 18, 2020
“There came a time when you realised that moving on was pointless. That you took yourself with you wherever you went.”

A worthy sequel to The Shining, Doctor Sleep revisits Danny Torrance as an adult, where he has unfortunately inherited his father’s alcoholism, but also retains his ability to “shine”. He encounters a young girl named Abra, who needs his help to fight the vampiric cult, the True Knot.

There’s so much I love about this book that I almost don’t know where to begin! The book opens strongly with throwbacks to the ghosts from The Shining, as we follow Danny and Wendy after their stint in the Overlook Hotel. These references to The Shining are scattered throughout the novel and I couldn’t help but revel in each of these moments. Doctor Sleep can easily stand on its own merit, but those little tie-ins truly enhance the experience.

It’s heartbreaking to see Dan struggle with the same illness that haunted his father. But I also appreciate that Dan has his own flaws and is not presented as a purely heroic figure. The fantastic characterisation follows with the introduction of Abra - another solid King child character. This girl is an absolute badass. I LOVE HER.

Admittedly the True Knot aren’t my favourite villains... I think Rose the Hat is brilliant, but a lot of the others became interchangeable for me. Although I wouldn’t even classify this one as being scary, some parts were pretty unnerving. The baseball boy parts in particular cut me up, they’re brutal.

Incase it isn’t obvious, I truly loved this one just as much on my reread. I just loved getting to revisit Dan Torrance as an adult and he feels so true to young Danny. Even though this one is a relatively recent King, the writing style etc did feel more akin to old King for me!

Love, love, love! 5 stars.
Profile Image for Matt.
936 reviews28.6k followers
November 1, 2020
“Danny left the little room next to his mother’s and crossed the hall. The wind gusted and a dying palm tree beside the building clattered its leaves. The sound was skeletal. They always left the bathroom door open when no one was using the shower or the toilet, because the lock was broken. Tonight the door was closed…The woman from Room 217 was there, as he had known she would be. She was sitting naked on the toilet with her legs spread and her pallid thighs bulging. Her greenish breasts hung down like deflated balloons…Her eyes were…gray, like steel mirrors. She saw him, and her lips stretched back in a grin. Close your eyes, Dick Hallorann had told him once upon a time. If you see something bad, close your eyes and tell yourself it’s not there and when you open them again, it will be gone. But it hadn’t worked in Room 217 when he was five, and it wouldn’t work now. He knew it. He could smell her. She was decaying…”
- Stephen King, Doctor Sleep

Count me among the small number of people who was not clamoring for a sequel to The Shining. In my estimation, Stephen King’s classic tale about a snowbound family trapped in a haunted hotel needed no follow up. The ending was imperfect, as is often the case with King, but I was satisfied. Certainly, I do not think that the story left any loose threads that needed to be tied.

Apparently, however, a lot of fans wanted to know about what happened to the Torrance family after their rough winter in the Overlook Hotel. King – and probably his accountant – agreed. The result is Doctor Sleep, a novel that follows a grown-up Dan Torrance – the little boy with the titular “shine” – as he tries to build a life in the wake of a family shattered by physical abuse, alcohol abuse, and literal ghosts.

First published in 2013, I have avoided Doctor Sleep as a seemingly-unnecessary amplification on a great standalone novel. Now that I’ve finished it, I will be the first to admit that I was wrong. Turns out, there is more to this story. Not only is Doctor Sleep better than I anticipated, it might be one of King’s greatest achievements.

When we meet the adult Dan Torrance in Doctor Sleep, he is steadily making his way toward rock bottom. Like his father, he is a full-blown alcoholic, who also occasionally engages in hard drugs. Though we have natural sympathy for him – being as he is the protagonist – he’s not a good dude. Early on, we see him steal from a single mother and a homeless man.

Dan’s life changes – and the novel slips into gear – when he “meets” a young girl named Abra who, like Dan himself, has “the shining.” Her powers, though, are stronger than Dan’s ever were, so strong in fact that she has come to the attention of a nomadic group of vampiric types called the True Knot.

Not quite immortal but pretty close, the True Knot roams the highways in their monstrous recreational vehicles, living off the “steam” that his exhaled when children with the shining are tortured and killed. This summary sounds equal parts brutal and silly, but it absolutely works. Indeed, in my mind, the True Knot is what lifts Doctor Sleep to the upper strata of King novels. As far as characterizations go, Dan is rather milquetoast – ultimately, we can always rely on him to do what’s best, or at least feel really bad when he does wrong – and Abra is your prototypical precocious child, as tired a literary cliché as you can get. The True Knot, though, especially Rosie the Hat and Crow Daddy, are fascinating. Despite being murderous predators, they are also compelling, and we spend enough time with them to actually start to care a bit about their plight.

