74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2000
First of all, I would like to point out that I am neither an avid Stephen King nor a horror fan. I've read some of his books, and found them all fairly enjoyable. "It" is the only one of his books that enthralled, captivated, and mesmerized me. It is his absolute masterpiece and stands by itself. The story has already been abundantly described by other reviewers, so I won't go into it anymore. What most reviews (particularly the unfavorable ones) seem to miss, though, is that this is so much more than just a horror story. Sure, there is an evil monster killing children, but that is only one aspect. This aspect of the story could indeed have been told with 200 to 500 pages less, as many reviews state. But King does so much more. Not only does he present us with seven incredibly detailed and believable main characters, he also elaborates on the secondary characters, such as Henry Bowers, Tom Rogan, and even Patty Uris. Knowing their history and motivation makes these characters come to life in our minds, even though it might not be essential for the main plot. The same is true for the Derry Interludes. They give the city a face, a character, and a 200-year history. What would Derry be without the fire at the Black Spot, the explosion of the Kitchener Ironworks, or the lynching of the Bradley Gang, but just another bland exchangeable Maine town? After 700 pages you can see Derry and its inhabitants before you. They live and thrive, both in 1958 and in 1985, in images few other books can conjure up. At the end of the book you inevitably cry, not because of what happened, but simply because there is no more to read. An entire world has just winked out of existence for the reader. Those who are disappointed by the final showdown between the monster and the Losers fail to understand that this is beside the point. It doesn't really matter what the shape of the monster is or how it is beaten. What matters is how this confrontation affects and changes the main characters. Here King is utterly believable, imaginative and truly innovative. The last 35 pages or so are among the most emotionally tragic things I have ever read. It combines triumph, sadness, nostalgia, and an unbelievable loss. Another thing I really don't understand is that so many reviewers give the book bad ratings because they are morally appalled by the sex scene between the children. Throughout the book, children are getting beaten, drowned, decapitated, partially eaten, their limbs torn off, their eyeballs sucked out, and their heads bashed in with hammers. It is, after all, a horror book you are reading. If pleasurable sex is more offensive to you than gruesome violence, you should check your sense of morality. To sum it up, if you are the type of person who likes quick, down-to-the-point horror, then you should really skip this book. If you are looking for an incredible story that touches you to the point of tears and stays with you for years, than "It" will be one of your most memorable literary experiences.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 18 August 2006
I first got hooked on Stephen King after seeing an advert in the paper for 'Pet Sematary', 'a new book by Stephen King' and bought it because I liked the cover!!, well that did it - 'Firestarter', 'Christine', 'Salems Lot' etc I soon caught up with EVERYTHING he'd written previously and loved every second of them and now 20 odd years later I still look forward to the 'NEW STEPHEN KING BOOK' but I can still remember the first time 'IT' arrived and even after all these years it (no pun intended) remains my favourite all time book. I've now read it 5 times and dig it out every 5 years or so for another go! In my opinion this is the finest thing SK has ever written and can highly recommend it. If you like Stephen King and don't have this in your collection then you're not a Stephen King fan, simple as that.
A Brilliant book.
5 out of 5
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2001
In 'Bag of Bones' King himself points out to the reader that they will inevitably forget the story they are about to be told, the place in their memory where it once lived being taken by a new story from a new book.
On the contrary Mr King, my most recent experience of a King novel has become etched into my mind and is there to stay for a long time.
I have owned 'IT' for nearly 8 years, but have been too daunted by the prospect of reading it's colossal 1116 pages. What prompted me to finally begin was the pleasure I got from reading the slightly lighter, slightly shorter 'Bag of Bones'. King was something I wanted more of, and 'IT' offered much much more than I expected.
The book follows its group of characters, who are introduced in adult form, as they try to return to their home town to fulfill a promise they made years before. Narative then switches to the past, where their personalities are further depicted in the context of their teenage years, their troubles and dreams and experiences told in intimate detail. The story takes the group of teens to a meeting with 'IT', before the reader is unavoidably whisked back to the present, where we learn of the chracters developments through life, and their efforts to return back home to meet and keep their promise.
