It’s been decades since the horrific events at The Overlook Hotel that left Dan Torrance with a dead father and recurring visits from the ghosts of the past. Now, struggling with alcoholism, Dan is a wanderer.
When his paths cross that of Abra Stone, a 13-year-old with the shining, he gets involved in a battle against The True Knot, a monstrous cult targeting children with the shine.
This sequel to The Shining left me underwhelmed in some ways but also engaged because of the plot. While the first book is unsettling and creepy (which I loved!), Doctor Sleep is more of a mildly gory and adventurous novel.
The writing is still reminiscent of King’s detail-oriented approach and focuses on bringing out his characters’ internal conflicts. This comes across beautifully in how we see the story through Dan’s eyes.
Dan’s struggles are quite different from that of his father, Jack. While Jack Torrance had a fury he couldn’t work through, Dan indulges in alcohol because of how it dulls his shining.
That said, there were many passages and many chapters where my interest in the book kept dipping.
I appreciated the fact that the author doesn’t try to make Dan seem like a morally clean character. His experience at The Overlook during his childhood has changed him in more ways than one.
The fun begins when Abra first makes contact with Dan. Gradually, he realizes that he needs to channel his powers to help her.
Their bond goes on to form a rock-solid pillar that Dan uses to gain more strength. In joining hands with her, he becomes to Abra what Dick (Hallorann) was to Dan. I really enjoyed reading the scenes where Abra, Dan, and the team would work together to defeat The True Knot.
Speaking of, The True Knot has been portrayed to be this vampiric group of people with none of the poise or elegance that vampires are known to possess in pop culture.
Abra’s characterisation and her powers are truly a breath of fresh air, transforming the dreary nature of the story into one with more hope.
Were The True Knot a strong enough antagonist that there had to be an internal and external force actively chipping away at their efforts? I don’t know. But it was a nice touch!
The last quarter is easily the most immersive part of the novel, where the plot progression picks up speed.
Even though The Shining will remain my favourite Stephen King novel, there are a few reasons why I would recommend Doctor Sleep – Dan’s story, the action-adventure plot, and Abra’s involvement.
I’m planning to pick up the book Misery next. I’ll be sure to go into it without any expectations of encountering a creepy story.