Book Reviews

The Shining by Stephen King – Book Review

A book cover of The Shining by Stephen King

Warning – possible spoilers! (Tiny ones, though, and I’ll try to avoid even those; I swear I’ll give my best not to ruin it for you… :-))

The Shining by Stephen King – Book Details

TITLE – The Shining

AUTHOR – Stephen King

GENREhorror, paranormal, suspense



MY RATING – 3.5 of 5


Initial Thoughts

I’ve never read much horror, mostly because I was too scared I’d get all creeped out and have nightmares :-). But, scary stories definitely have their appeal, so this year I caved and decided to give them a shot.

I knew I wanted to try a Stephen King book this Halloween. I’ve never read anything by him before and – it was just time.

I picked The Shining because a few of my friends told me they couldn’t finish the movie because of how scared they were. That may seem like something that could repel a non-horror person. But once I decide to dive in into something – I’m all in.

So, on a cold, rainy October evening, I grabbed a cup of hot rosehip tea, a bunch of snacks and my favorite cozy blanket and ventured to an isolated hotel where some weird things were about to start happening…

What It Is About

Book quote from The Shining by Stephen King: “You know, schizoid behavior is a pretty common thing in children. It’s accepted, because all we adults have this unspoken agreement that children are lunatics.”

Jack Torrance has made a lot of mistakes in his life. But he’s also done a lot to try and fix things up. Now, he is offered a job as an off-season caretaker at the Overlook Hotel. A job he hopes will not only help with covering immediate expenses, but also give him a chance to finish a play he’s been long working on.

But, the atmospheric old hotel seems to have his own plans for Jack and his family. As the snow settles in and isolates the hotel from the rest of the world, you can’t quite tell how much of the weird is really going on and how much of it is just the protagonists’ imagination. Until you can.

Unfortunately, the only one who notices just how sinister things have become is Jack’s five year old son Danny…

The Shining by Stephen King – My Review

Everyone told me this book was freaking scary! Joey from Friends told me it’s scary. Random people on Instagram and Twitter told me it’s super scary. My sister suggested we should read it together, holding hands and breaking each other’s fingers.

But did I listen? I did not. Because King slowly lures you into thinking it may not be that bad. With the beginning that might as well develop into a perfectly normal story. With characters you’re not even all that sure you want them to survive :-).

And even when the weird starts to happen, it’s not that scary. A weird noise, a hallucination here and there, a lonely old place with a bloody history… Seriously – how bad can it be?

But the thing is – the usual creepy arsenal is not what really creeped me out here. Sure, there were some obvious terror moments. The spooky atmosphere. The isolation. Slow building tension. The things that just shouldn’t be there.

There’s a reason why you can find these in practically every horror. Those things are creepy! We all know they are creepy. They jump out. We start to scream. That’s how it works. Why fix it if it isn’t broken?

But, to be 100% honest, not all creepy things hit the right nerve. Sure, a few times when someone was about to open a door or pick around a corner, I was seriously considering just putting down the book and go mentally prepare myself for whatever he’s about to find. But there were also many occasions and even brutal descriptions, and I wouldn’t get even the slightest chill.

But, what did creep me out were the things I didn’t quite expect. Like slowly sinking into madness. Can you imagine anything scarier than starting to realize one day that you are going crazy?

Or how unavoidable it all felt. In one moment they can still turn around and walk away. In the next it is too late.

You know it’s coming. You can feel it getting stronger and stronger. There’s nothing you can do about it.

Waiting is the worst part.

I liked how simple King’s writing was. Very accessible and non-distracting. He does this thing where he follows the characters’ train of thoughts with all its weirdness, inconsistency and out-of-place moments. I don’t know if he used that only in this book or that’s his thing, but I quite liked that.

The plot was – you know. OK. Not the best one I’ve ever read, but it was fine.

What I didn’t like? I wish the hotel and everything in it were even spookier. When I’m thinking about it now, there were a lot of terrifying elements. But while I was reading it, they didn’t feel all that scary.

All in all, The Shining didn’t quite reach the list of my favorite books. I couldn’t connect 100% with the story and feel the horror in its full force. But, it was a great, trilling October read. And I am definitely looking forward to reading more books by Stephen King…

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(2) Comments

  1. This was a favorite of mine when I discovered Stephen King as a teenager. I did not know that there was a sequel called Doctor Sleep, that is interesting!

    1. I also only recently found out there was a sequel. I don’t know anything about it, but I am very interested to see where the story goes next… ❤️️

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