Of course, the narative switches in this way again, telling of the youngsters initial battle with 'IT', and finally back to the story of the adults and their battle with an identical 'IT'.
Here lies the genius. For me, the story was not as simple as a battle with a spectre, told twice. The themes of this novel are far darker and easily identifiable to anyone who has lived through their teens. That each character is so finely deatialed, at such a young age, and simultaneously later in life, allows for coutless emotions. The central character (clearly King himslef) constantly questions the lack of magic in his adult life, and recognises that at some point between the past narative and present, he 'grew up'.
Far more than a simple 'horror', and far more than you'd expect from 1116 pages of text.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 12 June 2006
This is the ultimate Stephen King novel, and then some! I don't know how he managed to pull off such an epic masterpiece that enthrals with every single page, but here it is.
The characters are so brilliantly realised - so much so that you find yourself truly caring for them. People always just think of the clown (that's probably down to Tim Curry's great turn as Pennywise in the 'IT' TV movie) but the book is much deeper than that. It really chills your heart in places. And then when the kids rise up against the evil it's so stirring and triumphant.
I'm a big King fan but I find that 'IT' totally eclipses everything else he's written, including 'The Stand' which is generally seen as his best (I don't care for it that much to be honest). I'm telling you, if you ain't read this you ain't read nothing yet!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 13 July 2004
i have been a stephen king fan for 4 years now, and have read most of his work. on the odd occasion when i ask a fellow king fan what his/her favourite novel is, they always seem to say either 'The Stand' or 'IT, the stand is a phenominal story, told in depth with such skill its almost impossible to imagine someone writing a novel of that calibre. however my arguement is that stephen king's IT is a book of epic proportions, and better then the stand by a fair margine.first of all the book is nothing like the film so get that one straight.stephen kings 'IT' is horrific, telling us about a group of children growing up in maine while an unspeakable horror lurks in the sewers, waiting for them to feed on there fear. 'IT' takes on the shape of a clown, which personally has haunted me ever since i last read it,IT can take the shape of your innermost fears.
the characters are so believablethey almost feel real, at times the whole book seems real and i know how ridiculous that sounds,but its so detailedand and engrossing 'IT' will keep you awake at nights, you will want to know what happens next.
do not be put off by how long it is either 1,200pages does seem alot, but it is worth every page.
read this book now,but just remember....
'you'll die if you try'
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 4 December 2005
During my Stephrn King stint, which has so far yet to stop, i happened to pick 'IT' up from a second hand bookshop. i got home and left it on my bookshelf for quite some time, i suppose i was a bit apprehensive about reading it because of its size, but please dont let this put you off. this book is an amazing feat of genius, true it is of the horror genre but, like most of Kings other books, the language, descriptions, and sometimes the cynical humour create a warm and loving atmosphere, which you really wouldnt expect from a horror novel.
the books main setting is in Derry, Main, and it is here that you first meet the group of school children that are forced to foght the formidable IT. Over the time of the novel you almost fall in love with these brilliantly crafted characters and settings, up to a point that you feel that they are real, i know i did.
