Friday, May 16, 2014

The Long Walk by Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman)

4 Stars
There’s only two things you need to worry about when taking The Long Walk: picking them up and laying them down.

Outwalk the other 99 contestants in this most twisted of games and you’ll win the grand prize – whatever your heart desires for the rest of your life.

Why the hell did I not know about this book for the past billion years I’ve been alive? I’ve been a King fangirl since the discovery of fire and can’t see how this one slipped past my radar. (Sidenote to all the über booknerds who might be reading this and are thinking about ways to rebel: Keep going to school and making the honor roll – just add a little Stephen King to your life and watch your mother freak out that you are really “acting out” all of a sudden. It makes for some fun times and you’ll discover an author that will entertain you for the next 20+ years.) However I managed to miss it, it happened and I now owe a huge THANK YOU to all of my Goodreads buddies for reading this en masse, making it pop on my feed and impossible for me to ignore.

This is the King I love the best. I’m not such a superfan when I look back on a lot of his late 70s/early 80s stuff – it seems a little campy, a little too heavy on the horror and a little too light on the storyline. But this????? This is what was lurking inside –a foreshadowing of what was to come with character driven stories where gore takes a backburner to psychological terror.

You might be asking why you should read this book? Hasn’t the whole battle to the death thing been done a time or twelve before?

Hasn’t it even been taken to not-so-PG13 levels a few times?

Hasn’t Stephen King even done this already????

The answer is yes, but King does it so well and on such a different level in The Long Walk than any of the others that it simply should not be passed by. Stephen King might be the only author who can write a nearly 400 page story with no reference to what year it takes place and absolutely zero “world building”. All he had to build was a road and send 99 kids out walking on it and he created a book that I could not put down until the last page was turned.

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