On Reading… Revival by Stephen King


On Reading… is a feature I created to accompany my book reviews. So often reading is much more of an experience than is appropriate to be captured within a book review. That’s where this post comes in… All those snippets/spoilers/a-ha moments, all the anticipation of looking forward to a good read, and guessing at what lies in store, that’s what you will find in my On Reading… posts. It’s an observational/conversational/discussion type feature, so THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD. Please proceed with caution!

Again – what you read beyond this point you may consider spoiler-ish.  You can also read my Revival Review (little or no spoilers).

Before I started…

It was months before this book was published that I first heard about it. I was really excited straight away, as in recent times I’ve become a massive Stephen King fan. At that time little information was available, other than a very basic plot outline (I don’t think the cover image had even been displayed anywhere) but it was a book I would look out for.
As the release date approached more information started appearing, and a few reviews, which claimed that King had returned to Horror, and that was when I became even more interested, for from what I’d read up until that point it hadn’t seemed like Revival would be a horror story.
I eagerly followed Twitter updates about the midnight release at Waterstones Piccadilly, and watched more reviews start to appear, all saying that the book is a great horror story. More details about the story began to appear, and so, this is what I’m guessing…

Something along the lines of Frankenstein with maybe a similar thread to The Prestige (LOVED the film version), maybe some kind of monstrous result of electrical experiments, or some undesirable side-effect, the price to be paid for messing around with things beyond understanding.

Whilst reading…

I love the way that King links his books because it makes you curious about his other works and encourages you to seek them out and read them.

The best example of what I mean – I was reading 11/22/63 when some of the kids from IT made a guest appearance. They seemed instantly familiar, and that got me thinking about whether I’d ever read IT. I assumed I must have, but it must have been years ago because I couldn’t recall a great deal about it. I took to those characters so much that straight after I’d finished 11/22/63, I bought and read IT, which was absolutely brilliant, I loved it. The only real reason I picked it up though was through linking two book-worlds together.

The first example of this in Revival was very subtle, just a name in fact, Robichaud, which I thought I’d heard before, so of course I go online and find out more – Under The Dome is probably where I’ve read that name before.

And what fan sees 19 and doesn’t instantly think of The Dark Tower (which I also highly recommend). And the Gunslingers as a band name? Definitely Dark Tower. I only finished reading that series last year, but do you think it’s too soon for a re-read?

It’s early on in the novel but already I love both Jamie and Charlie, and could dwell here in these happy days with them for much longer, for I have a feeling that very dark things lie ahead. The scene setting and character building is so good that I could definitely read more of this comfortable, everyday life.

21% – So, that was the Terrible Sermon. I really feel for Charlie Jacobs at this point; he’s a decent enough sort of guy dealt a terrible blow which has rocked his world and led him to question everything he believed in.

33% – Portraits in Lightning – I was wondering how Charles and Jamie would end up crossing paths again, and I really like the fairground atmosphere created here. It’s cleverly done, because what Charles is doing is apparently an innocent crowd-pleasing entertainment which stands up to scrutiny, but his evasiveness and the way he won’t answer particular questions makes me believe there’s something more sinister going on. Can’t wait to see what happens next.

41% – Something… happened… and the hints of a darker side to Charlie Jacobs’s actions are starting to reveal themselves. At the moment I still have no idea what’s going to happen. I keep wondering whether it revolves around Charlie’s loss earlier on in the book. He’s definitely hiding something, and the after-effects of his actions are taking a nasty turn.

The cross-over thing again!! Charlie Jacobs was at Joyland. Now I think I should probably make time to read Joyland, because I’m loving the fairground atmosphere created in Revival.

59% – Things are getting creepy!! The Rev is a really sinister character, even though he’s apparently doing good things for people. (When I first heard him referred to as The Rev it immediately called to mind the character from the TV series Haven, which I absolutely love). The idea of this man who lost his faith now preaching, possibly to hide his real intentions, shows how he’s changing.

When I’m having a break from reading I keep going online to read reviews/comments about the book. I don’t know why I do this – it’s only a matter of time before I come across spoilers, although so far they’ve all been hidden behind cuts. Part of me wants to click them and find out what lies ahead, but another part doesn’t want to know before time…

68% – This is the point that Jamie really needs to turn and run and never look back, because there’s definitely something not right with Charles Jacobs. I do love the way King creates his characters, because this man is a million miles away from Charlie, who helped a young boy build caves into a dirt mound. I would have loved more from his PoV, filling in how he became so changed.

72% – Am thinking of slowing down my reading pace, because the end is approaching all too quickly and I’m loving the happier times for Jamie and his family. I’m torn between wanting to know what lies ahead and wanting to stay in peace at this family get-together.

80% – After Jacobs latest show of power I think I am finally starting to understand what his end goal is going to be. The book is becoming really creepy now, and I couldn’t help but picture that resort as something akin to the Overlook Hotel. Imagine Charles Jacobs and Jack Torrance coming face to face in that place. I’m sure chaos would ensue.
I love the build up, and the tension, and the hints of something evil.

84% – “God help me, I wanted to watch him lift the lid on Pandora’s Box and peer inside.” You’re not the only one, Jamie! For better or worse…

92% – Something tells me this isn’t going to be a nice, light bit of bedtime reading, I think I’ll carry on tomorrow, because I actually need to get some restful sleep tonight!


Oh my… That was bleak. Thrilling, scary, edge of the seat type reading.

Also, it was very cleverly done. There’s a quote about everything being like a wheel, and it’s an idea that features in The Dark Tower too, but you don’t realise how true this is until afterwards and think ‘ha, foreshadowing’…
You start with a boy, a mound of dirt, and toy soldiers being directed by the boy, and you end with… Well, you’ll know soon enough when you read the book. Cleverly done, linking to the wheel idea, back where you began.

I wanted Jamie to walk away, even as the tension became almost unbearable and the whole horrible truth came out. Even as the final events began to happen, I still willed him out of that cabin door and back to a normal life, to be okay and to have some hope for the future. The poor guy was left with so little, even his grand niece was scared of him by the end, which was very sad, as was the spree that followed the final incident.
All those people who suffered as a result of Jacobs obsession – it was so grim, and offered very little hope.

Revival is definitely a book that leaves you with a lasting final image, and I really enjoyed the read.


5 thoughts on “On Reading… Revival by Stephen King

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