Friday, August 12, 2011

Book Review: Full Dark, No Stars

While I was camping last week I had a chance to read up on Stephen’s King Full Dark No Stars, which is a collection of four novellas (five if you’ve got the special edition, which unfortunately I do not). I’ll review each one separately.


Probably the biggest story out of the four, a farmer named Wilfred decides to murder his wife, his wants to sell the land to his competition. This story takes place in a time when women have little rights, but Wilfred and his son have to deal with the consequences in often surprising ways.

I enjoyed this novella the most out of the four due to the creepy atmosphere and the surprising character twists. My only complaint is that the story ended a little too abruptly for my liking, giving a not-quite satisfying ending.


Big Driver:

Oh-boy, the main character is a writer. But before I turn on the usual ‘Stephen King ego’ warning, it is thankfully relevant to the story. On the way back from a conference mystery author Tess takes a bad shortcut home and is raped and left for dead. Rather than go to the police, she decides to take a vigilante approach and unravels a bigger mystery after she discovers that multiple people are involved.

It was harder for me to get emotionally involved in this story when compared to 1922. I’m not squeamish about rape stories, but there was a disconnection for me in this story with the main character-who, to be honest, I found a little boring. Often I found myself skimming the pages to get to the action. There are good parts in this novella, but I couldn’t stay that hooked.


Fair Extension:

I really, really wanted to like this story. The first half is actually really good-Dave, a man with terminal cancer meets up with a merchant who offers him a life extension. In return, someone Dave hates (Tom) has to receive a curse. Both characters are pretty interesting during the exchange.

Unfortunately, what follows is a narrative account of how both Dave and Tom’s lives play through over the next year, with Dave getting progressively better and Tom becoming progressively worse. There’s no particular reaction from Dave towards Tom’s misfortune, even when his children are afflicted in horrifying ways. Dave doesn’t make any effort to confess, atone, or do anything to fix this scenario. Eventually the narration ends, and nothing really happens. Disappointing.


A Good Marriage:

Darcy has always been a good wife of twenty years, until she uncovers a secret box in their family basement. She quickly learns that her husband Bob has been leading a horrible double life.

As before I preferred the first half to the second half, particularly with Darcy’s discover and Bob’s confession to her. Stephen King depicts a very real and terrifying scenario that could happen to anyone. While I do understand Darcy’s resolution in the end, I would have preferred to see things fleshed out a little more. Still, it’s a very entertaining read.


Overall? A great read with some bone-chilling stories.

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