Nataliya's Reviews > 'Salem's Lot

'Salem's Lot by Stephen King
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it was amazing
bookshelves: stephen-king
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There was a time once when vampires were ruthless predators and not the misunderstood brooding and essentially harmless creatures. Ahhhh, good old scary times...



Vampire stories have been around for a long time - after all, people love a good scare, and what is more terrifying than a monster showing up at night and sucking the life essence out of you? But leave it to Stephen King to turn the terror up a notch, add a whole new layer to it. How? Simply - using the winning formula that he continues to employ in the vast majority of his work.

In addition to showing us the monsters of the night, he also brings into the picture the monsters and the darkness that are already with us, that live in the deep dark recesses of everyone's soul.
""The town knew about darkness."
"The town has its secrets, and keeps them well."
"The town cares for devil's work no more than it cares for God's or man's. It knew darkness. And darkness was enough.
"


The eponymous 'Salem's Lot is a small town in Maine, and it is not a stranger to secrets and darkness. It's quaint and pastoral on the surface, but once you look deeper you are bound to discover what lurks behind its respectable surface. And trust me, that's the discoveries that you can easily go without for the darkness of the human soul as presented by Stephen King beats everything that any monster or boogeyman can ever send your way. The small town of 'Salem's Lot can boast your usual lies, bullying, corruption, and prejudice - and spices it up with well-hidden child abuse, violence, and murders. Not so quaint, is it?
It is this portrayal of everyday people's secrets, of the towns being almost like living breathing organisms that is one of the big reasons why I am a huge fan of Stephen King's works.



From the very first pages of the novel we know that some terrible fate made 'Salem's Lot a ghost town with apparently only a couple of survivors. It doesn't take the reader long to realize, as we go back in time to see how the events unfolded, that the mysterious menacing Marsten House welcomed new evil that tends to lurk at night, floating past your (hopefully, tightly shut) windows.

The story itself is rather straightforward, steadily moving along to its almost-conclusion that we have glimpsed in the first few pages, and we watch with bated breath as our bunch of good guys - Ben, Mark, Susan, Matt - are trying to take on the supernatural horror. Oh, and did I forget Father Callahan? (view spoiler)

King is excellent with the plotting and the pacing (since this was only his second novel, he was still a stranger to writing larger-than-life brick-sized tomes). The story never lags, the suspense and sense of foreboding are rampant, and there are quite a few truly nailbiting situations. Nothing distracts the reader from the vampire story unfolding on the background of small-town horrors. There are no heavy-handed lessons to be learned, no deep morals to take out of the story - all we get is a thrilling and quite scary ride that may make you (a) sleep with a light on, and (b) be very careful about who you invite into your home. 5 stars.
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May 14, 2012 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-45 of 45 (45 new)

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Wendy Unsworth I love this review - and Salem's lot! What I admired so much was how King's characters slowly come to realise what is happening to them. It made me think, 'if there really were vampires in town THIS is how it would happen!


Nataliya Thanks, Wendy! King does describe it in such a way that the reactions to the events and the characters' actions do seem consistent with what would have happened in real life. But I do hope that the real vampire infestation would go differently given the sad fate of Salem's Lot.


Jesus Saldivia Excellent review Nataliya! Love it!


Nataliya Thanks, Jesus!


message 5: by B0nnie (new) - added it

B0nnie you really love this book...the town sounds like Sunnydale. Definitely not a place to live unless there's a slayer.


Nataliya B0nnie wrote: "you really love this book...the town sounds like Sunnydale. Definitely not a place to live unless there's a slayer."

I do love it. But I think even Buffy would have found herself at loss in Salem's Lot.


message 7: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH One of his classics. Great review.


Nataliya AH wrote: "One of his classics. Great review."

Thanks!


message 9: by Mikael (new)

Mikael Love the review. Sounds way too scary for me.


message 10: by s.penkevich (new)

s.penkevich NICE. Great review. This book scared the life out of me when I read it. Perfect halloween review!


Leslie I read this when I was in middleschool. Scared the crap out of me but not as much as the movie. Thanks for posting the picture of the creepy vampire boy in pajamas floating in the window with that creepy look on his face, by the way. I had forgotten that terrifying image of my childhood. Now you've undone years of therapy. I'll send you a bill. hahahahah. Just kidding.


