27 November 2017

Review: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

* Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

Sleeping Beauties is a collaboration between father and son, and is written seamlessly. Stephen King and his son Owen have teamed up to explore what happens when the women in the world succumb to a sleeping sickness. But there's always one exception to the rule and Eve doesn't fall victim to the illness. Is she the devil or their saviour?

Women fight to stay awake, but when they eventually fall asleep they're quickly covered in a cocoon of gauzy web-like substance. The book eventually explains this, but as in Under The Dome, the novel is more about what happens to the people left behind and how they react. There were many unanswered questions by the end, but I think you just need to 'go with it' - as in Cell and UR - and give yourself over to the premise.

Told in multiple points of view from many many characters in the town of Dooling in West Virginia, the plot unfolds quite rapidly over a relatively short period of time. Much of the story takes place at a women's prison which King writes very well and some readers will enjoy the parallels to other novels in the King canon.

Sleeping Beauties unashamedly and unapologetically raises and explores the issue of gender politics, clearly - in my opinion - siding with the women. Some feminists are likely to find themselves nodding along, while it wouldn't surprise me if this irked a few readers; me included.

The climax of the book for me took place at the prison, and this scene is begging to be played out on the big screen. The multiple points of view and rolling action does make for a massive tome though, and Sleeping Beauties comes in at 700+ pages. At the end of the day, it's a hefty read and I think it would work better as a movie or TV mini series. With the recent success of Stephen King adaptations, this has a good chance of happening.

My rating = ***

Carpe Librum!

4 comments:

Brona Joy said...

What irked you about the feminist agenda ?

Given that women often fair poorly in many of King's earlier books, it might be a nice change?
It and The Stand are my high point standard for King (with honorary mentions to Pet Semetary, the Gunslinger series and 11/22/63) - how does this compare to them?

Sorry lots of questions tonight - I'm in a weird decision making void/avoid!!

Tracey said...

Hey Brona, more than happy to try and answer your questions :-) I just wasn't terribly interested in the feminist agenda angle and it didn't really raise anything new (for me). The content often felt self-deprecating in nature but I'm sure some readers may find it refreshing.

I haven't read It and The Stand, but I much preferred Under the Dome and 11.22.63 to Sleeping Beauties. Good luck with your decision. I kind of rate Stephen King in the automatically read category, but I just wouldn't rush to read this one.

Brona Joy said...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Mr Books will want to read this for sure, so I'll just wait til I'm in the mood. Under the Dome was a good one - I'd forgotten - the too long tv series got in the way!!

Tracey said...

You're welcome Brona, and I agree, the tv series for Under The Dome didn't have anything on the book.