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4.5 out of 5 stars179
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on 18 February 2001
This is probably not the most sophisticated or deeply plotted Stephen King book - it is one of his early works and that shows. Pet Sematary is, however, the most absorbing and haunting novel I have ever read and is full of a black humour that remains with you long afterwards.
The concept is simplicity itself - happy all-American family move to their dream house in rural Maine and make friends with the kindly old couple across the street. This, of course, is the world of Stephen King - so everyone has a secret and nothing is quite as it seems. The one thing you can be sure of is that nobody is likely to live happily ever after...
The book is certainly bleak and not to be recommended if you're feeling depressed ! But, however intense the emotions that it evokes, the joy of meeting some of King's most believable and sympathetic characters and the experience of discovering just what is out there in the woods behind the Creed house are certainly worth it.
I have read this book countless times, but have never forgotton the pleasure of discovering it initially, when every plot development was new. If you are about to read Pet Sematary for the first time I envy you - enjoy !
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on 27 July 2011
Well i very rarely write reviews of books, as i feel everybody has their own taste, but i'm making an exception for this perticular novel as i have just finished reading it and have been utterly blown away.
I won't describe the plot in too much detail, mainly as its quite hard to go into too much detail without giving it away, but what i will say is this; Louis Creed and his family move into a new house next to a busy main road, and are introduced by a neighbour to a pet 'Semetary' in the woods near the house. But it's no ordinary 'semetary'. I won't say any more than that, but if your a fan of Stephen King then you know what to expect. If your not a fan, then make an exception for this one book. Lots of books describe themselves as horror, but lets face it, very rarely does a BOOK actually scare a reader. But this Book. Wow. If you want a book that will scare you, and leave you utterly disturbed, this is it. Forget 'The Shining', 'It', and all his famous others. This is his most disturbing horror novel.
Numerous times during reading it i had to take a time-out just to get reacquainted with the real world, as it truely sucks you in, all the way from the first page to the shocking climax. And many times i thought i had guessed where it was leading, only to be fooled by twists and turns on every corner.
Its the perfect length, just under 500 pages, so is a comfortable read, isnt too complicated or in-depth. Just a gripping, powerful, and disturbing read. If you want a book that will truely send shivers down your spine, and leave you debating 'what would i do in that situation?', then this is the book for you! Read it. Trust me. You won't be the same again!
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After hearing about the ‘Zombie Cat’ in Florida last week, and now a battle over who will keep him, I thought it must be a good time to dig out my copy of Pet Sematary. This book is slightly unusual in that over the years I have known loads of people who would not read a Stephen King book actually read and enjoy this.

To a certain degree this book feels real in terms of location due to the fact that King did base this on a place that his family once stayed at, and there was a pet cemetery misspelled as Pet Sematary by children there. For Mr King this book is what he considers his scariest, although when he last said that was some years back. Feeling that he had perhaps gone too far with this, I would disagree and say that he had hit the nail more or less straight on the head. Death is the end for all of us eventually, but if there is anything on the other side or if there is a chance of coming back no one knows, despite what certain religions and their leaders and followers would like you to believe. They haven’t been dead and then some time later came back to tell us what it was like, and before anyone thinks of some smart answer, remember Jesus may supposedly have been resurrected, but he didn’t stand around giving talks on what he experienced.

As usual King sticks to the tried and tested manner for horror success, and that is to make something that is firmly fixed and believable to us then have a supernatural element added. In this case what may be in the woods beyond the actual pet cemetery itself. So for Dr Louis Creed, when the pet cat dies and his neighbour across the road takes him on a journey into the woods where the cat then comes back to life, it is a relief not to have his daughter crying her eyes out at the cat’s sad demise. Of course the cat isn’t quite the same, but it makes an appearance of being nearly normal, so what could be the harm?

But how far would you go if you knew about this secret? Suppose your child or spouse died, would you try to bring them back? It is this question that ultimately is raised by this book, which makes it still quite current and a topic that is still much discussed today. It is only human nature that at some point someone, if they know this secret will try it on something slightly larger than a pet. As we all know Stephen King isn’t really the greatest when it comes to endings, but here he does quite well as he leaves us with something to ponder long after we have closed this book. In all this is something that unlike some of his earlier novels has stood the test of time and is still well worth reading.
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on 10 January 2008
I have just finished this book and it was very good, not the best I have read by King (I keep that standard for 'Salem's Lot) but still a great read. The characters are very well drawn out as is the plot, which does take some time to get to 'point' but doesn't fail becaus eof this, in fact I would say that the suspense helps the plot along.