although the book sometimes plods along and can sometimes be a bit repetitive, the overall story is top notch. and dont let Stephen Kings reputation of being a gritty horror novelist take effect, because i believe that this book, next to 'The Stand' really shows off his talent as an author.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2001
Where to start? 'It' is King's finest to date. After a shakey start (this book is over 1100 pages, of course it will take a while to get going") this book is a real effort to put down, a rare trait in a book of such a size. The plot is a masterpiece by King seond only to the character development, interwoven between two timelines; now (well 1985) and the summer of 1958. If I tried to explain it the explanation would start something like this: Well there's this murderous monster clown invisible to adults who feeds on children in a small Maine town... So I'll stop now and you'll have to trust me this book is good. Childhood is a recurring theme in all King's work (as it is in Bill Denborough's) and It is no exception, the description of the children's lives is a joy to read even when there are no werewolves or lepers to get in the way. Perhaps the children are a bit too mature for their age but this is easily overlooked, it makes up for all the times they are (wrongly?) potrayed as immature idiots. Suprisingly for a book with so many main characters the reader soon knows all seven's first names, sirnames, parents and interests (and is interested!). There is so much to praise here but this is still really a book for people who like horror. King just can't wait to add in little details about supporting characters somewhere along the lines of: John Smith (who would lose both his legs 5 years later after a motorcycle accident). Then there is the story of Patrick Hockstetter and his fridge; not for the faint hearted. There are many little details that people have picked upon, but very few books are perfect and all the fantastic work makes these very minor indeed. The ending is good but not as good as the rest of the book and I feel that this is the reason it stands out so much. So don't worry you won't be disappointed at the end. So constant reader, enjoy and remember to stock up on light bulbs, your bedside lamp will be on all night. Remember this book is responsible for a global irrational fear of clowns. Head my warning.
By the way look out for a cameo from everyone's favourite shiner Dick Hallorann
Next... Neil Gaiman's American Gods
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2002
This is It. And it really is. This is, to my mind, without doubt the greatest work of horror fiction ever written. I read it when I was eleven, after the much hyped movie had failed to deliver the scares that it had promised. I've read it six times since.
It combines all of the elements that have made Stephen King into one of the most highly (though not universally) respected writers of this century. The childhood memories, the emotional struggles (a demonic killer paling into comparison next to getting the girl you like to notice you, or standing up to the local bully), friendship, unity and sheer, heart-stopping terror.
It is slow, so if you prefer a story that will thrust you into the thick of it right away, don't be fooled by the opening of this one. There is a shocking opening, but after that, there is a lot of scene-setting before things really get going again. However, if you want to experience this master storyteller at his very best, then let him take you into the very heart and soul of Derry, and he'll leave you changed forever.
This book, as with so many of King's works, plays on the bonds between the principal characters, but with the page count well into the thousand mark, he really has time to make you feel for them.
DO NOT judge this book on the basis of the movie. The movie was terrible by comparison, forsaking large chunks of the story for the sake of the nicely-nicely Hollywood machine. Read this in its own right, and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is book is one of the best I have ever read. I always avoided Stephen King books as I feared they would be too gory/slasher like, but I had no idea of the depth of King's skill at bringing characters to life.
It, which tells the story of seven childhood friends who nearly defeat a demon preying on the Children of Derry and then have to return later when it cimes back, is wonderful. The characters are so lifelike, you feel as though they are your friends. I am not ashamed to say that even if it makes me sound pathetic! I was genuinely sad when I had finished reading the book, not becasue of the ending, but becasue I just wanted it to go on and on. I re-read this book last week and it still retains its magic for me!
All I can say, is that even if you have never read A king book before, try this one. It iks astounding and you will weep, you will be scared and you may have to sleep with the lights on. Clowns will never look the same again!
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2006
This book is just sheer brilliance.
I had watched the film when i was younger and it scared the hell out of me. It has been one of my favourite films ever since. But the book is so much better.
It delves much deeper into the characters and unlike the film it makes you feel as though you know them.
I like the way in which he brings in everyday real life problems and mixes them in with terryfying fiction such as bullying, domestic violence and racism.
You feel so much sorrow for the 'losers' because its like no matter what they do they can't escape the suffering.
Take Bill for instance, not only does he have to put up with his younger brother being murdered, he also has to deal with his ever infuriating stutter and the bullying he recieves as a result of this stutter. All thats bad enough for a kid and that's without mentioning the fact that there is a shape shifting, demonic, child eating clown roaming around town and it's up to him and his friends to stop it.
If you have young teenage children make them read this and suddenly the thought of getting acne won't seem that big a deal to them.
I urge anybody who has'nt read this book to do so, whether you're a king fan or not.
Watch the movie as well, its not as good as the book but superb none the less.
And remember, They all float....