Review of “The Stand” by Stephen King

Back in 2019, one of the books that I began and was determined to finish was “The Stand” by Stephen King. I ended up bringing in the new year by finishing this book. As 2020 unfolded and the pandemic occurred, I kept reflecting back on this book. Not because what happened in the book happened in real life, but because I believed in the superstition that whatever you do to bring in the new year is what you will be doing for the rest of the year. While I did end up reading pretty consistently for the rest of the year, I also became increasingly paranoid about any kind of symptom of illness just like I was when reading the book. This book has had an interesting impact on me, so I hope you enjoy my initial thoughts after reading the book.

Stephen King has always been one of my favorite authors. Every time I come across a book by him, I am always fascinated by the world he creates and the scenarios he places his characters in.

“The Stand” is no different. 

I decided to read this because it fit one of the categories for my 2019 reading challenge. When it came to books about post-apocalyptic worlds, it was a no brainer that I would choose a Stephen King novel.

From the moment I began reading the book, the plot immediately drew me in. 

A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.  

At the time I began reading this, many people at my job were becoming sick. This combined with what I was reading in the book made me extremely paranoid. 

Since I was reading the uncut version, at times the first part of the book, the section dealing with the spread of the disease, felt longer than it needed to be. However, it gave me plenty of time to become acquainted with the characters. 

Unfortunately, the downside to having these fleshed out characters that you have a bond with is when the author decides to end their story in an unsatisfactory way.  

While I will not give any spoilers, many of the characters who we follow through the epic don’t have a great ending to their story. 

The issue with an epic is that not only does the plot have to be engaging, but so do the characters. While the characters were well-developed in the first part, and I actually cared about them, once we were introduced to Mother Abigail, most of the characters stopped developing and stopped being interesting. 

It took me three months to finish this book, and while I was disappointed about the fates of the characters, I still enjoyed the novel and would recommend it to anyone who love long novels or horror, especially because a TV show will be premiering this year.* 

Overall, I give this book a 4/5 stars. It was higher, but I believe that was just the euphoria of me finally finishing the book. 

*The Stand premiered on CBS All Access December 17, 2020.

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