- Paperback: 704 pages
- Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (12 May 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1444707841
- ISBN-13: 978-1444707847
- Product Dimensions: 13.6 x 4.6 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 132 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 69,692 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Dreamcatcher Paperback – 12 May 2011
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Nobody does it better (Daily Telegraph)
Yet another masterpiece from Stephen King . . . a narrative that never loosens its grip (Evening Standard)
King has inspired a whole generation to read. He's made them read good, witty prose . . . a fabulous teller of stories who can create an entire new world and make the reader live in it . . . Dreamcatcher must be one of his best. (Daily Express)
Hodder are boosting Stephen King's backlist with new covers, new author brand lettering and a marketing campaign which directs readers to the right King title for them.See all Product description
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Yes indeed, King's work swings (often a little wildly) between sci-fi (Tommyknockers), supernatural horror (It) and all points between. He is also not averse to chucking in a "natural" novel or two: natural horror (e.g. Gerald's Game) or natural thriller (Misery) just to keep his readers on their toes. Dreamcatcher sits comfortably in the sci-fi section of the bookshop, although it's definitely sci-fi *horror* and, inevitably, includes a dash of the supernatural just for effect.
Overall, if you've read a decent helping of his work before, you won't fail to recognise this as canonical King; childhood friends, growing up and facing peril together, etc etc. The landscape is also literally familiar as it is set firmly in his fictional representation of Maine (surely an even more hazardous a place to live than Midsomer or Holby City) and we even pay a visit to Derry (fortunately during a quiet spell in the late 70's). Of course, this familiarity lends his work a wonderfully comforting feel - you as a reader really fit into his world (even if it is stereotypically American) and can empathise with his characters and settings. "Comforting" and "sci-fi horror" may seem rather in opposition but it does work. Perhaps seeing all that mayhem and terror taking place in a *familiar* setting adds weight to the experience. It's been noted in other reviews that King is a master of characterisation: they may occasionally be cartoon characters, but they are no less... believable? empathetic? entertaining? for all that. King's favourite, and rather cruel, trick is to take one of the more likeable characters and kill him (or her) in a particularly unpleasant way, sometimes it's explicitly telegraphed before the event in order to draw out the reader's agony and sometimes it's dropped, by surprise, into your lap when you least expect it. However he does it though, you can be sure that you will *care* about it.
Dreamcatcher is also a typically (for King) weighty book. It doesn't quite reach the elephantine proportions of It, but it's not a book you'll finish in one sitting and it could usefully be put through a Curry's shop window if you're in need of a new Blackberry or plasma telly. I guess there are those who view big, hefty novels as "brain candy" and who prefer their reads to be concise, economical, to the point. I have no argument with them, but would note that, while King's books have more padding than an NFL quarterback, he puts all that waffle (and much of it is *waffle*, I'm afraid) to good use, building an immersive landscape that the reader can lose him/herself in. Much of it is extraneous to the actual story, but all of it is essential to setting the extended scene. Opening a particularly hypertrophic King novel is very much like falling down the rabbit hole with Alice or stepping into Narnia; you're going to be there for a while and you'll probably want to take sarnies and bottle or two of pop.
At the end of it all, Dreamcatcher is a book that will easily satisfy any moderate to deeply committed King reader. We know what to expect and when we get it, we're happy. If King springs a few nasty surprises on us along the way, well, that's the nature of the beast. Dreamcatcher may not be one of his best (there will always be those who argue it is, and those who argue it isn't) but it is a moot point as no King reader would be happy until his/her personal library has a well-thumbed copy (all of King's works can happily be re-read again and again 'til they disintegrate), be they good, bad or indifferent.
If you're unfamiliar with Stephen King, then I suspect that it may be a little too rich (i.e. fantastical) for some tastes and perhaps you might be better starting with something a little more "conventionally" horrific (and brief?), such as Carrie or Salem's Lot and work your way up from there. If for no other reason than it will but you the time you need to add some much needed reinforcing struts to your bookshelves.
I haven't finished it yet, I'm 50% through on my Kindle, and it will go with me on next month's holiday, and make me poor company on a sunbed, but my husband will forgive me, I'm sure!
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