But Doctor Sleep does not simply coast on the backs of its rather dope villains.

No, what transforms Doctor Sleep from a horror infused potboiler to memorable fiction is its thematic richness. Like The Shining, Doctor Sleep is a gripping, empathetic portrayal of addiction. King has been honest about his own battles with alcohol, and the work he’s done to keep his sobriety. In his presentation of Dan Torrance, he seems to be writing from a very personal place. His recreations of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are careful, particularized, and almost reverential. They feel written by a close observer.

There is also a surprisingly potent meditation on aging and death integrated into the main plotline. Along with his other mental gifts, Dan Torrance has an ability to ease the suffering of those about to die. Utilizing this talent, Dan takes a job at a hospice, where he earns the nickname that gives the book its title. Unlike the Grim Reaper with his scythe, Dan is a comfort to those about to take the last, great step of life:

Instead of taking Charlie’s pulse – there was really no point – he took one of the old man’s hands in his. He saw Charlie’s twin sons at four, on swings. He saw Charlie’s wife pulling down a shade in the bedroom, wearing nothing but the slip of Belgian lace he’d bought her for their anniversary; saw how her ponytail swung over one shoulder when she turned to look at him, her face lit in a smile that was all yes. He saw a Farmall tractor with a striped umbrella raised over the seat. He smelled bacon and heard Frank Sinatra singing “Come Fly with Me” from a cracked Motorola radio sitting on a worktable littered with tools. He saw a hubcap full of rain reflecting a red barn. He tasted blueberries and gutted a deer and fished in some distant lake whose surface was dappled by steady autumn rain. He was sixty, dancing with his wife in the American Legion hall. He was thirty, splitting wood. He was five, wearing shorts and pulling a red wagon. Then the pictures blurred together, the way cards do when they’re shuffled in the hands of an expert, and the wind was blowing big snow down from the mountains…

Having recently finished some of King’s earlier books, I see here the full strength of his authorial skills, combined with the maturation that comes from honing those skills over the course of many years. A lot of the nastiness that King used to rely upon is missing here. And while this is occasionally violent, it is not nearly as graphic as some of his other output. Aside from a brief callout to Charlie Manx – the villain in his son Joe Hill’s NOSA42 – King mostly avoids dabbling in the large multiverse that he has created in his career. He is focused on the story he’s telling, not laying easter eggs for readers. While he occasionally digresses from the central narrative, he does so in order to provide grace notes that deepen the core concepts. Interestingly, Doctor Sleep reaches its climatic moments with plenty of time still to spare. The final pages, then, become almost a valedictory, one that is unexpectedly moving.

Horror, like science-fiction and fantasy, reaches its apex when its tropes are deployed in service of a profound idea or purpose. King, more than most authors in any genre, has done this successfully. Doctor Sleep works on two levels simultaneously. On the one, it is an engrossing supernatural thriller, the kind of book you’d take on an airplane because it causes you to lose time. On the other, it uses the fantastical to explore notions about our lives on earth that feel very real and very true.
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,133 followers
September 27, 2017
I hesitated to read DOCTOR SLEEP for about a minute. I was worried that it wouldn't live up to The Shining, and everything would be ruined. RUINED!

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Luckily that was not the case at all. I should have had more faith in Stephen King's love and respect for these characters. I am sorry for ever doubting you Stephen.

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A tribe of people called The True Knot travel around the United States- by RV- in search of children with "The Shining". These children have what The True Knot feeds off, something they call "steam". Their leader- Rose "The Hat" learns of a little girl -named Abra- that will keep them in steam for a very long time.

Danny Torrance is all grown up, but far from happy. He is still haunted by his past. To numb the pain, and keep the ghosts at bay, he follows in his fathers footsteps with the bottle. Dan finally settles down in a little town in New Hampshire , joins AA, and finds a little bit of peace...until one day he starts receiving strange telepathic messages from a little girl named Abra. Abra needs his help.

Call me crazy, but I think I liked DOCTOR SLEEP more than I liked The Shining. I could be terribly wrong because I haven't read The Shining in years, but I certainly loved grown up Danny waaaaaaay more than I liked Jack, and I loved Abra more than I liked Danny as a child. One thing I do know as a fact... I will never look at "innocent" summer vacationers travelling in RVs the same. EVER!

