‘First come the days of the plague. Then come the dreams.’
Imagine America devastated by a vast killer plague that moves from coast to coast. Imagine the countryside destroyed and great cities decimated as the entire population desperately and futilely seeks safety. Imagine then an even greater evil rising to threaten the survivors—and a last embattled group of men and women coming together to make a last stand against it.
Where to begin, what to write, how to convey all that this novel is – The Stand is truly a masterpiece, and like all masterpieces it should be experienced in full, so I urge you to read the complete and uncut edition. There was no strand to this story that was lacking; yes, I loved some strands more than others, but this book is interesting all the way through!
For a book of 1000+ pages, it’s brilliant that the majority of blurbs you’ll find describing it are short. I suspect it’s because no blurb could encompass all that this novel is. How do you explain how cleverly King described the spread of the ‘superflu’; how he connected each survivor’s story; how he built two believable camps (good and evil); how he pit them against each other; made you love certain characters and loathe others; how he made you fear the dreams, for the dreams mean the dark man is coming!
As I’ve come to expect with King, the over-descriptive detail was present throughout this novel, combined with the brilliant illustrations in the edition I read, this novel came alive, the visuals, I believed it, I lived it! I really like the way King chose to describe certain things, so simple, but you were easily able to visualise it:
“Then he went out and got standing-up falling-down drunk.”
Also, in true King style, he introduces far too many characters into this novel, but it works, because you always remember those you’re supposed to. You come to know who the major players are, on the side of good, and on the side of evil. So many great characters, so well developed, you could have conversations for days about the characters, how your opinion of them changes over the course of events, those who remain favourites all the way through, and those that are evil, but so fantastic in creating an enemy for you to hate. You’ll find some of the most memorable character in this novel. The only thing I don’t understand is why in almost every King book I’ve read, King has to kill off my favourite characters – King, we’re going to have to talk about this! But I must say, there were some spectacular deaths in this novel, like damn, if you’re going to die, that’s the statement way to go!
There were also some real tender moments in this novel, moments of love and loyalty. I haven’t gone into too much detail explaining the events that occur because prior to reading this novel I knew very little, except that this was one of King’s greatest works, and that it is a must read for anyone who enjoys post-apocalyptic novels. Now, having read The Stand, I can tell you, this is my favourite King novel to date, and, indeed, a must read for fans of post-apocalyptic novels, especially if you love horror novels. Although, to be more accurate, you don’t read The Stand, you experience it, and it is an experience everyone should encounter.
“The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there . . . and still on your feet.”