Nataliya s.penkevich wrote: "NICE. Great review. This book scared the life out of me when I read it. Perfect halloween review!"

Thanks! You know, I actually did not mean to repost this one even though it does make a good Halloween review (I was reformatting my pictures in it and must have reflexively pressed the 'add to my feed' button, and did not realize that until I saw people liking it!).

Leslie wrote: "I read this when I was in middleschool. Scared the crap out of me but not as much as the movie. Thanks for posting the picture of the creepy vampire boy in pajamas floating in the window with tha..."

I apologize :D I was just trying to make sure your therapist continues to have a job - we have to look out after each other in the health profession, after all ;)


message 13: by Chris (last edited Nov 01, 2012 09:23AM) (new)

Chris This is a great review. I didn't read it when I read this book, but I can say I completely agree with you on everything.

I loved that this didn't have bitchy emotional teen vampires, and King wrote it so well, I got up in the middle of the night and checked all doors and windows while reading this. Great great review.


Nataliya Chris wrote: "This is a great review. I didn't read it when I read this book, but I can say I completely agree with you on everything.

I loved that this didn't have bitchy emotional teen vampires, and King wro..."


Thanks, Chris!


Michael Fierce Easily one of my fave books! Beyond that, we should all get stamps on our foreheads that say, "GREAT REVIEW, NATALIYA!", coz it's always true!!!!


Nataliya Michael wrote: "Easily one of my fave books! Beyond that, we should all get stamps on our foreheads that say, "GREAT REVIEW, NATALIYA!!!""

Awww, Michael, what a great idea ;) The real question here is, though - would you get the stamp so that it's readable when you look at yourself in the mirror (like the ambulance sign) or that is readable when other people look at you? I will settle for either ;)
Seriously, thanks!


Michael Fierce Nataliya wrote: "Awww, Michael, what a great idea ;) The real question here is, though - would you get the stamp so that it's readable when you look at yourself in the mirror (like the ambulance sign) or that is readable when other people look at you? I will settle for either ;)"

Welllll....I'm thinking we could all shave our heads and have one on one side and the other on the other. Whaddya' think?


Nandakishore Varma The most frightening part in Stephen King's world is small-town America.


message 19: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Nataliya wrote: "Awww, Michael, what a great idea ;) The real question here is, though - would you get the stamp so that it's readable when you look at yourself in the mirror (like the ambulance sisign) or that is readable when other people look at you? I will settle for either ;)"

Michael wrote: "Welllll....I'm thinking we could all shave our heads and have one on one side and the other on the other. Whaddya' think?"


But here's the problem - how will Nataliya see these things? And then we'd be stamping our computer screens... *shakes head* What we need is some kind of program that prowls the site and everytime it runs across of Nataliya's reviews, it automatically comments: Nice review, Nataliya

And if anyone disagrees, we'll just sic this guy on 'em:



Michael Fierce I like it! But I was hoping to trick some of Natliya's hardcore fans to do it my way first! Then spring it on 'em that they "coulda just done it yore way" after.


message 21: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Nandakishore wrote: "The most frightening part in Stephen King's world is small-town America."

Oh, I so agree with that (sorry, I missed this comment before). Have you read Desperation? Brrrrrr - that was a real creepfest!


Nandakishore Varma I have read Desperation, but that was too full of action for my taste. I like the creeping variety of horror more.


message 23: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy Nandakishore wrote: "I have read Desperation, but that was too full of action for my taste. I like the creeping variety of horror more."

Oh, definitely - I think that exact thing is why Dracula gives me nightmares but most modern horror doesn't.


Nataliya Nandakishore wrote: "I have read Desperation, but that was too full of action for my taste. I like the creeping variety of horror more."

Fully agreed.
I actually disliked 'Desperation' - it felt quite a bit weaker than King's other books.

Nandakishore wrote: "The most frightening part in Stephen King's world is small-town America."

I could not agree more. And King is excellent at showing that, while still letting the reader see the good aspects, too.


message 25: by Jakob J. (new) - added it

Jakob J. I appreciate your frequent and steadfast defenses of the King. Well done.


Nataliya Jacob wrote: "I appreciate your frequent and steadfast defenses of the King. Well done."

