Holly Review

Holly by Stephen King is a horror suspense novel that was likely written at the onset of the Covid years. It features Holly, one of the author’s more popular characters of his previous works. Admittedly, I have no clue who she is. I’ve read many of his previous works, but Stephen King also has published a lot of novels. With Holly, it centers around a bunch of university students and staff mysteriously disappearing. What seems to be a simple and regular task of Holly taking on a missing person’s case from a grieving mother slowly turns to something more sinister and one which no residents could believe. However, one found yourself reading this review, whether through Amazon, Goodreads or my blog, you can stop reading right here because this novel stinks. Period. No need to go further to waste your time unless you want to know why I feel this way. The rest of what I write below is simply a rant of the author and why Holly is really the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

How can Stephen King be this bad? Was he always this bad, and only through my years and years of reading many different types of novels from different authors and having matured enough have I picked out so many of his flaws? Or, is it that he has been slowly on a decline and that I am no longer a part of his core audience members? I want to believe it’s the latter, but I can’t be so sure now that I’m reflecting on this. One on hand, I remember putting a couple of his previous novels in my did-not-finish category, with The Stand being one of the more popular ones. On the other, I remember enjoying Under the Dome and the first couple of books in his Dark Tower series before finally realizing it was going nowhere and had to stop. Fairy Tale published in 2022 was a disaster of a read and was the last novel I couldn’t stomach to finish. Later and If it Bleeds were just average to below average. With Holly, if I hadn’t purchased the audiobook version with the ability to play the audio at 1.7x – 2x the speed once I figured how horrible it was, it would have also gone straight into my did-not-finish collection.

How can so much be written on the thoughts and going-on’s with the characters and not any of it is actually remotely exciting? Everything from Holly’s mommy issues cropping up every other short chapter to Brenda’s poetry writing arc to even the two villain’s constant reminder for their love of each other literally tested my patience like nothing I can remember. As with his previous works within the last couple of years, Stephen King felt the requirement to let all his readers know of his political preference and what he thinks of Covid in general. He may admit that those views are of the characters and not him necessarily, but that’s not how it will look for most. After reading the negative reviews from other reviewers, I see that a lot of them gave this as their number one reason for giving Holly such a bad rating. However, I couldn’t give one ounce of care for his political views as long as he writes a good novel with a good story and interesting characters because that’s what I paid my money for. Sadly, I didn’t get that with Holly. Regardless of what your political views are, be prepared to roll your eyes a lot because he/Holly’s going to remind you about it frequently.

Holly could have been edited with half the length of what it is now, and it would have made the novel a bit less frustrating to read. There is absolutely nothing that made me care about what happens to any of the characters, good or bad. I just wanted my suffering to end. I told myself that Fairy Tale would be the last novel I’m reading from Stephen King ever again. Yet, here I am finding myself having spent a full Audible credit on Holly because I told myself, once again, that he can’t be this bad. Oh, how naive I was! But truly, never, ever again. Holly is a reminder that the author’s best years, of whenever those years actually I have no idea, are behind him and that his novels are not meant for audience members such as myself. If his novels get turned into a motion picture, I’ll likely give it a shot, as I wouldn’t have to invest as much time as reading a 400+ page novel.

Goodbye, Stephen King. I’ve had some fun times reading a few of your previous works as a younger person, but times change, and it seems as if the likes of Fairy Tale and Holly is the direction you’ll be going with for your future novels, in which case I want to stay well clear of.


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