83 of 86 people found the following review helpful
on 4 April 2009
First I must state that I am not someone who would describe themselves as a Stephen King fan. I've read a fair few of his books, some of which I've quite enjoyed and some of which I struggle to remember, but "The Stand" is one of my all time favourite books. I bought the unexpurgated version recently to re-read, after a gap of about ten years, and was as lost in it this time as I was the first time I read it.
Yes, as a couple of reviewers have pointed out, of course you could tell the story in a book half, or even a quarter, of the size but I for one would have felt very cheated. The story is not complicated. It begins with a plague and moves towards a final showdown between, effectively, good and evil and perhaps that could be seen as overly simplistic. The characters, however, are so well drawn that you feel you know who they are and want to know, in detail, how the whole thing plays out. The pace is good, even for such a large book, and the more meditative sequences do not detract from this at all.
Some of the characters are exceptionally good: Nick Andros, the deaf mute, and Tom Cullen for example and Harold Lauder is very finely drawn as a man who finds himself thwarted by life and love and tempted to the darker side. Despite it's somewhat exalted overtones at points, there is a sense of reality to the book which manages to keep it grounded. At times King's writing almost seems poetical, something I never thought I would write in the same sentence as "Stephen King" because I frequently find his real-life character conversations to be rather stilted and pedestrian, unlike his more dreamy sequences.
I imagine for a great many SK fans this could well be their favourite of his. And that an awful lot of others think it's a fair few pages too far and totally up its own backside. I think you should find out for yourself. If you're not sucked in at the end of the first quarter of the book then you never will be but if you are then you're in for a real treat. Read and enjoy.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 4 September 2007
My first stephen king book I read was IT and I thought it was brilliant and so when I was told that the Stand was even better I didnt belive it could be true, and in fact put of reading it in case I was dissapointed. And when I did read it I can say for sure that I wasnt.
The first part of the book deals with some sort of accident at a army facility and a lethal virus is relased which soon spreads all over America wiping out most of the population. But then the story takes a strange turn, the survivours begin dreaming about two different people one being "mother abigale" and the other being "the dark man" and soon the surviovurs realise that the battle for their survival has only just began.
Now some people may be daunted with reading this book seeing as quite simply it is massive. At over 1400 pages it is the biggest book i have ever read. However I can truthfully say that none of it was boring, Stephen King is a natural story teller with a gift of being able to keep the reader hooked to the book and always wanting to know what is going to happen next. He also masterfully manage to keep the reader in suspense of the outcome of the book, no matter what you think is going to happen I can easily predict that you will not guess the out come of the story.
King also managed to get a message across to the reader, about religion and worship. Who should you chose to worship in a time of crisis and what happens if the person you choose to worship turns out to be something you are terrifried of.
If you are a fan of Stephen King and you havent read this book then you are missing out and even if you are not a fan of Stephen King I still suggest you give it a try.
This book is simply BRILLIANT but make sure you get get the uncut version other wise you are missing out on over 700 pages.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 13 January 1998
"The Stand" is a blend of science fiction/fantasy; the classic 'End of the World' type novel except with a twist as only Stephen King can tell it. A superflu, called Captain Trips, is let loose upon an unsuspecting world by an underground secret lab worker who escapes carrying the virus. Millions die from the virus leaving only a few hundred left to face a diabolical evil in the badlands of Nevada. I have read this book several times and each time I find something new in it. One of the reasons I like this book is that it starts out in a little dust ridden blip of a town in Texas. Being a Texan, I believe Stephen King has visited our fair state since he described that town so well...even down to the run down dusty gas station. If you have never read Stephen King, then I would receommend starting with "The Stand." I believe it is the best book he has ever written. Enjoy!
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 12 July 2011
If (like me) you're a Stephen King newbie, I would highly recommend this book. I've only been reading his books for the last few months and this is a must read. You don't need to be a King fan to appreciate this book, you just need to have an open mind and a love of reading. The book may be long but if you're anything like me you'll find yourself wishing it was longer and thinking about it long after you've finished. If it was shorter you wouldn't feel as drawn in to the story, at no point does it get boring or feel like chapters could have been cut without affecting the story.
