Tag Archives: Stephen King

KendallReviews chronological Stephen King read through.

I was 2 when Stephen King’s debut novel, Carrie, was released in 1974. King has had a book published pretty much every year since with his latest Sleeping Beauties out 26th September. I’m a horror fan, I run a blog dedicated to reviewing horror. So why is it I have only read 4 Stephen King books?

I recall the first King book I tried to read was IT back in 1986, I was 14 or so.  I remember the book being a beast with over 1000 pages, it was also incredibly ‘wordy’ with pages of exposition. It felt to me at the time that King was saying in 5 pages what I felt could of been said in 1. I gave up on IT after a few attempts to read it.

I wanted my horror more immediate, and found myself drawn to  the likes of James Herbert, Richard Laymon or Shaun Hutson. These authors satisfied my wish for quick punchy, gory tales that were a quick read. I wanted my horror fiction like the movies I was watching at the time. As the years passed, I have dipped back into the King Bibliography and read Carrie, Cycle of the Werewolf, The Tommyknockers & Skeleton Crew enjoying them all, but never venturing any further.

Of course, thinking about this now I’m hanging my head in shame. There is nothing wrong with the quick fix approach to horror fiction, Herbert in particular has a raft of quality novels under his name. I honestly cannot say why it’s taken me so long to finally decide to do this, it’s something I’ve toyed with for years.  My tastes in horror literature have broadened since I first picked IT up with incredibly eloquent writers like Clive Barker & Adam Nevill, among others, filling my bookshelves.

So here I am, in the incredibly fortunate position of being a first time reader for books long deemed classics. The chronological read through will begin once I have read and reviewed the upcoming Stephen/Owen King collaboration Sleeping Beauties.

There have been some superb blogs doing exactly the same as I am about to take on, and I wouldn’t dream of even trying to compare what I’m doing to them. This is my journey, I’ll post updates as and when, with reviews and thoughts as I read my way through 43 years of Stephen King.

Of course, I won’t be reading King exclusively, I’ll be interweaving his work with the books I review for the blog. I think it’s going to work well…I really can’t wait to start, I’m looking forward to when I can call myself a Constant Reader.

Gwendy’s Button Box – Stephen King & Richard Chizmar (Kendall Review)

This 164 page novella, covers a decade in the life of Gwendy Peterson, a body conscious 12-year-old  trying to address her suffering at the hands of cruel bullies and prepare herself for the step up into middle school and adulthood. Her life’s thrown a curve ball when, after finishing her daily exercise routine of running up the ‘Suicide Stairs’ she meets a mysterious man, who offers her a button box.

This box has a power, the power to make you better, to make you faster, stronger, smarter, even more beautiful. On the flip side, the box with just the press of a button, could change the world. This novella follows Gwendy as she grows and matures with the box and how her choices change her life and the people around her.

I found this a thoroughly enjoyable quick read, but it’s not without flaws. I felt the story needed fleshing out more. There is a larger book hidden away in here. I understand that not spoon-feeding the reader and leaving them something to think about once the book snaps shut is sometimes a good thing, but for me there were too many questions left unanswered. There is not quite enough meat on a very interesting  set of bones.

Saying that, it certainly didn’t spoil Gwendy’s story, as I followed her with a delicious sense of unease and tension.

I really do hope we get to find out more about the button box in the near future.

Star Rating (out of 5): 4****