The Shining is the second book by Stephen King I’ve read, the first being IT, which gave quite a lot to live up to. I quickly realized that IT was a beast of its own, and not to judge the Shining too closely to IT. The Shining gives me the vibes of a cozy horror, something to curl up with in front of a fire, in a warm blanket, reading wide eyed as your home melts away and you find yourself standing in front of the Overlook hotel. As always, Stephen King is a master of description, sometimes in eye-rolling ways but often in profound, wonderful ways. When I started this novel, I turned to my best friend and said, “Do you know that feeling when you’ve been reading subpar novels for awhile, and then you open a book by a master and it just feels like you’re sinking into the professional quality?” That was how this felt. I’ve reviewed a number of less than great books lately, and I knew that if I read The Shining, it would live up to Mr. King’s standard. I knew very early on that I was in for a good read- and I wasn’t disappointed.
That said, it had enough flaws to bump down its score. Let me start with those. This novel is a descent into madness, and I realize that it has to be written a certain way to portray that. Yet… There were many points in this book where the way the characters acted was confusing and out of place. Mostly outbursts that didn’t make sense to me as a reader, despite Jack’s temper. The personalities of the characters, however, read clearly and with a ton of charm- which is why I struggled a lot, particularly with earlier scenes, with them having sudden moments out of character beyond belief. I also need to note Stephen King’s usual anti-charm of using sexual description as an element of horror, something that was memorable, but often unnecessary. I found that pieces of the story felt a little bit muddled, or maybe just too obscure for my tastes. At times, it felt like something more was missing, and just didn’t quite touch a 5 star review for me, as IT had. However, this book was a more than average read for me- enjoyable to the end, fast paced enough for my standards. I loved the personalities of Dick Halloran and Jack Torrance, the friendship between Dick and Danny, the way King showcased that Danny loved his dad dearly, the brief hints of jealousy from his mother. I loved the little details of the family dynamics, and the history of the Overlook hotel. This book is well worth reading- and I would say that even people who don’t typically read horror might end up enjoying this. It actually didn’t give me a strong horror vibe. Is cozy horror a thing?
And as a final note: The movie did this book dirty. Watch the movie first, or as a totally separate entity- do not connect it to this book, you will end up disappointed in the movie like I did. It’s truly not in line with the tone of the book.