Whenever you pick up a Stephen King novel, there’s one thing you can always rely on: you won’t be bored. You may be shocked or terrified or bemused or even disgusted, but boredom should never come into it.
Which is what surprised me about last year’s Revival. It’s well-written and it creates the atmosphere and it sets the scene beautifully – but after 30 pages you start waiting for a punchline or at the very least a vague but intriguing promise of it, and it just never arrives. You’ve probably read enough books by King to know that the hook will come at some point, but before it happens – and despite the plot which is definitely there – Revival is a non-event.
For a man so passionate about music, King drags you through too many clichés in his description of the main character becoming a musician. His atheistic stance is well-known and too obvious. But the main thing – is that he doesn’t make you care. He doesn’t make you uncomfortable – which is so unlike Stephen King. Fans will like it all the same, I guess, but that’s just boring consolation.