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Profile Image for Larry.
76 reviews8,736 followers
January 17, 2020
Check out our booktube review @ paperbackdreams...
Profile Image for Peter.
2,778 reviews498 followers
October 27, 2013
An amazing piece of fiction. The book set me directly back in the 80s when I first read Shining. This truely is part 2 of the story. If you want to know the further history of Dan Torrence or come back to the eerie Overlook Hotel this is your read. I think one of the best King books. The feeling is there body and soul of his former writing. Really you can't put that away. If there are follow ups to Misery, Pet Semetary or IT, I'll read them all. True recommendation, Scary horror. He could do a book on the history of the steam sucking people next or a whole book on the Overlook (short stories on all the horror that happened in there). A classic King.
Profile Image for Matt.
3,817 reviews12.8k followers
July 9, 2019
Stephen King’s title of ‘great storyteller’ is firmly strengthened with this full-length novel, which reprises some of the key roles from The Shining. Picking up briefly after THE SHINING’s completion, Danny Torrance and his mom have moved on, away from the horrors of Colorado. Learning to control his ‘shines’ proves to be quite difficult for Danny, but becomes essential in order to survive. Fast-forwarding to the present day, Dan Torrance’s life has begun to circle the drain as he has become a replica of his alcoholic father. Struggling to survive, Dan drifts from town to town, eventually settling in New Hampshire, where he’s given a second chance, with a fast-track path to AA. While he gets his life together, a baby, Abra Stone, begins to show signs of the shine, though no one knows what to make of her premonitions. Her family is unaware of these shines, chalking them up to coincidence or unexplained circumstances. Meanwhile, a sinister group of people, the TRUE KNOT begin leeching the life out of people wherever they go, using their ‘steam’ to survive. Children with the shine are the Knot’s favourite snack and keeps them surviving for decades. When their leader connects with Abra and her abilities, all paths lead to finding her and destroying this uber-shiner. When Abra reaches out to fellow shiner, Dan, they connect and realise just how horrific the Knots can be and how much trouble surrounds them. While Dan and Abra fight to hide from the Knot and destroy them at the same time, the story kicks into high gear and its pace is non-stop, leaving the reader to grip onto anything they can as they fly through this action-packed sequel.

King’s powerful return to his Shining roots proves not only useful but highly worthwhile. As King denotes in his author’s note, many people have wondered whatever happened to little Danny Torrance and if there is more to The Shining than meets the eye (or brainwave). King layers old Shining memories with new ideas and powerful characters, while kicking the horror genre up a notch. Filled with his linguistic nuances and apt off-the-beaten-path comments, King uses this unique style to cater to his long-time fans’ interest in his style. There are few authors who can scare a reader so soundly and yet keep them begging for more, while also telling a multi-layered novel with a foundation so sound that it cannot collapse on itself.

Kudos Mr. King. While I used to think you the devil-incarnate (blame my upbringing), I can now say you are one of the great fiction writers of my time.
Profile Image for D. Hilliard.
Author 19 books74 followers
September 26, 2013
Being a big fan of Stephen King, especially his early work, I waited with nervous anticipation for Dr. Sleep. I reread The Shining for the first time in years, just to reacquaint myself with the world of Danny Torrance and the Overlook Hotel. It was on my kindle within minutes of it being released, and I spent the past two afternoons ignoring housework in favor of diving into one of Kings rare sequels.

So how does it measure up?

The correct answer to that is “it depends.”

If you are looking for a direct sequel to The Shining that recaptures the same sense of claustrophobic terror as the original, you are going to be disappointed. It does try to go for scares here and there, but on that level it comes nowhere close to it’s predecessor. If, on the other hand, you are looking for the next story in the life of Danny Torrance then you will probably find this much more satisfying.

Dan Torrance is a grown man and an alcoholic who has hit rock bottom and is now trying to recover. He works at a hospice where he uses his talent to help dying patients pass over. Over time he becomes aware of another child with The Shining, and this girl is far more powerful than he was. But there is a group of “psychic vampires” roaming the country and feeding on children who shine, and he is going to get drawn into defending her against these monsters.

Sadly, I think the monsters are one of the areas where this book falls short of what it could have been. They simply aren’t very frightening, and the one scene where they kidnap a boy to devour feels tacked on as if the author was trying to make them scarier while introducing a plot device for later. The problem here is that the author spends too much time in the heads of his bad guys.

King is a master of characterization, and that shows with many of the characters in this book. You feel real sympathy for Dan Torrance, and connect with several of the other characters as well. At the same time though, he seems to have let that lead him to actually overdevelop some of the bad guys to the point they are merely antagonists, and just don’t inspire fear at all. Rose the Hat is no Walking Dude. Heck, despite her powers she isn’t even as scary as Jack Torrance was.

