Stephen King’s new book, Doctor Sleep, (S&S/Scribner; S&S Audio; Thorndike), may be the definition of “review-proof.” It’s on multiple most anticipated list from the literary-leaning L.A. Times critic David Ulin’s to the more populist USA Today‘s and, really, what more does one need to say than “it’s the sequel to The Shining“?
But that won’t stop the reviewers. The NYT‘s Janet Maslin tackles it today, over a week before publication, saying it’s “scary enough to match the first book, though not better or scarier … Doctor Sleep is less panic-inducingly surreal.” She becomes more enthusiastic by the review’s end, saying that King “is so good at scaring that he can even raise goose bumps when he writes about the measles.”
Maslin’s isn’t the first review. Two others beat her to it yesterday. New York magazine judges the sequel as not as good or as scary as the first, but finds it, “Funnier, slyer, and less genre-bound.” Conversely, the New York Daily News Shcrryl Connelly is a fan, saying Doctor Sleep represents “King at his best, perhaps not as shrill as in The Shining, but thoroughly terrifying.”
The Shining was published nearly forty years ago. So far, the only review to address whether the sequel stands on its own is Library Journal‘s which says it will “satisfy anyone new to this icon in the King canon.”