I read the first chapter and texted my brother:
"Didn't they make a movie out of this book with one of the Buseys as the cop?"
He then proceeded to correct me. The cop was played by Ron Perlman. Either way, creepy.
So, I read the book, but before I get to my review I'm going to tell you about how I read this book. I normally read on my kindle, but it was missing and would later be found under the seat of the truck. I bought a paperback copy of it. It reminded me why I love physical books. I had an appointment, and I brought my book to read while I waited until I was called in. The ladies behind the desk saw the book and started a conversation about Stephen King and which books we liked etc. The point of this story is that when you are reading a kindle, people can't see the title of the book your reading. They're less likely to stop and talk to you about your book when they don't know what you're reading. I miss random stranger conversations about books because they can clearly see what book you're reading. Although, with books like 50 Shades of Grey wandering around, maybe it's best that it's an ebook.
Anyway, these are my thoughts about "Desperation":
I'm not even going to attempt to sum this book up for you. It's complicated. I'll just jump straight into my review.
We'll start with the overall theme. Stephen King likes to play around with the idea of "good vs. evil". It's not as simple as that, but it's a recurring theme in a lot of his books. There is one power that has a significant "good" figure and one power that has a significant "evil" figure. God vs the devil, light vs darkness, angels vs demons, Mother Abigail vs Randall Flagg. However you choose to look at it, it's a common theme. This is not about religion. Sometimes I really like where he goes with it, but sometimes I am just kinda confused how he came up with those ideas. In "Desperation", there is a young boy who prays. It's prayer like we don't normally see. It's pure, it's without distraction, and it is without hindrance. I love it. The evil force in the book is not the devil. It is an ancient god, and can control vultures, coyotes, snakes, scorpions, spiders etc. The characters in the story have to overcome their own demons as well as the demons that come spewing out of a recently reopened mining pit. The title of the book brings about an interesting statement. When asked what the opposite of faith is, one of the characters responds, "Desperation." This I'm sure has brought about many debates and controversy. Why is this so controversial? Because of religion. Stephen King says nothing about religion in this book, but people assume that's what he's talking about. This is a debate for a different day, but I think it needed to be mentioned.
Alrighty, these are my thoughts about the actual story:
One of my favorite things when I read a book is the characters and their development. I didn't love any of the characters in this book. I don't know that there is one particular character in "Desperation" that people are supposed to sympathise with. The development is unmistakable. The events in this book are so drastic that it is impossible to not have the characters develop. Sometimes the characters you think you know the best are the ones that end up surprising you. Tak! When you finally reach a point where the characters get to tell their stories, you still can't attach yourself to any of them because any or all of them could die by the end of this and everyone knows it.
The story itself was creepy. I've driven down highway 50 in Nevada. Encountering a cop like Entragian (though it wasn't really Entragian) is just not something I ever even want to think about. From the coyotes to the spiders and the cougar to the can tahs, this book creeped me out. This book knew just how to grab my brain and shake it up. I think it was because no one was immune. No one was invulnerable. I'm not saying that demons older than time hidden in the depths of the Earth are possible or that they're not. It's not like "The Stand" where some people are immune to the disease. Anyone can get this disease from Desperation.
Once again I am reminded of King's creativity with language. In this book, it was the language of the dead, used by the unformed. When you first hear it, you don't know what it is, but you know it's not right. The way I picture it in my head... just plain creepy. Never something I want to hear.
I read "Desperation" after reading "Gerald's Game". It was a good "next book". I was unimpressed with "Gerald's Game" and "Desperation" kinda reminded me of the things I love about Stephen King. I love how he can make things creepy, like the topiary garden in "The Shining". I love his use of language and his creativity with it as well. I can see why my brother recommended it to me. It's a strange thing to say, but I think this is one of King's darker stories. I'll expand on this more when I review "Needful Things".
Would I recommend this book to others?
Yes and no. If you don't mind being creeped out, yes. If you don't like being creeped out, no. I really enjoyed it.