But that is really the only flaw of the book. So the effect of it is, that as a horror book it’s not all that effective, but as a layered story with interesting characters possessing psychic powers, it succeeds in all kinds of ways. I absolutely do recommend this book, but just take it on its own merits.

I give it four stars.
Profile Image for preoccupiedbybooks.
465 reviews1,113 followers
October 22, 2020
A dark, tense and gripping tale of good versus evil

*There may be spoilers ahead for The Shining! *

Did you ever wonder what happened to little Danny Torrance from The Shining?! In Doctor Sleep we find out that Dan is now a middle aged recovering alcoholic, who works in a hospice, earning himself the nickname Doctor Sleep, due to his ability to comfort and ease the pain of the dying. Dan meets Abra Stone, a girl with the most powerful shine he's ever seen! However, Dan's not the only one to notice her powers, Ara has drawn the attention of the True Knot, but who are they, and will he be able to help her?

I was initially wary of listening to this, as I thought I didn't need a sequel to the Shining, but I found that this wasn't really a sequel, but more of a continuation of the story, set in the same universe. I'm glad I went for it because, although it wasn't as scary as the shining, it was darker, more gritty and more disturbing! You don't have to read the shining first, as Stephen King does a great job of summarising it at the beginning of this book, but you should do because it's a fabulous book!

I loved listening to Doctor Sleep, the narrator Will Patten did a great job with so many characters! I took my time listening to it, getting to know the characters, especially Dan. Slow and melancholic at first, we see Dan was trying to get a grip on his demons and the trauma of his childhood. Drowning in guilt and fear, he succumbed to alcohol, despite swearing that he would never be like his father. However, unless he was drunk, Dan was still visited by ghosts of his past. I think I would drink, if it would stop me from seeing apparitions!
Dan was a mess, and honestly, I didn't like him much at the start, but he has amazing character development through the book, and I ended up adoring him! This book looked closely at family history and genes, in relation to both alcoholism and anger issues, but Dan managed to claw his way out of a dark, awful place because of the AA, and the support of his friends. Whilst Jack tried to fight his demons alone, Dan used the resources at his disposal to make amends, help Abra, and to fight for his future. Although he was a little like his destructive father, Dan cared for others, and was a much more likeable person.

Doctor sleep was very engaging, and it wasn't set in one place like its predecessor. I liked learning about both Dan and Abra's backstories, and then seeing their paths converge! Abra was a great character, and I loved her. She was smart, brave and fierce, with some amazing powers and strength! I would absolutely read a book about her as she grows up!

The True Knot, were... interesting! They were so evil and creepy! Rose the hat was a A* villain, she was such a cold blooded killer! Plus you would never suspect them, with their perfect cover as a group of aging travellers, touring the states in their RVs! I would also read the origin story of this group of vampiric monsters!

This was a great story, with some top characters, and it had heart. I'm so glad that S.K wondered what had happened to little Danny too. The author's note is definitely worth reading.

However, I did find the confrontation slightly anticlimactic after the build up, but I liked the ending, how it all was wrapped up. My husband has been waiting for me to finish, so that we can watch the film adaptation, so lets hope its better than the shining film! Although, I'm sure I read that it's a homage to it so I'm not holding my breath!

