Book Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (The Shining #2)

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

Just the other day, I was saying that sequels are not normally as good as the first book, well, Doctor Sleep completely disproved that theory. It far exceeded The Shining, in my opinion, and has become one of my favourite King novels!


Following a childhood haunted by terrifying events at the Overlook Hotel, Danny Torrance has been drifting for decades.

Finally, he settles into a job at a nursing home where he draws on his remnant ‘shining’ power to help people pass on.

Then he meets Abra Stone, a young girl with the brightest ‘shining’ ever seen. But her gift is attracting a tribe of paranormals. They may look harmless, old and devoted to their Recreational Vehicles, but The True Knot live off the ‘steam’ that children like Abra produce.

Now Dan must confront his old demons as he battles for Abra’s soul and survival…


King has taken the best parts of The Shining, and carried them into Doctor Sleep. Not only did he keep the best bits, but he enhanced them. Danny’s ‘shining’ is brilliant, but Abra’s is next level, the extent of her abilities were so interesting to read about, simple and complex at the same time – simple in that you could easily read and understand it, but complex in that when you really think about it, it’s some next level shit. What was fantastic was this novel comes with a range of supernatural abilities, varying in strength and wonder; the paranormal aspects of this novel were amazing!

As a sequel, this far exceeds its predecessor, and that’s no small praise, because The Shining was very good! To enhance your enjoyment of this novel, you should read The Shining first, so, not only can you pick up on elements that have been carried over, but you understand the mention of previous events and past characters. There are some really clever things in this novel that you will miss out on if you don’t know the beginning of the story.

“Because that was then and this is now. Because the past is gone, even though it defines the present.”

Doctor Sleep joins Danny as a middle-aged man working in a hospice, and let me tell you, I adore Danny. His character was one you believe in with your whole heart, you can see that he is the boy you met in The Shining all grown up now; surviving his demons and ready to fight for Abra. And Abra is up against some tough adversaries, one being Rose ‘the hat’ O’Hara who has some telepathic abilities of her own. You witness some real battles of will power in this novel, psychological warfare. One thing King has mastered is his ability to create amazing antagonists, ones that, while you don’t like their characters, you appreciate what they do for the story.

Abra is a brilliant protagonist, and it was interesting to see how she coped/lived with her ‘shining’ compared to how a younger Danny did. The relationship between Abra and Danny was so well done, they were both such endearing characters; to see Danny guiding Abra as best he could just warmed my heart, because I remember the trauma Danny experienced in The Shining and how he struggled with his ‘shining’ initially. Seeing Abra come to embrace hers, and test the extent of her abilities made for great reading.

“The shining. It was a good name, a comforting name, because she had always thought of it as a dark thing.”

Doctor Sleep is an addictive read, with some great characters – everyone that made up The True Knot were interesting in their own right. The suspense was felt, the plot intensified when it needed to, but most importantly this novel has so much heart, you become emotionally attached to some of the characters and this guarantees you’re invested in the plot and fearful for their survival, because we all know King has no issue killing-off his characters, whether they are main characters or secondary ones!

I could talk about this book all day, I loved every aspect of it; without fail, it’s one of my favourite books of the year!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon UK / Book Depository

23 thoughts on “Book Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (The Shining #2)

  1. I I preferred The Shining myself but I read The Shining maybe 25 years ago when Stephen King was really my thing. Dr Sleep I only discovered when I joined Bookstagram and I think for me the gap was too big, my age too old… etc!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It might be the gap between reading them, as you know I reread The Shining before this one, so I was able to spot the connections which I think really enhanced my reading experience. I think it’s so interesting that we outgrown authors, even though it’s all adult fiction. Prior to this year, I’d only read one King book so this is like discovering a whole new world!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Not yet. After you mentioned it I also bought the illustrated version of Joyland. I could not resist due to the setting – an amusement park. I replied to your DM on twitter and decided to join the readalong. Is there a reading schedule set up yet?
        King will keep you busy for quite some time!!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I still haven’t finished it. I think I only managed the first 3 chapters because of my reading slump. I think I need to start it over at some point because I just wasn’t into it when I was trying to force myself to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful review! You really made me want to reread both The Shining and Doctor Sleep now since I seem to have forgotten about some of the details… I remember loving both though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome review! I read this a few years ago and i remember i enjoyed it a lot, but now it’s obvi i don’t really remember the plot at all. Or the characters apart from Danny 😂

    Liked by 1 person

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