Sunday, 6 March 2016

Misery by Stephen King - Book Review

5/5 Stars

Paul Sheldon used to write for a living.

Now, he's writing to stay alive...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 369
Chapters: Misery is made up of different parts with several numbered sections in each part.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


Oh, dear God...

There's no wonder that Stephen King is touted as the King of the Horror genre. Misery is the epitome of terror and nightmares; it's the realism and lack of supernatural that makes it the grittiest and scariest piece of fiction I have read to this day; it's the tenuous tale that will forever haunt my nightmares...

And I bloody love it!

Everything is on point in this novel: The plot is perfection, the characters are ferocious examples of insanity and fantasy, and the writing is the kind writers-in-training dream of being able to concoct. 

I do not feel worthy enough to review Misery, because no matter what I say, it'll never be enough to fully capture the work's essence.

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Paul Sheldon is a famous writer best known for his Misery novels.
Annie Wilkes is his biggest fan...
After a car crash that ravages Paul's legs, he wakes up under Annie's gaze.
And he knows he's in trouble.
Annie Wilkes is his biggest fan.
And she's less than happy when she finds out Paul has killed her favourite character...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

King sets the terrifying tone right from the beginning. Within twenty pages the full-on fear of Annie and the palpable helplessness of Paul is seared into the reader's brain. There's no preamble, King doesn't waste time with the banal, there's just the instant, but fuzzy, sense of absolute danger.

The tension and suspense are the best I've seen done. The way every scene is like a wire pulled taut, ready for that negligible amount of pressure which will finally cause it to snap, is, frankly, insanely addictive. You can put this novel down, but don't think for a second that it's done with you. When I took a break or had something else to do Misery was never far from my mind. It's one of those stories that you just need to keep reading.

We mostly focus on Paul and Annie, they are the protagonist and antagonist of the novel, and they are all that are needed. The relationship between them and the progression is riveting. The way King develops the psychological and intellectual war they have is spine-tingling talent.

And then come perhaps the most gruesome and vivid scenes imaginable. 

You will need a strong stomach for Misery, that is a given. King can boil your imagination with nuance, but he can break you with straight-up violence.

The end is a harrowing hell that surprisingly contains a hopeful message within the dark: You just gotta keep going.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

Misery is not a novel you fly through. Get that out of your head. If you're gearing up for this story then I demand you take it slowly. Every page has meaning. There is so much to this book and its characters that you will never, ever be bored. 

Let King into your head.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

Paul and Annie, as I said, are the predominant players in Misery, and with them, King delves deep into the dark mind of a psychotic and the way it can taint the sound mind of the innocent. 

Paul is broken and trapped, physically unable to do much, certainly not enough to defend himself. But he's not beaten. Paul is a writer, and the skills he has in this area make him ferociously intelligent. He's always trying to manipulate and imagine his way out of the hell he's been plunged into. The captivity he faces intensifies suspense. It's heartbreaking to read Paul's treatment at the hands of Annie, especially when the cold truth slithers down the back of the reader's neck: He needs Annie to survive.

At least for awhile.

Annie herself is one of the most fearsome evils I've ever had the pleasure of reading. A brutal woman with a soul of blackness, only, her outside appearance and personality chill the reader with their motherly tenderness. Paranoid and unstable, without a doubt, but she's more than a match for Paul's mind, showing herself to be as sharp as a razor. The chilling ways she manipulates in order to get what she wants leave you breathless and broken.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

I can't comment on King's writing. Not only am I not worthy, but the sheer skill the author exudes, the way he shapes Misery and fills it with such life, is just beyond my capacity to truly understand.

I am in awe.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

I'm never going to be able to sleep now... I just know Annie will be there in my dreams.

And, to make it worse, is it bad I kinda want to stay up and check out the movie? 

Bad? No. Glutton for punishment? Absolutely.

For more Stephen King reviews: Index

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