Overall, I really enjoyed Doctor Sleep, and the way it delved deeply into it's characters. I'm off to continue my S.K binge, with Salem's Lot coming up next I think!
Profile Image for ❤Ninja Bunneh❤.
264 reviews173 followers
March 1, 2014
Once upon a time, there was a girl. She liked to read, but was at a crossroads between being too old for childish books, and a bit too young for cheesy romance novels with Fabio on the cover. The girl loved scary movies and all things horror and wondered if maybe there were things written like that. She asked the librarian, who handed her a book. The girl ran home and closed herself up in her room. She sat down and started to read a book called Carrie, by an author named Stephen King. She devoured that book and went on to read every single book by her new favorite author, including those under the name Richard Bachman. When those ran out, she explored different authors like Koontz, Saul, Cook, and Crichton, just to name a few. So many doors were opened and so many journeys taken, worlds explored, over many years. Maybe I'll get back to this story a bit later.
When I heard that Doctor Sleep was coming out I immediately pre-ordered it on Amazon. I rarely do this, but for King I tend to make exceptions. Finally, the other day my Kindle got a present.
I'll admit, for the first 15% of the book it was a bit slow for me. I started to panic, envisioning Under the Dome, which sits on my kindle shelf. A book that I've tried to read twice, without success. I didn't want Doctor Sleep, which features one of my favorite characters, to fall by the wayside and have the same fate. Luckily it picked up and I was trapped in the pages.
Doctor Sleep is said to be The Shining 2. While some parts of this may be true, for the most part it's a standalone. You do not have to read The Shining to read this. Read it anyway because it's fuckawesome. There is no spooktastic Overlook Hotel, it has long ago perished. The only real connection between the two books is Dan, our main. Dan, who was a five year old scared little boy in The Shining, now a man. A man who is a fucked up alcoholic hot mess.
The villains aren't ghosts of a haunted hotel, but beings (like vampires, I guess), who kill children who Shine. Sucking up their essence as they die.
I won't say more about the story. I'm not here to give a full blown play by play, because in essence, then why would you need to read the book?
I can say this. If someone who had never read Stephen King, asked me if this should be their first book, I would say no. I would send them the direction of Cujo or Pet Sematary, or Carrie, Salem's Lot. This is a quieter Stephen King. It is not a horror story. There's no hiding under the blankets or checking the drain in the bathroom, looking for a creepy clown named Pennywise. The bad guys aren't scary. More like washed up. Shadows of what a bad guy should be. Stephen King knows how to write villains. Randall Flagg, Pennywise, Cujo, a baby named Gage, even a prison guard named Percy. I repeat, this is really not a horror story.
For those of us who have read The Shining, what a joy it was to see some characters we loved from that book. I wish Tony had more of a story, I'm always curious about him. Perhaps a book for Tony, Mr. King?
For me, reading Dan again was like meeting an old friend after many years. He was forever frozen as a boy in my mind. Now he has come full circle. When you finish a book, normally that's it. Time goes on, you read new books, get involved with new characters. They, in turn, become frozen. What a gift to be able to revisit a character after all this time.
My final thoughts. I highly recommend this book. If you're holding out because you haven't read The Shining, don't. Doctor Sleep is well written, snarky at times as only Mr. King can be, and will suck you in. I even cried once or twice, yes, from The Master of Horror.

5 Ninja-Bunnehs-Writing-REDRUM

Now after my ramblings are you still here, or have you forgotten the tale in the beginning of the review? If you're wondering what happened to the girl, well, she grew up and became a woman. Did she get a HEA? I don't know yet. I do know that she owes a love of reading to a certain author. How do you know, you ask? Well, because. Once upon a time, long ago, I sat down to read a book called Carrie, by an author named Stephen King. My journey isn't over.
Profile Image for El Librero de Valentina.
278 reviews20.5k followers
October 30, 2019
Es muy bueno, pero nunca como El Resplandor, que para mi no tiene punto de comparación.
Mis personajes favoritos: Abra y Dan, juntos son una fuerza muy poderosa.
Algunas cosas las sentí forzadas, pero en general disfruté la historia.
Profile Image for Eloy Cryptkeeper.
296 reviews196 followers
December 3, 2021
"Por primera vez en su vida, Abra sintió un placer incondicional, incluso alegría, por el talento que siempre la había desconcertado y a veces aterrorizado. Gracias a ese hombre, hasta tenía un nombre para ello: el resplandor. Era un buen nombre, un nombre reconfortante, porque siempre lo había considerado algo oscuro"

"TEMER son las siglas de Todo Es Manejable, Encara la Recuperación"

Me gusta el tono y el camino que eligió S.K para esta secuela. Sin ir a lo fácil y seguro, Con conexiones apropiadas con su antecesora historia, pero creando una historia con su propio peso y cierta "actualización" bastante orgánica. Siguiendo La turbulenta vida de Danny, luchando contra sus traumas del pasado, su camino de superación , la peculiar vocación y diversas personas que encontró en el proceso,.En especial Abra (su Padawan) y la interaccion entre estos.
Mi único problema, y no menor, es con la antagonista y su grupo "El nudo verdadero". Mucha insinuación pero poca concreción. Se queda a mitad de camino en su trasfondo, su proceder, y con una superposición entre lo mundano y lo sobrenatural de una forma que no funciono para mi, no me hizo sentido. Quizá hubiera funcionado mejor un grupo mas acotado, mejor desarrollado y no tan desarticulado en cuanto a las características.

*Me gusto que siguiera con la tradición... Ya que El Resplandor estaba dedicado para su hijo Joe Hill "Para Joe Hill King, que esplende". Aquí en la propia historia se hace presente una pequeña referencia de la novela de Joe NOS4A2 y su antagonista Charlie manx y Christmasland
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,392 reviews4,905 followers
October 16, 2021

In this the sequel to 'The Shining', Danny Torrance - who had psychic visions as a child -is a very troubled adult.


