New Release Review: Revival by Stephen King

Revival by Stephen KingRevival 
Genre: Horror
Publication Date: November 11, 2014
Publisher: Scribner Publishing

Synopsis from Goodreads:

A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs — including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties — addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate — Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Wendy’s Review: 4 Skulls – B

I have 9 Stephen King books under my belt now, but I still generally consider myself a newbie.  What I can say is that I think I’ve read a pretty decent mix of old books and his newer books.  I can also say that I have the benefit of having read that mix all in the last 4 years or so.  I hear a lot of fans saying that they prefer his old stuff and that they haven’t liked many of his new books.  I wonder, is that because they’ve changed since they read those old books for the first time and it’s not because King’s writing has changed much?  I can sincerely say that of those 9 King books I’ve read my most favorite were IT, which was written in 1986, and Joyland, written in 2013.  I feel like that is a good example of where I stand, in my admittedly limited experience.

With that said, Revival was good.  I absolutely loved 90% of this book.  I think, with the exception of Joyland, this was the fastest I ever completed a Stephen King book.  I definitely didn’t have any problems staying invested in this story.  I loved the characters, and I loved the plot.  I think that King took on a topic that I personally love to discuss and he wasn’t afraid to go to a controversial place and I think that is partly what the readers have found so terrifying.  I won’t go into it, but it was definitely intriguing and scary.  And while I’m at it I want to just say that I really cared about Charles Jacobs.  I had a really hard time with the story because mostly I was just so sad for him.  And I think that how his congregation reacts was a good representation of a good majority of human minds.  I was really sad.

I had a revelation.  Religion is the theological equivalent of a quick-buck insurance scam, where you pay in your premium year after year, and then, when you need the benefits you paid for so — pardon the pun — so religiously, you discover the company that took your money does not, in fact, exist. -Charles Jacobs, Terrible Sermon

The last thing I want to say before I end this review is that the  reason that Revival is only a 4 star review is only because, for me personally, King tends to go one step too far in some of his books.  I can’t say too much without giving something important away, but I was all in and excited about where the book was going and then I got to a specific spot and I just went ‘huh?’ with a quizzical expression on my face.  That would be the 10% that I’m not sure I was too fond of.

So, if you’re a fan of Stephen King and you enjoy a controversial plot there’s a good chance that you’ll like Revival.  I haven’t read a non-biased review yet that was under 4 stars.

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠ 

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