*This Review is Spoiler Free*
Stephen King’s The Shining follows the three members of the Torrance family. Jack, a recovery alcoholic and writer, takes a job as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel in the mountains of Colorado. Jack’s wife, Wendy and their son, Danny follow Jack into the mountains where they will live throughout the winter after all guests and staff have vacated. Jack, who lost his previous job as an English teacher, feels that this is his last hope to provide a stable income for his family. Being secluded for the winter months at the Overlook offers the added bonus of being able to work on the play that he has been unable to complete for some time. Unbeknownst to his parents, Danny is ‘a shiner’, and has psychic abilities, which seem to grow dark in the midst of their looming move to the hotel.
Well, I read my first Stephen King novel The Long Walk about two weeks ago and then decided to move on to one of his well-known horror novels…and ended up reading this novel. Partly because it was the only ‘horror’ novel of King’s that was available at the library and partly because I wanted to be able to start a series of reviews for the upcoming and fast approaching Halloween, I decided to finally give this novel a go. I feel as if everyone and their grandmother has read this book and/or seen the movie adaptation.
I had expected this novel to scare me to my core and although that didn’t end up being the case, I feel that this is a great haunting psychological thriller with paranormal occurrences and a suspenseful plot. King does a brilliant job of really going in depth with the story. I think I had expected to jump straight into horror and gore without much of a back story, buildup, or without getting a lot of history on the family. There is actually a good portion of the novel that is dedicated to events that occur prior to the families arrival at the hotel. This is actually incredibly important to the execution of the story. Without all that history and time spent with each character’s thoughts and feelings the ending of the story would have fell flat and have been not even a fraction as effective as it ended up being…and I think that setup for the conclusion was my favorite thing about the story and highlights how structurally sound it is.
I felt that the most developed and fleshed out character was Jack. This surprised me because I assumed that it would be Danny, seeing as he was the one with the ‘shine’ . That’s not to say that Danny was underdeveloped as a character, refreshingly enough, his character was incredibly mature and well thought out considering his young age of five. By far the least likeable and relatable of the Torrace clan was Wendy, she became a quite annoying to be towards the end of the book.
Overall, I throughly enjoyed my reading experience and give this novel 8-out of-10 unicorn horns.