As the story opens Dan Torrance (Danny Torrance from "The Shining") has grown up to be a violent, itinerant alcoholic who suffers from blackouts.

His difficulties connect back to the time Danny was a young child, and his father was the caretaker of the 'Overlook Hotel' in Colorado.

There Danny's psychic gift (called 'the shining') led to his meeting a gaggle of supernatural psychopaths and several victims of violence.

The hotel's supernatural residents also drove Danny's father insane, and he tried to kill Danny and his mom.

After adult Dan has a one night stand that disturbs him greatly he hops a train and ends up in New Hampshire.

There he gets a job in a hospice and joins Alcoholics Anonymous. Meanwhile, Abra, a little girl who also lives in New Hampshire, starts to exhibit a whopping amount of 'shining' herself.

As Abra grows up she develops a psychic connection to Dan and mentally reaches out to say hello and get acquainted.

In time Abra's psychic gifts brings her to the attention of a group of horrific vampire-like beings called the 'True Knot' who torture and murder psychic children to absorb their "steam" (psychic essence).

The True Knot becomes desperate to get their hands on Abra who - coming to realize the danger she's in - asks Dan to help her. This leads to the thriller part of the story, with the True Knot scheming to kidnap Abra, and Dan and his cohorts scheming to save her.

The book is chock full of fascinating characters (good and evil) and gruesome events - in true Stephen King style.

The story isn't one of Stephen King's scariest tales but it's a whopping good story that will stick with you. Highly recommended, especially to King fans and aficionados of horror stories.

You can follow my reviews at http://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot.com/
2 reviews2 followers
August 18, 2013
Just finished the galley. A HUGE disappointment. (NO SPOILERS)

Do you find Nan the hat, measles and shotguns scary?

It’s well known that King postponed publication of DOCTOR SLEEP from January 2013 to fall 2013 since he admitted it needed some serious editing.

Imagine Shirley Jackson writing a sequel to THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE without the house, or Richard Matheson’s HELL HOUSE sequel sans the Belasco mansion?

That’s one of the many, many, many things that are wrong with Stephen King’s sequel to THE SHINING---the Overlook hotel never makes an appearance since it was destroyed by fire (in the book, not the movie.) The whole premise of THE SHINING was a haunted hotel and a boy with a special gift.

What we have in DOCTOR SLEEP (really dull title, BTW) is the further adventures of Danny Torrance. Problem is, if you read the novel, Danny was never a very interesting character—his father was and the hotel was. But in this sequel, we are stuck with Danny.

And Danny drinks—a lot. And goes to a LOT of AA meetings; and we go with him. To. Every. Single. One. I’m talking dozens of pages of AA meetings that add zero to the book. King struggled with alcoholism during the early years of his career and one reason he so disliked Kubrick’s film was because that aspect of Jack Torrance was significantly excised from the film. So King wrote it back in when he did his 1997 TV miniseries. So alcoholism played—and plays—a big role in the characters of THE SHINING and DOCTOR SLEEP.

But it doesn’t result in very interesting characters. In fact, this is the first book of King’s (I’ve read more than 40 of them) where his skill with characters is absent. There are no characters in this book, just names on a page—and pages you will be frantically skimming by the time you reach page 200 because you will be desperately look for a plot to grab you and suck you into the story.

Like everyone else reading this review, I was SO EXCITED to read DOCTOR SLEEP. A sequel to one of my favorite King novels, and he said it would be a return to real horror. (“Basically, the idea of the story was to try and scare the s--t out of people!” he said)

But here’s the bad news: IT'S NOT SCARY. At all.

The supernatural force Danny deals with is someone called “Nan the Hat.” Seriously. I’m not making it up. And Nan and her minions aren’t even really supernatural---they can be destroyed by measles. And shotguns. Yes, seriously.

By page 400 of this more than 600 page galley, I knew it was a real disaster. Of course, “everyone” will buy it but I can’t honestly imagine many will give it a good review. There is no Overlook Hotel. There are no scares. There are no classic King characters.

In fact, the last 200 pages read like a young adult adventure novel. If it wasn’t pitched as a sequel, it would still be a bad book, and it borrows heavily from IT and THE DEAD ZONE.

This was a huge disappointment for me. If anyone likes/loves it, I look forward to reading your reviews and some examples of what was so scary or compelling about the story.

This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,384 reviews1,650 followers
October 3, 2013


After Goodreads decided to unveil their new censorship policy regarding author behavior reviews and shelves (sorry, let me be accurate: NEGATIVE author behavior reviews and shelves...), I decided that I wasn't going to review on Goodreads anymore. I created a Booklikes account (Meh...) and already have a blog, and I decided that I would review there instead of on Goodreads.

