Saturday, July 31, 2010

Carrie and Cujo (the books)

It's time for yet another double-feature, boys and girls, Constant Readers all! A Stephen King two-fer. It'll be pretty brief, just the basics here. We're taking a look at two of his big 3 C's. Sorry, car fans, no Christine for you yet. Someday.

Carrie: Well, ladies and gents, it's time to go back. Way back. All the way back to the beginning. That's right. The very first Stephen King novel ever published, all the way back in the 1970s. The one that started it all. It's the novel about the little telekinetic girl that could, and the prom night that no one will ever forget. We all know a Carrie White, so be warned...

For a first novel, this is a really solid effort. The pages turn with ease, and Stephen King's telltale style shines through brightly. I enjoyed this lovely festival of horror, especially since it has a different method of unspooling from the rest of King's works. The amalgamation of multiple sources, mixed in with traditional narrative text, gives Carrie a unique feel, something akin to Avi's Nothing But the Truth, but much, much darker. It's not King's best, but it'll give you chills nonetheless.

My rating: 9/10

Cujo: Man's best friend is about to become his worst enemy. When a normally lovable dog comes into contact with the shadows, the lives of a family will never be the same. Simple in premise, yet multifaceted in its approach, this one bites.

Rarely has any Stephen King story been so basic: Mother and son are trapped in an overheating car by a rabid dog. But King tells it differently than just a straight-up scare-fest. Which it could easily become. But the characters themselves lend the book drama. 400 pages of Cujo trying to break into a car might eventually get boring. King makes it more special. No book this basic should provide this much white-knuckle enjoyment. And yet, King makes this one into a winner. Not as good as his best, but still an excellent, different, read.

My rating: 9/10

Coming Soon: The Desert Spear and more.

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