Sometimes the fey mood strikes, and I need a dark and potentially terrifying story to chill me to my bones... for fun. Well, despite having numerous books out from the library that are dying to be read, I knew that I needed a King book to read. I had heard "Revival" touted as "classic King" and "absolutely bone-chilling". So, I figured... why not?
Let me give you a brief synopsis without give things away.
This is the story of Jamie Morton and a person, Charlie Jacobs, who occasionally makes an appearance in Jamie's life. More than appearance, he makes a dramatic impact each time. Jacobs is fascinated with a sort of "secret electricity" and he attempts to harness it. But something happened...
I read the book in two days. The first 90% of it was backstory, and I love backstory. I love a good frame story, and I think this fits the bill. The dates that you hear about are confusing at first. It's hard to follow when things are actually happening.
There is a lot of rock 'n' roll story here, and it's not really my favorite topic, but it wasn't terrible. Once the strings all start coming together to form the cord, it gets more intriguing, but you have to wade through an awful lot of backstory to get there. I can imagine that if you aren't a fan of backstory, that this would be a hard book to get through.
So, my review of the first 90% of the book is that it is a story. It's not terrifying, it's not terribly scary. It's the story of this guy's life and some weird stuff happens.
The last 10% is where the "scary" happens. Except, I didn't find it scary. Maybe I should have. I don't know. In the list of things that I find scary, the topic of this portion of the book is on the top of the list. But it wasn't terribly scary. It wasn't bone-chilling, and it didn't give me nightmares. In fact, I felt that I had read it all before.
After mulling it all over, I decided that this book is like Shelley's Frankenstein meets HP Lovecraft. It has the Lovecraft feel to it and many elements from Frankenstein, right down to the frame story. You know, it just seemed unoriginal.
So, after much thought, I have decided that this book is nowhere near what I was hoping for or expecting. I was disappointed. Maybe it's just hard to scare me. Read it for yourself and let me know if it's just me.
A brief aside: In the acknowledgements for inspiration at the beginning of the book King writes that he was inspired by Arthur Machen and his story "The Great God Pan". King claimed that the story haunts him. So, I thought, "What sorts of things haunt Stephen King?!" So I read "The Great God Pan", which is not a long story. Turns out, Revival is a revival of Machen's story. The characters and time period are different, but it might as well be the same story. Le sigh.