I gave up on Stephen King a long time ago but was returned to his magic with the Dark Tower series. This was unique from his other work and it was a compelling and gripping series of novels. The reasons I turned away from his other work was because I kept seeing the same plot devices appear again and again, dreams that were real, religious symbolism, apocalyptic endings, etc.
So it was only once I’d completed the Dark Tower series and read a few other novels that I thought I’d return to some of the King books that hadn’t been read and had been referenced through the Dark Tower. I started with Desperation.
The opening of the book just grabs you straight away. King has captured a huge fear of modern society and turned it on us in the opening chapters. I shan’t tell you exactly what it is, rather that you should experience it for yourself, it is expertly written and immediately locks into your fear.
I would go so far as to say the book is excellent until one point starts to turn it around, the scene where Steve and Cynthia come upon some of the causes of the strange occurrences and they feel the power begin to affect them. It just seemed so out of the context of the book, and I was happy that it hadn’t leapt too far away from reality and when it did it kept a firm footing in our reality, but this just tipped it too far.
However, it did get back on course and that strange moment was quickly forgotten. Then the group begin to bond in the style of IT, or The Stand, and this is where I felt the familiar circumstances and recognised the King branding. Up comes the religiousness, the controlling by the good vs bad, and even the apocalyptic ending was there, almost as I recognised it from The Stand.
In my opinion, the book is really good apart from these two bits, and unfortunately one of the failings had to be his reliance on old territory and it happened to be the ending. It was very weak and just raced to tidy things up for the characters in a very clumsy fashion.