Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Review of REVIVAL by Stephen King

Jamie Morton was a young boy when he first met Charles Jacobs, the eager preacher who had a strange interest in electricity. Jamie remembers the day Jacobs' wife and young child were killed in a tragic car accident and the sermon Jacobs preached shortly after that revealed his doubts about the God he's been serving. But Jacobs left town after that day, and Jamie never expects to see him again. Years later, Jamie is a drug addict and at the end of his rope when he encounters Jacobs as a magician who uses electricity to make moving photos of people. The trick is strange, but Jamie is grateful when Jacobs performs an experiment on his brain with electricity that completely shuts off his hunger for drugs. They part ways yet again, and Jamie makes something of himself. But their paths seem to be intertwined, and what Jamie sees of Jacobs is becoming more and more disturbing. He's using some sort of secret electricity to perform miracles, but Jamie suspects he's doing more harm than good.

In an epic novel that spans decades, Stephen King delivers a story that follows that obsession one man will do anything for and the tragic consequences that could result. Revival sounded like one of the most interesting Stephen King premises I've ever heard, so I was excited to dive into it. And I have to say that few novels have kept me turning pages and up into the night like this story did. Jamie's journey is interesting from his time as a boy to decades later when he encounters the man who will at once be his ally and then his nemesis.

Charles Jacobs is a twisted character. The tragedy that befalls him is unfortunate, but the path he takes after is what makes this novel intriguing. Through Jamie, we watch Jacobs from a distance, always wondering, "What exactly is this guy up to?"

There are times when the narrative feels slow. It's a bit of an introspective novel. But for the most part, I found the novel compelling.

All that to say that I was quite disappointed with the end of the book. It just wasn't satsifying for the journey I felt like I'd taken with the characters. However, some people may like it, so I would say go ahead and read the novel. Up until the end, it's really good. I do wish it would've ended differently, but who am I to fault King for wanting to end the story how he wanted. Otherwise, exceptional story that will keep you interested.

Review copy provided by Scribner

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