“We lose ourselves in books, we find ourselves there too."

So long time no speak! I realise it’s been a while since my last review but I feel like reading a 1325 page Stephen King book is a pretty fair excuse – right?

I am so glad that I didn’t read this book during the height of the corona virus pandemic or I would be a little more in freak out mode because Stephen King describes the grisly death of almost every single person on Earth from this zooped up superflu…a plague. So don’t read this if you’re feeling poorly, I’m not sure it’ll help!

“In a world where so many have died, to parcel out more death is surely the gravest sin.”

After a bio-engineered virus escapes from a U.S. government laboratory, it only takes a matter of weeks for humanity to succumb. But not all have died.

“All of this was some deadly game, but it wasn’t their game.”

A small group of humans, who seem to have some sort of immunity to the disease, begin to have strange dreams. Some about an old woman, Mother Abagail asking them to come and see her; disturbing right.

We’re only scraping the surface. What’s more disturbing is the nightmares the survivors are having and a recurring figure who features in them. Randall Flagg. The Dark Man.

“Monsters appear. Attila the Hun, Genghis Khan, Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden. Charles Manson and Richard Speck and Ted Bundy…Western Man needs an occasional purging…”

And so begins an adventure, homeward bound if you will. They start on a trip across America, an America devoid of humanity. Devoid of hope. Devoid of a future.

But when the survivors unite, they realise that this plague is just the start of their problems. And suddenly the book turns into a good vs evil kind of vibe. With some survivors being drawn to Mother Abagail in Colorado, who tells them that they have been chosen by God.

“Maybe if we tell him what happened, he’ll tell his own children. Warn them. Dear children, the toys are death – they’re flashburns and radiation sickness and black, choking plague. These toys are dangerous; the devil in men’s brains guided the hands of God when they were made. Don’t play with these toys, dear children, please, not ever. Not ever again. Please…please learn the lesson. Let this empty world be your copybook.”

Slight problem: most have been drawn to Las Vegas, to Flagg, whose one goal is to destroy anyone who doesn’t pledge their allegiance to him.

Flagg is the embodiment of evil, everything you want out of a supernatural villain. He preys in those who are vulnerable and encourages them to makes things worse for everyone and he sees the plague as the perfect opportunity to announce himself as the destroyer of humanity.

“I’m their plague. I’m their dark man.”

And on the side of good, we have the goodest of goody two shoes…God himself! But this is not the Morgan Freeman, Evan Almighty type of God. No this is Old Testament God. And he demands obedience. He demands worship. And in exchange for those demands, his most faithful servants…get gruesome deaths.

Yeah you can see my predicament with this book. A tale of dark Christianity is how Stephen King himself describes this book.

The start was excellent and gripping. Each death was foretold. The end was gripping – where do we go from here? In a world with no humanity. But the middle, was boring to say the least. It didn’t hold my attention and I really struggled with reading it.

“Life was such a wheel that no man could stand upon it for long. And it always, at the end, came round to the same place again.”

This book was a three star for me but I have other Stephen king books in my TBR so I’m holding out hope!

My next bunch of books will all be on an Egyptian theme as me and my boyfriend are going there next month!

Until next time,

Keep reading,

D x

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