Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Long Walk

The Long WalkThe Long Walk by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Every year, 100 boys take part in a nightmarish pilgrimage called The Long Walk, the winner receiving The Prize and a ton of cash. Ray Garraty is one of the contestants. Will he win The Prize or be one of the ninety-nine dead boys on the road?

Wow. And I thought the six mile hike I went on in October was rough. Imagine walking non-stop, day and night, and getting shot if you stop too long? That's the horror of The Long Walk.

The Long Walk takes place in a slightly different reality, where Germany had a nuclear reactor in Santiago in 1953, and where the Major runs a spectacle ever year, The Long Walk. The Long Walk seems like an ancestor of The Hunger Games in some ways, although the Long Walk seems to be voluntary.

Unlike the Hunger Games, this book is pretty brutal. Imagine having to go to the bathroom in front of a crowd of spectators while continuously walking. And never being able to sleep. And seeing people gunned down in front of you after they've been warned three times. Like I said, pretty brutal.

As usual, Stephen King crafts an interesting cast. Garraty, McVries, Stebbins, Barkovitch, Scramm, the list is pretty long for a short book. Part of the brutality is that you don't know whose ticket is going to get punched next.

I really wanted to give this a five but I couldn't. My lone problem with this one was the dialogue. So many of the boys sounded like they were in their twenties or thirties rather than being teenagers. Usually, I find King's dialogue a lot more realistic but it pulled me out of the story a few times.

4.5 out of 5. I'm going to track down more of these Bachman books of King's now.

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