Book Review: 11/22/63 by Stephen King

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by g5000, Feb 22, 2012.

  1. g5000
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    g5000 Diamond Member

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    It has been a long time since I read a Stephen King novel. I was a fan from the very beginning and used to gobble up all of his works, including the stories he wrote under the Bachmann pseudonym.

    The Stand was, and remains, my favorite King novel of all time. I have read the original and then the re-released long version each several times. If you have not read it, do so.

    If you have only seen Stephen King movies, then you don't really know Stephen King's stories. The movies, as in most cases, don't even come close to doing justice to his written words.

    But then, back around It, the time between each of his novels began to get shorter and shorter. And it showed in the quality. His stories got gorier and sloppier, and I became disillusioned and disappointed that King had succumbed to the insatiable demand of his readers.

    So he lost me for a while. For about 20 years.

    Yeah. I am very brand loyal, but I am equally unforgiving when a brand lets me down. I have also not set foot on a Ford car lot since the 80s after I bought a Tempo (don't ask).

    But I heard vibrations here and there about this latest King thing. Something about traveling back in time to prevent JFK's assassination.

    We have all fantasized about what would happen if we traveled back in time and killed Hitler or stopped some other world altering event, have we not?

    So I asked for, and received, King's novel for Christmas. This way, if it sucked, at least I wasn't the one who paid for it. :lol:

    How is it?

    To be completely honest...King is back!

    This is a ripping good story. And it is in the old King style. Yes, it is a huge tome, which has put off more than one potential reader just like The Stand has. But it reads very quickly and goes down smoothly (just like The Stand).

    A man travels back in time to kill Oswald. There are certain terms and conditions which prevent this from being an easy task. His time traveling deeds can be undone (reset), but at a personal time consuming cost. So each move he makes must be carefully thought out.

    And all of the conspiracy theories have to be considered, no matter how much one believes they are nonsense. Nothing can be left to chance. One must be absolutely certain Oswald is acting alone before one can be certain that killing him irrefutably stops the assassination.

    The time traveler is an ordinary English teacher. History is not his strong suit. But he takes special care in his mission. He even performs an engrossing experiment before commencing the main event.

    A wonderfully told story. I highly recommend it.

    I do have one criticism of the book, but I have to kind of give away a very significant element of the ending to explain. Do not read the spoiler if you don't want to foreshadow the ending for yourself:

    SPOILER (click and drag over white text below to read it):
    Now with all that taken into consideration I want to give one caveat. But it is important that you not let it stop you from reading this fantastic book.

    The end result of the traveler's efforts...kind of sucks. For those who have read the book, I am not talking about the personal cost to the traveler. I am talking about the effect his efforts have on the world.

    It has a kind of deus ex machina feel to it. It kind of cheats, is what I mean.

    One gets the feeling King was probably not too happy with it, either.

    But still a great book. Read it!
     
  2. iamwhatiseem
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    iamwhatiseem Gold Member

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    You convinced me.
    If I was to write a critique of Stephen Kings works - I would have basically wrote what you did word for word.
    He also lost me years ago...I switched to Koontz...but then his stuff has also waned.

    I'll read it after I finish "Seed" by Ania Ahlborn.
    Thanks
     

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