The Stand by Stephen King is hailed by many to be one of the author’s most finest work. Of course, when you write as many novels as Mr. King did in his career, you’re going to get many arguments about which one is the best and so forth. Nonetheless, in many of the top ten list I’ve seen and read on the web where this author is concerned, those lists usually reserved a place for this book. Many reviews have also been very positive. The story pretense is very enticing and I’ve put this book in my to-read list for quite some time ago but haven’t gotten around to it. One of the reason is due to the book’s sheer length. When I have a novel that has more pages than most of my technical reference guides, well, you know you’re going to have to be committed. I got the uncut version from a friend and decided to pounce on it at once. Bad idea. This book just didn’t do it for me. As always, I’ve tried my hardest to like it but in the end decided I just couldn’t continue any longer and so sadly, The Stand will go into my “Unfinished” category.
WARNING: I’ve only managed to complete around 30% of the book before giving up. Continuing on would have been a hazard to my own health and sanity.
Before starting, I want to say that I have read one of Stephen King’s prior super long novel, Under the Dome, and I absolutely loved it. Therefore, I just wanted to prove that I am not simply hating the book because of its length nor King’s writing style. I actually came in reading The Stand to expect the same thing as Under the Dome but obviously with just a different story. While The Stand was written and completed a whole lot earlier than Under the Dome and therefore the author had a whole lot of time to improve, the good reviews is what ultimately got me to commit to this book. This once again proves that just because a lot of people like something doesn’t necessarily mean that you will too!
Again, I have no problem with the length of the book. With this so-called “complete and uncut” version, Stephen King got the chance to add even more pages than what was originally printed. Since I didn’t read the first one, I’ll not know what additions he added and so I won’t go into whether he should have done that or not. The problem I have with the book up to the point I’ve stopped is, to put it in very bland terms, being boring. Yes I know, that’s not very descriptive. The biggest sin the book committed is not drawing me in to the dozens of characters being introduced. They just weren’t interesting enough! With so much characters, its a must that the author must build an individual story for each one. It’s just that they weren’t very exciting and it doesn’t help that everything just seems to go on and on and on with some of the character development. One character I did felt a little attachment too was Nick, the deaf and mute kid. Larry Underwood’s story was pretty neat as well.
The story about a superflu outbreak and how it destroys a huge population is interesting, you can’t deny that. However, it takes a long time for the author to get things rolling. By my calculations, things don’t heat up until about 20% in. Some of you are saying, that’s it? Well, please remember that this is a huge book and so 20% of 1000+ pages is still a whole lot. By that time though, I still felt that the book was a drag to read and I had trouble focusing after 10 more percent into it. Whenever that happens to me while reading, that’s a clear sign that I should move on. While Under the Dome was also a heavy novel with many rambling parts that consists of character development, I actually wanted to know more about those characters than here in The Stand. Ultimately, I’ve read that there were suppose to be two sides/factions fighting it out for supremacy after the outbreak to control the earth or something but I have also read that many users were ultimately unsatisfied with the ending.
There is no way I’ll be recommending this novel to any of my friends. Instead, I will urge them and everyone else who didn’t like The Stand to read Under the Dome instead. You obviously still might not like it but in my honest opinion, it was a whole lot better than this. The Stand is a story I’d rather watch on the big screen than read.