Saturday, January 26, 2013
Audiobook Review: Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication Date: March 1, 2003 (book first published March 20, 2001)
Source: borrowed from the good ol' public library
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
Once upon a time, in the haunted city of Derry, four boys stood together and did a brave thing. It was something that changed them in ways they could never begin to understand.Twenty-five years after saving a Down's-syndrome kid from bullies, Beav, Henry, Pete, and Jonesy -- now men with separate lives and separate problems -- reunite in the woods of Maine for their annual hunting trip. But when a stranger stumbles into their camp, disoriented and mumbling something about lights in the sky, chaos erupts. Soon, the four friends are plunged into a horrifying struggle with a creature from another world where their only chance of survival is locked in their shared past -- and in the Dreamcatcher.
I just...I think...I can't...
You guys, I just finished a Stephen King book, and I really, really didn't like it. That happens almost never. In fact, the only other time it's happened, so far, is when I read Insomnia. As a Stephen King fan, I was hoping it would never happen again, but alas, here I sit.
At its start, I was diggin' this book. These four friends in their mid-thirties are all at a hunting cabin together, as they do every November. They have some weird, unexplained telepathy going on, which is intriguing. And then this guy (Rick) comes out of the woods near their cabin. He's been lost for a day (or more...), and is hungry and not feeling particularly well. The friends let Rick into the cabin to recuperate and...CUE STEPHEN KING GORE FEST! I was sufficiently grossed out and ready for more.
Unfortunately, that's where the awesomeness ended. Basically the other 18 discs of this audiobook consist of completely non-fear-inducing aliens, a crabby old army general who holds a grudge that I don't even understand, and the world's longest, most bore-you-to-tears car chase. Also, bacon...something about bacon. By the end, when the narrator said "Epilogue", I nearly cried knowing that I had more story to sit through.
The real problem is that King just didn't get me to CARE enough. A lot of the story centers around this army general chasing one of his old lieutenants, but the reason he's chasing him is so underdeveloped that I didn't understand its importance at all. And even the telepathy shared by the four friends (which is pretty central to the story) did not have a backstory interesting enough for me to want to figure it out. Usually Stephen King is amazing at getting you hooked into his characters, and his long-windedness has a purpose behind it. But neither of those two things were true for me in Dreamcatcher.
All of this mediocrity was made worse by the fact that I did not enjoy the voice of the audiobook's narrator (Jeffrey DeMunn). This is probably more personal preference than anything, but to me, he sounds a lot like David Sedaris (if you've ever listened to one of his audios) and Sedaris's voice rather annoys me. I don't know how to describe it...he's too heavy on some consonants (every time he said "jacket pocket" I cringed) and his voice sounds...thick, for lack of a better word. I will say that he did a nice job with the wide variety of tones/voices that the book required (I never had trouble telling characters apart). But as an overall listening experience, I didn't love it.
Other than the very beginning, I'd say the ONE shining light in this novel is the references to It. Any mention of Pennywise is a win in my book.
If this was written by any other author, I would have DNF'ed it, but because it was Stephen King, I stuck through it to the very last word. Unfortunately, that's two months-worth of commute time that I'll never get back. Le sigh.
I need help readers--name your favorite King novel, so I can get back in the saddle with his books! And if you loved Dreamcatcher...why?