Starting off my Reading Challenge 2019 with a bang is ‘Sleeping Beauties’ penned by a Papa King/Baby King collaboration. Of course I’m talking about Stephen King and his son Owen King. I thought it was really special to read a book created by two great authors who happen to be father and son. But as well, I mean it’s pretty special to write a book with your dad when your dad is Stephen King!
First things first, I’ve noticed that people have mixed reviews of this book. As soon as I finished it I went on my Goodreads account to check out what people thought of it. I was surprised to find such a conflicting array of opinions on this book.
I’m all for everyone being entitled to their own opinion I mean isn’t that why most people blog? To share their opinion, which also happens to be exactly what I am doing in this post. However, it was the reasoning’s behind those opinions that I wholly disagreed with. On average the reviews that said they didn’t like the book were because of these three reasons:
- There were too many characters in the book.
- The book was too long.
- The ending wasn’t satisfying enough.
In my view none of these things were ‘bad things’. Therefore I wrote a review on Goodreads to express how I felt about it. I will link my Goodreads account at the bottom of this post if you wish to go read it yourself however I am going to be using the structure of that review here as well, to show why I think the points above aren’t negatives and as to why I personally loved this book.
So, first off, yes there are lots of characters. The two King’s use their beautiful skills of writing deep-rooted characters to it’s max. The book even comes with a list of all the characters in the front. Their names, ages and their relation to other characters. So, yes, there’s no denying that there are a lot of characters within this book. I however do not see this as a negative. The abundance of characters are all written exceptionally and only add to the complex,compelling nature of the book.
I don’t see eye-to-eye with someone who thinks a book is ‘too complicated’ if it has more than 4 main characters. Many people in the reviews stated they ‘gave up’ reading the book because of too many characters being introduced. I could fully understand this if the amount and grounds of the characters themselves were unnecessary, however every character in this book was completely necessary to tell the story. If you are someone who gives up reading a book because an author, or in this case authors, has introduced more than 5 well-written, well-rehearsed and much-needed characters into their book then you are missing out. This book would not and could not have been better if it only had 2 leading characters with semi-shallow character history/development. Yes, for this book you have to put a little effort into getting to know the characters but once you do the beauty of this book takes you under its (moth-like) wings.
Secondly, yes this book is a little long. I mean again I struggle to agree with people who think this. I say the longer the better. The longer the book is the longer I get to stay in the beautiful world that has been created. However, I do understand there’s a limit and it’s different for everyone. Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Miserables’ springs to mind, coming in at a huge 1,400 page count! The thing with length is that it has to be necessary similarly to the amount of characters, I feel like this King feature fills that criteria. This is because as much as this novel is about the plot it’s also about the characters within it. Their growth and struggles. Once you appreciate all the characters in all their glory, you really start to appreciate the length. People don’t change in a turn of a page. Or 50 pages. Sometimes it takes 700+ pages to fully develop such deep rooted characters. The length of this book coupled with the array of characters adds up to hard work. Yes! Hard work to read a book! Hard work to remember who’s who and keep looking back at the list of characters helpfully stored at the front of the book! But is this hard work worth it? Undoubtedly and profusely yes.
I don’t know who wrote the majority of this book whether it be King Jr or King Sr, but I thank them for their effort in being able to clearly draw such characters and put aside so much space and time for them to grow and develop.
Finally, yes the ending may not satisfy you completely. Sometimes you have those books that finish off by tying themselves in a nice bow and folding in on themselves connecting all those little plot holes in your lap. Then sometimes you get those books where they leave you standing beside a gaping hole looking into all the possible ways the story could have ended but didn’t, a hole of frustration but bemusement that leaves you wanting more. I enjoy both equally. I enjoy completely knowing what happened and I also enjoy not knowing, leaving room for interpretation as you dream up ‘what happened next?’ As for the ending of ‘Sleeping Beauties’, I can accept the absence of a non concluding ‘fairytale’ ending. I fully and wholly appreciate this book for what it is. A complicated flurry of people. People who are good, bad and downright crap. How those people become other people, hurt other people and help other people.
I think to hate on this book for having too many (amazing) characters, being too long (where it takes time to develop the characters and fully express the story to do it justice) and it’s ending not being satisfying (I mean c’mon it’s Stephen King, he is quite literally the king of leaving you staring into gaping holes searching for answers) is unfair. To do so is minimising the issues embedded in society that this book raises. Issues of gender inequality, drug addiction and abuse. Sometimes these issues are ugly and sometimes they’re exhausting and hard to get through but the other side is always worth it. They happen to you and me alike and I think we are worthy of a voice in this book even if our back stories are cluttered and unnecessary, even if our tales are too long and become complex for people outside our struggle to understand and even if the endings of our tales aren’t satisfying because sometimes they just aren’t, because that’s human.
If you are reading this book, please get to know the characters. Give it a chance. I think you will appreciate what you come out with.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was absolutely enthralled from start to finish. If you enjoy the type of books where you miss the characters and can’t help wondering what they’re up to as soon as you finish reading then I highly recommend this double serving of King.
My rating for ‘Sleeping Beauties’ co-written by Stephen King and Owen King is 5 hearts out of 5 hearts! ♥♥♥♥♥
This book has provided a great start for my 2019 Reading Challenge and I can’t wait to move on to my next book! I will be uploading a blog post on Monday revealing the next book I will be reading along with my initial thoughts and expectations. Also, a little bit about what I’m getting up to.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first book review, sorry if it’s a little long but I felt extra passionate about this book and felt that it had earned my praise! Feel free to tell me your thoughts on the book in the comments and also give me some recommendations for what books to read for my Reading Challenge 2019!
Thank you for reading,
love, bella x