One problem I had with this novel though was the fact that once the climax stated it ended very quickly, a little too quickly to be honest which was why I only gave it 4 stars. King could have easily cut some of the middle out and allowed a bit more depth into the ending chapters.

Overall though, a very good read.
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on 14 December 2002
An excellent BBC adaptation. The production quality and music are excellent, and the performances from the cast are superb. Genuinely creepy, this one can be enjoyed many times over, and doesn't disappoint. Well worth buying.
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on 6 July 1999
My advice to you is not to read this book whilst sitting alone in the house at night with only the cat for company because i can guarantee you that you will not be able to sleep.
This is the story of Dr Lous Creed, his wife Rachael and their two children, Ellie and Gage who move from Chicago to Ludlow, Maine. Here they become friends with an elderly couple across the street, Jud and Norma Crandall. One night Jud takes Louis up to the Pet Sematary and beyond to a magicial place, an indian buiral ground. From here on in this is truly Stephen King at his best.
I realised that this was not the best book to take to read on holiday whilst lying on a sundrenched beach, with nothing much to occupy my mind with during the day i found at night my imagination running wild and have to admit to having to sleep with the lights on.
After having read this book ask yourself one question - If you were in the same position as Louis Creed whould you do the same thing?
My answer: Under the circumstances and bearing the state of my mind, then probably yes. Quite a frighting thought.
If you are Stephen King's Number One Fan than this book is a MUST HAVE!
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Review originally posted on my book blog:

Kicking off my Halloween TBR is Stephen King. This is the first Stephen King book I have ever read, and I believe I made a good choice in which to start with, especially since there are just SO many to choose from. I was glad to find it was suitably creepy, with elements of normalcy and horror spiraling together to create a distorted but compelling story.

I found myself becoming really interested in the main character’s life, genuinely caring for his well-fare and family. The writing style made me feel the same emotions as the characters, with the description being so realistic it was hard to doubt the character’s reactions. Humor and terror were combined in an odd way, that made you feel a little crazy while you read the story, exactly like the characters.

The story itself was relentless. Stephen King used a lot of foreshadowing in this book, so you always knew something bad was around the corner. I found myself becoming stuck in this loop of wanting to devour the book to see what happened, but almost being hesitant to read on at the same time because something dark was looming ahead. Somehow, even though you KNEW something bad was likely to happen soon, you would end up with a sense of comfort and then BAM – a completely unexpected plot twist would hit you like a slap in the face.

The descriptions can be quite graphic, so if you were considering reading, I would advise you to be weary of that.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much and I am glad I chose this as the first Stephen King book I experienced. It has encouraged me to read more of his fiction in the future.

Rated 4//5 stars!
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on 23 November 2011
You might either think this has one or two spoilers in it, or like me when reading reviews, think "he does What?! Does that really happen in it? Goodie Goodie" and be even more tempted to buy the book. Anyway, whatever, read on if you enjoy nice ramblings and a couple of spoilers.....