But then this past week happened. Stephen King released Doctor Sleep on my birthday (as mentioned above), and then on Friday, I met up with a friend and drove to Cambridge, MA to see King read from the book and do a bit of Q&A.

The friend I met up with was one that I met through Goodreads. And while in Massachusetts, I met another Goodreads friend, and we hung out and had a great time.

And I've come to realize that the social/community aspect of this site is worth far more to me than reviewing in solitary confinement on my blog. In a way, I'm a little disappointed in myself, because I am adamantly against GR's new policy in principle, and extremely disappointed and upset with GR about it, but I know that in the end, whether I review here or not makes no difference because I'd still BE here, generating site traffic, because of my friends and the community I still want to be a part of.

Goodreads: 1
Becky: 0

So, let's set the sappy kumbaya shit aside, and get to the review.

The Shining is one of my Top 5 all time favorite books, and has been for 20 years, and so it was a scary thought that Doctor Sleep could potentially change how I feel about it. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, but I will say that my opinion of Jack is a little... altered.

The Shining is all about Jack Torrance for me; The Overlook, and even Danny, are secondary. Jack's character is so realistic that he could step off the page, swinging his roque mallet, and bellowing "Come here, pup!"... and that's what makes him fascinating and terrifying to me to this day. But I love him, and I have pretty definite opinions of his character: Jack was a fundamentally good but flawed person with asshole tendencies, who was dealt a shitty hand in life, and got in over his head in a situation that he couldn't understand and was massively unprepared for. He was always going to lose against the Overlook, but had he avoided that place, I'm certain that he'd have broken the cycle of alcoholism and violence. Now, after reading Doctor Sleep, I don't think I can say that my faith in him is shaken, but just that there's a crack along the line that separates "fundamentally good" from "asshole". How much of that crack can be blamed on the alcohol is debatable. Probably a lot... but I think that would be a cop-out and honestly I think Jack knows better than that.


So, coming back to Doctor Sleep, I've always felt that Stephen King looked at Danny as his fictional son. I commented on this to my friend on the drive up to Boston, because I was surprised at where King imagined Danny to end up. Of course it made sense, but I wonder if it hurt King to write him there... drunk, and hitting his rock bottom, and wanting desperately to find a good place to escape his own personal demons. I hope it did, because, even though Danny doesn't hold the same place in my heart as Jack, seeing him come back into the world as a violent drunk who hates who he's become was a little painful for me, considering his familial history. I so wanted him to avoid that.

*cough* What?

Unfortunately, I can't say Doctor Sleep came anywhere close to being as great as The Shining, but it was very good for what it was. There were times when I felt that things were rushed along a little bit, and timees that things were a bit too easy, and times when the build-up overshadowed the reveal, especially in regards to the final showdown, but for being a continuation of Danny's story, it was good.

I liked the person he grew into being, and I liked that he used his ability to help those at the end of their lives. I couldn't imagine doing something like that though, seeing the lives of so many people, so intimately, and caring enough to stick it through with them to the end, when even their own family couldn't, or wouldn't. That would be too much for me, but it makes me oddly proud that Danny was able to do it.

As far as Abra... I dunno. I'm more ambivalent about her. I feel like I was supposed to love her, but I just... didn't. Things were just so easy for her, since she was so powerful in the shining, and on top of that, she had a support system - two parents, Danny, Billy, and John. And she was more than twice Danny's age when he had to fight for his life, alone. So I just didn't really feel all that concerned about her, as unfair as it may be. I feel like King went easy on her.

I also wanted to know more about the True Knot. I wanted to truly fear them, but aside from their ruthlessness and their obvious financial means helping them to get away with it, I didn't find them particularly frightening. I wanted more along the lines of Horace Derwent and the dead woman from Room 217, and what I got was the Wicked Witch of the West. Hat and all.

In a way, Doctor Sleep was quite a bit like Black House, and I imagine that people will compare them. I don't think that as stories go they do compare to each other much once they get going, aside from the fact that they both revisit characters who experienced crazy events in their childhood after a long gap of time and catch up with their adult selves. I really enjoyed Black House, and feel the same about Doctor Sleep. And, as with both big-gap sequels, I like that they were doorways into King's larger universe, and now Joe Hill's as well. Some great little Easter Eggs to find there, and I loved that.

