The King journey continues, this month with Duma Key.
When Edgar Freemantle moves to the remote island of Duma Key to escape his past, he doesn’t expect to find much there.
But Duma has been waiting for him, and something in the view from his window urges him to discover a talent he never knew he had.
Edgar Freemantle begins to paint. And as he paints, the island’s secrets begin to stir. Secrets of children lost in the undertow, of a ghost ship riding the distant horizon – and a family’s buried past reaching long hands into the present.
No matter my views on any King book, something that is constant across all his books, and why I will read each and every single one, is because of how well he writes, he never fails to paint a picture with his words. While reading Duma Key, I was all consumed, I’ve never been to Florida, never seen a picture of Duma Key, never even knew if it was a real place, but having read this novel, I can give you a tour of the island, and point out the bits to avoid, because this is a horror novel, and no one needs to die while on an island tour! Duma Key isn’t only a horror novel, it’s a tale of loss and grief, love and overcoming.
As for the characters in this novel, they were a raging success, the main protagonist, Edgar was a character to get behind and root for. When thinking of the best way to describe Edgar, the word haunted comes to mind, and that haunted feeling spreads throughout this entire novel, giving it this dark feeling of unease. Alongside Edgar, there were two other central characters, and they were expertly crafted too. King breathes life into these three characters and they evoked all the right emotions at the right time, you truly become invested in their wellbeing, but also come to love the relationship between the characters.
What’s great about King’s novels is how hard it is to figure anything out. While you can guess a vague direction the plot may take, you can never underestimate King’s ability to throw a curveball. Duma Key is truly an exceptional novel… until the last fifth of it, and I’m not entirely sure why. I don’t know but my attention just fell off, the suspense and gripping nature of the ‘build-up’ was fantastic, but the ending just fell by the way side. I read somewhere that King is an exceptional storyteller, but he struggles to end a book to satisfaction. While I disagree with that statement, there is always an exception to the rule, and Duma Key is the exception. I may be in the minority with this opinion, but I read all 1000 pages of The Stand, and would happily read another 1000 pages of it, yet here, I felt this novel could do with being shorter than its 800 pages, the ending just felt too dragged out for the level of action and excitement that occurred.
Duma Key has left me conflicted because it was on par to become one of my favourite King novels, until the last 100 pages. Which leaves me in a pickle on whether or not to recommend this one to others, so I’ll conclude this review by stating would I read this novel again: maybe, I read it over the course of three weeks and that may be the reason the ending didn’t live up to par, maybe I dragged it out, rather than the ending being dragged out. So while this wouldn’t be my first choice King recommendation, I’m so glad I read it, it was a great experience overall, I fell in love with some of the characters, was haunted by some of the events that occurred, and I still remain in awe of King’s imagination.