I finished Pet Sematary tonight, and as I neared the end of the book I was reading it brushing my teeth, reading it in the car in the works carpark if I was 5 mins early, reading it while also trying to watch Masterchef, I guess it must have been Good. I thought Id have a look at some peoples reviews who scored it low to see what they might have thought the less successful parts were, seen as summararily I enjoyed it so much. The main train of thought seems to be with the last couple of chapters that deal with the grand finale. And I partly agree...I thought the end seemed rushed too...when you see you havent many pages left to go you expect it all to finish with a grande finale to top all other episodes of fear and tenseness youve already experienced in the book, but the gage-zombie killing spree was a bit hurried, in a way that didnt shock so much as just leave you with a half formed image of whats just happened and with a feeling of "huh...what? Eh?". Its great when an author successfully builds up your relationship and empathy for a character, to then all of a sudden surprisingly kill them off (or have them suffer when you really dont want them to ala the character Del's execution gone horribly wrong in the Green Mile - ugh) as it doesnt half take you on an emotional rollercoaster with the book, but it felt like there just wasnt enough meat on the bones. For me the best part of the book was the event of Louis sneaking into the cemetary and exhuming his son - this, if i remember rightly now, seemed to last ages. There were loads of tense situations (the police patrolling in the car and he had to hide behind the tree, him nearly skewering himself on the railings and busting his knee, when he gets the grave open thinking for a second his sons head was missing, losing his car keys, the dog barking and nearly blowing his cover....) it was deliciously grisley and so tense and cumbersome you just kept thinking "doh ... doh...DOH!" Brilliant! And then to blow it all with a fizzle-pop of an ending compared to brilliance of the exhumation chapter was a bit of a let down. I thought the story jud told of that other dude that exhumed his son way back when was freakier, when they all went to his house and the zombie son was staring up at the red sky and then tells them in his gritty-demonic voice their dirty secrets really made me shiver. Much more scary than the scalpel wielding gage. I wish he'd strung it out more. Even the bit at the end were Rachel comes back from the grave...would have been freakier if she'd have gently put her cold dead hand on his throat from behind rather than his shoulder to really insinuate that the horror continues past the end of the book with the assumption she will in the end kill Louis would have been spookier!! I do think that anyone that has children, especially young ones at the time of reading, would find the book particularly chilling and hard to forget after switching off the bedside light. It raises good issues of how events of the past can leave an indellible mark psychologically for later in life. Also the love for your family that questions where would you draw the line to try and protect your family or when faced with grief and an opportunity to bring a loved one back against all sensibilities, if you could, would you not also take your chance. Chilling certainly, and some parts very delicate and tough to read and face up to, but as far as down right scary, perhaps not quite so much as I had thought it would be but still a good old yarn. Should have been creepier earlier on I think.

^ Some of this might not make much sense as I started writing it as a comment for another persons review, generally agreeing and adding a bit, but a bit turned into a lot so I copied it into my own review.

For the sake of a couple of quid just buy it and make yer own mind up
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on 5 September 2010
Firstly, I'll hold my hands up and admit that this was my first Stephen King novel. I'll also admit that I'd worked myself into such a nervous frenzy about the whole thing, given King's reputation for delivering serious frights, that I actually put the book down after 100 pages and decided I wasn't reading any more. Well, I changed my mind in the sunny light of the next morning, and I'm so glad I did. It was excellent!

It opens with Louis Creed, a doctor, and his young family moving to a new house and meeting their neighbours, Jud and Norma Crandall. The Crandalls help them settle in, showing them the children's 'Pet Sematary' on the hillside behind their home, providing evenings of beer and conversation, and warning them about the dangers of the main road, where the huge Orinco trucks have claimed many pets over the years.

Things start to go awry when a young man is hit by a car and horrendously maimed, dying in Louis's arms in his university surgery. He begins to dream about the boy and the Pet Sematary, though he dismisses them as mere nightmares. A few months later his daughter's cat is hit by a truck and killed - and Jud finally shows him the town's dark secret: the Native American burial ground beyond the Pet Sematary where a terrible power lurks, watching, waiting, enticing...

Now, to me this all sounded terrifying. And at certain points it is, but not really in the gruesomely horrific way I had expected and feared. Of course it has its moments, but King is a master of weaving mind games, playing reality against hallucination and the world of dreams, using our deepest fears and the terror of what is NOT seen to elicit the chills and thrills for which he is famous. The same principle which makes the old psychological thrillers more haunting then their modern gore-splattered counterparts.

In fact, though it has occasional moments of genuine horror, I actually found this book deeply sad and very insightful. Its overarching theme is death - the fear of death, the acceptance of death, the nature and experience of grief, and the futility of humanity's attempt to cling to life even when nature is screaming for us to let go. The writing was beautiful - much more lyrical and evocative than I had expected - and I turned the last page with a deep chill of delicious dread and a profound sense of having read something far more worthwhile than I could have hoped. Looks like I'll be reading more Stephen King after all!
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on 16 April 2013
I have not read many better books than this; not only has it been one of my favourite reads from Stephen King, it comes only second to "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" overall.

The pace the book sets is exactly what you expect from King, with 200 pages of scene setting, 150 pages of build up and 50 pages of climax. What sets this book apart though is the horrifying description and story. The story is taken to eerie limits of graphic detail and drama.

Read this book... if you read anything by Stephen King it should be this!
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