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Low-Voltage Horror: Revival by Stephen King

cover imageI’ve been on a Stephen King kick over the past several years, after getting hooked by the audiobook edition of Lisey’s Story (narrated by Mare Winningham) which, like Revival – his latest – was more a dark fantasy that seemed to tap a very personal vein of emotion related to love, marriage, and the wellspring of creativity, than a straight-up horror story. I have a feeling I should have listened to Revival instead of reading it in print, as I found it a bit of a slog until the last 100 pages.

So, Revival is one of those “quiet horror” books that could fall into the category of science fiction or dark fantasy. The author unwinds a slow tale of a fervent evangelist preacher turned mad scientist, but Charles – the man whose hobby of electricity grows into an all-consuming passion – isn’t the main character. The first-person narrator, Jamie, is the main character, which limits the story to what he experiences or finds out. The story starts when Jamie is just a small boy in a large family and the preacher and his family move in next door, and it goes well into his middle-aged years.

Revival is pretty creepy, but in a slow-paced, ambiguous way, with the jolts few and far between as the narrator’s special connection with the preacher ebbs and flows. As a reader, you might not always be sure if the narrator is understanding events correctly or is just having a sad life – a highly creative person (a musician) who spirals down into addiction.

When I got to the ending of Revival, however, the book was redeemed in my mind – instead of making me want to have back all the hours I spent reading, as happened when I finished Under the Dome. (Another of the few Stephen King novels I read in print instead of listening to. Hmmmm.) From now on I’m sticking to the audio editions. (I still have It to listen to, one of these days!)

The audio edition of Revival is narrated by David Morse. Listen to a passage from the beginning of the story on the Simon and Schuster page.

King, Stephen
Simon & Schuster, Nov. 2014
416 pp.

Disclosure: No free copy! I borrowed it from the public library.

Other opinions on Revival:
Book Chatter
Jenn’s Bookshelves


2 thoughts on “Low-Voltage Horror: Revival by Stephen King”

  1. Yep, definitely a slow burn type of read. I expected the story to be true horror, only because that is how King described it but I think to him, remembering his addictions from the past is probably pretty horrific. Just not to me.

    You haven’t listened to IT on audio yet? Man, are you in for a treat.

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