So, overall... I liked it quite a lot, but I don't think that it lives up to The Shining. It's a good continuation of Danny's story, and a good standalone novel as well (because it CAN be read that way, if you don't mind getting the really short and sweet version of a recap of The Shining), and I'd definitely recommend it to King fans.
Profile Image for Neal Shusterman.
Author 86 books25.2k followers
May 24, 2015
The Shining was my favorite Stephen King book when I was a teenager. I listened to the audio version of Doctor Sleep, and really enjoyed it, but somehow it didn’t live up to the Shining. Granted, our memory of books from our youths is an extremely hard act to follow. I would have given Doctor Sleep four stars, but I felt that the climax was too easy. Stephen King is a master storyteller, so I don’t cut him any slack when it comes to the conclusion!
Profile Image for Anish Kohli.
187 reviews263 followers
July 5, 2017
Hmmm… Lemme ask you this...

Have you read SK? Have you, really? Have you lost yourself in his thoughts and characters and their problems? Have you FELT his stories take over you? If you have, as I have, then you know this review will say nothing you don’t already know.

If you haven’t….. Wait, what? How can you not read SK? Do you not know what you are missing out on?
Yeah, you probably don’t. OK, well then, listen up close as I explain with an analogy.

Think of a joke that you have heard many times, being told by a funny friend. He makes you laugh, regardless, doesn’t he? It’s not the joke though, it’s the funny friend who does it.
Think of a story that scared you once, being told in a creepy setting. It scares you still, doesn’t it? It’s not the story this time either, it’s the setting.

That is SK’s MO. He is not just an author. He is a STORY-TELLER. A performer. His stories aren’t out-of-the-world good. No. It’s the way he tell them, that makes them so damn good.

This book is no different.

For those who do not know (I don’t think there would be any), Doctor Sleep is a sequel to The Shining.

After I was through with The Shining, I wondered what happened with the little guy Dan Torrance. How did he turn out to be? How did all the horror change him and in what ways? Those questions made me pick up the second installment.

Life is a wheel, its only job is to turn, and it always comes back to where it started.

Going into this book, you find that Danny aka Doc has grown up into a man. Still haunted by the events of the overlook and his father’s legacy of Alcoholism and violence, he lives his life on the run from himself. A drifter who belongs nowhere. A boy who turned into the man he never would’ve wanted to. Looking for refuge from his horrors, he gets to a small town where he finds his true calling, working in a hospice. He settles down as Doctor Sleep.

Meet Abra, a little girl with shining, just like Danny, only much, much stronger.

If I’m a Flashlight, Abra is a Lighthouse - Dan.

A little girl in her teens, trying to get by her life, trying to keep her shining from getting in the way of her family. Unwittingly, young Abra crosses paths with Danny and A woman in the Hat. Danny she befriends but the woman, not so much.

Meet the Woman in the Hat. A monstrous, vile being that cares not one bit about anyone apart from the band of homeless dwellers she travels with. She has her mind set on Abra and will not stop till she gets what she has.

Somehow, these three become entangled in an unexpected way and now it is a fight for survival and fight they must. Come out on top and you live, lose and you’d wish you’d died.

Now, to be quite honest, this book isn’t the least bit scary. It is not even in the category of Horror, as far as I’m concerned. At times, it all becomes a bit too American to understand a few things. Around half-way through the book, the story starts to drag a little. Then what makes it worth a read?

Stephen King does.

It’s his capability to write in such small details in a certain way that will make you feel like the characters are alive and with you in this very room. The way he shapes his characters is amazing. The characters, old and new, jump off the pages and grab a hold. The characters have depth, they are not just names on a page. They are people, like you and I. They don’t seem like pieces of fiction. They are as real as the air you breathe but can never touch or see. Each character, flawed in their own plausible way. Each character has a growth curve that makes sense. Some you love, some you hate.

The story is pretty interesting & well-paced and the last quarter of the book really redeems it of the small flaws. But in the end, it’s simply the writing that is just amazing. Better than anything I have read by far. Smooth as silk, freely flowing words after words after words. With the right amounts of cussing and decorum, you are kept on the hook. Though this book could’ve done just fine without being a sequel to anything, it is the very fact that this book is a sequel, that it makes more sense.

I could go on and on praising SK’s writing but where is point in that?

Go ahead, pick up that book and become a "Constant Reader".
Go ahead, revel in the words of this great storyteller.

Cheers :)
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 21 books4,806 followers
January 15, 2019
I wanted to love this book and I read it with eager enthusiasm. However, I found that the voice of this book, Danny Torrance, was all wrong. This didn't feel like Danny to me. I was scared in some parts--the enemies are formidable--but the story was not engaging. I was expecting more.
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