I loved this book. It makes you question everything from religion to how you'd survive being one of the few people left on earth! If you love reading just give this book a chance.
I have never written a review for a book (as you can probably tell!) but I enjoyed this book so much I thought I'd recommend it to as many people as possible!
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
This is a great book in my opinion and shows Stephen King at the peak of his powers.
I remember trying to read this book when i was quite young and i never really enjoyed it.It sat in my collection until a couple of years ago and then i read it at a rate of knots!
The basic plot, is that a super-virus is accidentally unleashed on the public.Nearly all of the population is wiped out, and the few remaining survivors are drawn to two people they dream about.Flagg is one.Mother Abigail is the other.The story shows how people survived the outbreak, then begin to reform society and then decide how to fight against the evil Flagg.
That is it in a nutshell - without spoiling anything too much.
There are characters in here aplenty.Ones that you identify with, ones you dislike; but all of them grip you.The way King writes about these characters is excellent - you HAVE to know what is going to happen to them.And they are so well developed that you almost know what they are going to do before they do it! My own personal favourite character is Larry.He changes throughout the book and is the one who you really feel has an internal struggle about what he is doing - he constantly questions his own worth and morality and it is really insightful of Stephen King to do this.
The plot is excellent, and moves well.It does lull in the middle a bit, but this is the is the quiet before the storm, as the final section of the book moves on at a rip-roaring pace.Considering ths book is so long it is amazing how it holds your attention all the way to the last page.
This book is about good and evil and mixes the morality up well, by not making every decision so black and white.People do make mistakes, and people do deserve a second chance and you get to see quite a few sub-plots where these possibilities are played out.And you do get the voice in your head saying ' If only 'x' had done this, then they would have been okay......'.The book really involves you in so many ways, that most books don't.It has depth and it has meaning on one level.And on another it has a cracking plot!
Some people who have reviewed this book didn't enjoy it for various reasons.The two main reasons for this were a/ the length and b/ the ending.
In my view the length is just about right.The topics and characters the book covers justify the length.I don't read this book and think that Stephen King could have editted it down much more, without missing out some important sequences and developments.Second is the ending.And i can understand why people are disappointed by this.My challenge to someone reading this book would be to come up with a better one - I dare you!Alternative endings to the one Stephen King has written do feel cliched!
I would recommend this book to almost everyone.It has everything a good book should have - great plot, great characters, great development and great pacing.Another great aspect of this book is that you are left wanting more!
I would put this in my top 5 Stephen King books, and this is the book that most of his readers vote as their favourite.Why not try this and see for yourself ?
BRILLIANT READ - BUY IT!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 December 2013
Let me start by saying I'm a big King fan (especially his earlier stuff from the 70s and 80s) and I remember reading this for the first time back in '84. It's the only King book from the time that I haven't gone back and re-read several times, and when the "extended version" came out, I wasn't inclined to buy it. After all this time I couldn't remember why...
Fast forward to the 21st Century and, armed with Kindle and having some extra reading time to spare, I thought I should revisit the book. I now remember why I didn't like it all those years ago. Whilst the story itself is quite engrossing and, as other people have said, it presents a fascinating end-of-the-world scenario, the actual characters (with the exception of the Walkin' Dude himself) are just...meh! They don't spring off the page like other King characters, they're relatively one-dimensional and apparently only there to present different ideological or philosophical viewpoints on the events of the novel.
The book splits neatly into sections: the spread of the plague and how people react to it, the journey to come together in Boulder, the development of the new community and the events in Vegas that climax the novel. there's also a short epilogue that's very well-written but of little interest. There are surprises along the way - characters who start on the right side defect unexpectedly, key characters die along the way (no spoilers here) and events built up dramatically resolve in ways you wouldn't expect. Standard King techniques and no less welcome for that. But the dialogue! Everyone here has their own didactic style which, in real life, would have you reaching for the baseball bat in short time. They collect their thoughts then reel out a rigidly logical response to the most surreal situations as if Mr Spock had written their script. They're either wretchedly evil (and ashamed of it) or Ineffably virtuous (in which case they agonise over their own character flaws endlessly). And throughout the whole story, there's a blatant religious thread which I, as a practising theology-dodger, find oppressive and preachy.
