Saturday, 8 February 2014

Book Review: IT; Stephen King

Well, after days of battle against this book, I have finally emerged victorious. The book is finished. There will probably be some minor spoilers here, so if you'd rather not know then don't read! 

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: IT
AUTHOR: Stephen King
SERIES: --
PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
PAGES: 1376
GENRE: Horror, Thriller, Supernatural, Suspense

RATING: 3/5 Stars


Blurb
It is the children who see - and feel - what makes the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reaches up, seizing, tearing, killing...
Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back once more to confront IT as it stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

What I Liked:
  • Stephen King has a great grip on his setting. I was stunned by just how well he knew the town of Derry. It is my understanding that a great many of his books are set there and so at this point, I imagine he had become quite comfortable with this particular setting. But the intricate and well thought out descriptions found throughout the book meant that I could see Kansas Street, the Barrens, even the dripping sewers where It's lair was found.
  • His characterisation too, is marvelous. King tells the story of Derry using a variety of different viewpoints, travelling back and forth between the pasts of the seven individuals and their present day lives. Every single character he wrote (and there were a lot) was both memorable and believable, and this was vital in order to keep track of the story. It jumped around a lot, but this presented absolutely no problem for me.
What I Disliked:
  • The pace of this book is excruciatingly slow at times. The novel is long. And I mean long. For some, this might not be a bad thing, but for me I found in certain areas that I became a little (dare I say it) bored. Whenever the children encountered It, the pace would pick up and I would become engrossed in the action. But the huge amounts of back-story and detail that King used just made things a little too drawn out for me most of the time. I found that as the end approached and King built up to the climax of the story, the situation improved and I wish that the rest of the book had been a bit more like that.
  • I wasn't scared enough. I'll probably be shot for this bombshell, but honestly, I really expected much more. The concept of a monster that can disguise itself as your worst nightmares and feeds on your fears is a terrifying one, but I found that each encounter barely chilled me. Perhaps it was because these fears were normally so specific that I couldn't relate to them myself. Perhaps it was because It had a sense of humour and would often inject these frightening visions with a bit of comedy (It's most common form was a clown, this to me says a lot). Most of the time, the images were vivid and horrific but I never felt truly frightened, which I was expecting from my first Stephen King read. In fact, I felt more fearful for the lives of the children when they were being chased by the town bully than when they met the monster.
Overall Conclusion:
Overall though, despite its slow pace (a common trait of Stephen King's stories, so I hear) and the lack of 'scare factor' I did still enjoy it as a story. I don't think the problem is the book, or the author. Stephen King is no doubt a master at his art. I think it is that I haven't found the right Stephen King book to scare me. It was still good enough that I would happily pick up another of his books and try again, because I did see a lot of potential in this one and if I found the right 'monster' as it were, I think I could be truly frightened.