Revival by Stephen King
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When Jamie Morton first encounters the Reverend Charles Daniel Jacobs, he is six years old. Jacobs cures his brother's muteness, only to leave town a broken man when his wife and son are killed. Jamie and the Rev will cross paths again and again as the Rev seeks to master what he calls the secret electricity, the energy that powers the universe...
I found this book to be an extremely mixed bag, which you'll read in a moment.
Revival follows the life of Jamie Morton, a rhythm guitarist, whose life intersects with Charles Jacobs, a priest/huckster/mad scientist who things electricity is the key to most of life's mysteries. I'm going to keep this as spoiler-free as possible.
Since Stephen King produces best sellers more often than I wash my car, I tend to forget what a great writer he is. I think if he didn't love scaring the piss out of people, he probably would have been a literary writer of some renown. The characters he creates in this seem very real, with an exception I'll cover in a minute. The picture he paints of Jamie Morton's life is very well written, warts and all.
While I enjoyed reading the book due to the Kingliness of the writing, it wasn't all that exciting. I was interested in Jamie's journey from rock and roller to drug addict to studio musician but the meat of the story was whenever he crossed paths with Charles Jacobs, or whatever he was calling himself at the time. Structurally, it reminded me of The Shining. There was a long buildup with just enough teasing to keep me interested. If it wasn't for the ending, I probably would have given this a two.
The other thing that didn't quite sit right is that Jacobs evolved from being one cartoonish stereotype to another, from devout priest to carny to evangelist to scene-chewing villain. He's the one character I never really believed in. Also, what's with Stephen King's recent obsession with carnies? Doctor Sleep and Joyland both featured them and now this one.
All that being said, I was entertained by Revival but not enthralled by it. I LOVED the glimpse of the afterlife at the end. "That is not dead which can eternal lie" indeed. Also, the King Easter eggs were also cool.
I didn't love it but it's definitely better than Joyland, Doctor Sleep, and Mr. Mercedes. We'll call it 3.5 out of 5.
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