It's been so long since I read the original version, I can't make out which are the additions but there are nice touches - the Plymouth that Stu & Tom find whose keyring has the initials "AC" printed on it, the links hinted at between Flagg and his Dark Tower incarnation, and so on.
If you can cope with the moral undertones, then you should enjoy this book. If you like Stephen King, you should read it anyway. But it's a lot more "Under The Dome" than "Salem's Lot", in my opinion.
(PS thanks for the preview of "Doctor Sleep", I'll certainly be buying into that soon.)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 January 2009
This book is amazing, and if you haven't read it you'll find the 'theme' is quite topical - thinking about BBC's Survivors, Avian Flu etc etc! I would agree with the other reviewers who point out that this isn't a horror story, in spite of the fact most of humanity is wiped out.
At the start of the book, a virus is unleashed with a 99.9% kill rate. The story is about the handful of people left behind, and their struggle to adapt to life after the virus without the comforts of family and society. I especially liked the fact that the survivors are a mixture of the good, the bad and the ugly. The 'facts' of life post-virus are dealt with thoroughly and convincingly.
The story is also about the battle between good and evil - represented by two characters in particular. There is a supernatural element to the book, but it's more symbolic - about the battle between good and evil in every human being, and the choices we all have to make, especially when it seems the other side is stronger.
The book is long, no doubt about it, and be aware that this is the unabridged version. There were a couple of parts that dragged for me, but only because I was so engrossed in the other characters that I didn't want to read 50 pages about The Kid or Trash Can Man - no doubt other readers loved those two characters! King himself admits that some readers will find it too long and self-indulgent, and may be better sticking to the abridged version. But this is the first and only version I read, and I'm glad I did. It's a beautiful book in many ways and a book that you won't forget.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 May 2010
Not much compares to this, in either scope nor style. The Stand is a book that does what a book is supposed to do, it paints a picture of a different world and invites you in. So much of The Stand is dedicated to character development that many moments in the plot become very intimate, which passages otherwise read on their own would not have the same meaning.
The story of this epic novel is incredible and deserving of every 1325 pages it is written on. Whilst the story follows no particular protagonist, you never feel detached from their journeys. This is a novel for those of you who enjoy an extended reading session, and particularly those of you who just love getting your teeth into a richly drawn world that utterly absorbs you.
This was my first Stephen King experience, and will now be the first of many.
Enjoy the journey.
82 of 90 people found the following review helpful
on 26 November 2000
This book has it all. Never have I read something that has captured me to the extent of The Stand. It tells of a scenerio we can all vividly picture. A lonely world where mankind is close to extinct, while the cities and machines are left to gather dust and remind survivors of a world lost through the mistakes of man.
This truly is the epic of all epics, and I assure those who are intimidated by the length to not be. You'll be captured by the story before you know it. The characters are so diverse and unique that it's impossible not to relate to them. My personal favourite had to be Larry Underwood, the drugged up rock-star whose life undergoes some extreme changes as the story progresses.
There are moments in the book that will bring a tear to your eye, there are moment that will leave you terrified. However, in my opinion this isn't a horror story, but instead a tragedy that tells of courage, hope and faith.
This is definitely the greatest book by Stephen King, and really makes me want to forget I read it so I can experience it all for the first time again.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2007
I'm somewhat of a new Stephen King fan and so tackling a book of this size was a bit daunting but I did it and throughly enjoyed it. It is long and is tiring in places but the story is worth it.
After I had read it I couldn't help but think about what he could have done differently in the story and what the different characters could have done. Then I realised how good the book was because I knew the characters inside-out and I was completely submerged in the plot.
This book is worth bearing with because it is a true masterpiece. If you read this book the whole way through I guarantee you will have a place in your heart for Frannie, Nick Andros, Larry Underwood and a certain dog for a long, long time.
Forget the poor reviews that slate the book, they are probably made by failed authors who are consumed with envy. The book litterally made me drop my jaw at points and really grabbed a hold of me.