Oh, just wait. It is next on my reread list, and it is one my favorites by him. The amount of King-love will be overwhelming, I'm sure :D


Michael Fierce Nataliya wrote: "Jacob wrote: "I appreciate your frequent and steadfast defenses of the King. Well done."

Oh, just wait. It is next on my reread list, and it is one my favorites by him. The amount of King-love wil..."


It was one of my faves by him too and I've read over 30 of his novels.


message 28: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH It - I don't think I could ever do a re-read of that book. I was scared of clowns for the longest time because of Mr. King.


Nataliya AH wrote: "It - I don't think I could ever do a re-read of that book. I was scared of clowns for the longest time because of Mr. King."

I always was wary about the idea of clowns. A strange person in a creepy costume and with face paint approaching kids - how can one not see the scary element there?

Small towns is what I'll be terrified of again after rereading 'IT', I'm afraid. But I've wanted to reread it ever since Derry of the Pennywise era was featured in 11/22/63, and Richie and Beverly had a cameo appearance there.


David One of my favorite King novels, and my favorite vampire story.


message 31: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH You're right, Nataliya. Small towns can be really freaky. Every time we drive through one, I always think of King's Children of the Corn or something creepy like that. Yet the media always portrays small towns as friendly places to be. Interesting huh?


Nataliya AH wrote: "You're right, Nataliya. Small towns can be really freaky. Every time we drive through one, I always think of King's Children of the Corn or something creepy like that. Yet the media always portrays..."

I think the frequent over-idealization of small town life has to do with the centuries-long mistrust of the big-city faster way of life, and, for many, the 'unsavory element' of crime and homelessness and, of course, the dreaded 'inner city'. (Speaking of which, here's what Flight of the Conchords' take is on 'Inner City Pressure'). While in contrast the image of small city with friendly people and green lawns and silly neighborhood contests makes most people long for that happy semi-imaginary idea of ideal childhood. And then someone like Mr. King swoops in with his idea of what small cities can be like.


message 33: by Katy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Katy I like Dr. Israel's version of "Inner City Pressure" personally ... :-)


Jonathan You hit the nail on the head. I felt the same way about 'Salem's Lot that I did about Needful Things. The devil is there, but the scariest things by far are the "normal" people.


message 35: by AH (new) - rated it 5 stars

AH Jonathan wrote: "You hit the nail on the head. I felt the same way about 'Salem's Lot that I did about Needful Things. The devil is there, but the scariest things by far are the "normal" people."

Actually, come to think of it, in most of Stephen King's books the scariest things are the people.


Nataliya AH wrote: "Jonathan wrote: "You hit the nail on the head. I felt the same way about 'Salem's Lot that I did about Needful Things. The devil is there, but the scariest things by far are the "normal" people."

Actually, come to think of it, in most of Stephen King's books the scariest things are the people."


Both of you are so right about that. This is what sets King apart from so many other writers, especially in his genre - his uncanny ability to capture the psychological aspect of terror, basing it on people rather than external forces.


Bryce Great review! Truth be told this is probably one of the only books I've read that managed to slip into my dreams and give me a few restless nights.


Randal Martin OK, so I'm late to this comment section, but I had to put in my two cents worth. I think the stamp "Great review, Nataliya" should be able to be read in the mirror, ala "redrum." Can't believe you referenced an ambulance sign instead. Lol.


Nataliya Randal wrote: "OK, so I'm late to this comment section, but I had to put in my two cents worth. I think the stamp "Great review, Nataliya" should be able to be read in the mirror, ala "redrum." Can't believe you..."

Haha, thanks!


message 40: by Angela (new) - added it

Angela DeSilva How would you rate the movie? Are the pics above from the movie?


message 41: by Conner (new)

Conner Kennedy BLOOD!!!!


Laura Harrison Not a sparkly, hot vampire to be found.


message 43: by Sam (new) - added it

Sam This is the scariest book I have ever read...brilliant. I have been so scared reading but have not been able to stop reading it. I got so absorbed in the story and characters I felt I as living in the lot. Some parts of the bok'ate very stressful and tense I was sweating with fear! Amazing writing.


message 44: by Nick (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nick Younker I agree 100% with this review. I have always considered The Lot to be King's most memorable creation.


message 45: by Timothy (new) - added it

Timothy LOL..brooding and harmless. Yep, that's Twilight vampires. And Twi-hards too.


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