NOS4A2-couln’t wait for it to end! Seriously. Somebody needs to introduce Joe Hill to Ira Levin, author of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “Boys from Brazil.” Good stories told with tightly written prose. Not present in this brick of boredom-NOS4A2.
And the story of NOS4A2 is not actually about a vampire. Not at all. The story can be told in short order: Charlie Manx collects children in his old Rolls Royce, taking them to Christmasland, an evil place with a deceptively happy (if not just-plain-silly-not-at-all-scary) name, where they are slowly bled of all goodness to prolong his life, turned into needle-toothed minions; Vic is a good, but troubled girl, with the ability to find things on her bike/motorbike by opening a paranormal porthole through a covered bridge at will; she finds Manx and destroys him, after he takes her child to Christmasland. This story shouldn’t have taken over 750 pages.
NOS4A2 is an attempt by Stephen King’s son to live up to the monumental accomplishment of “It”. The parallels are plain:
– It: Pennywise alters reality to kill his prey, and feeds off their fear to survive.
– NOS4A2: Manx alters reality where he takes his prey and feeds off their energy to prolong his life.
Both stories have clownish-like antagonists. Like It, NOS4A2 is also extremely long. Unlike It, the journey is not worth it. After about halfway through, I realized that I could just read only the first sentence of most chapters and still keep up with the story. NOS4A2 just WAY too wordy, not a punchy pace or compelling tone.
And the characters were either not that likeable, or just too evil or common stereotypes. Manx was all bad all the time, and not scary; toward the end the reader wonders whether he himself is a victim of the Rolls. Vic is not that likeable; she turns her back on the only friend she ever had (other than her fat, witless husband), who winds up dead because Vic was passed out at the time, and because she turned her away when she needed her. The police are also clueless.
Joe (Hill) King has written some good stories. “Heart Shaped Box” scared me to pieces. But NOS4A2 does not belong on any short list of best horror novels. The scariest thing about this book is that most blog reviewers (see e.g. see Amazon and Goodreads) seem to be coo coo about this book. Maybe Hill hired Cambridge Analytica to do his marketing. (This is one of the reasons Trump was elected after all.) Maybe they all took a ride in the wrong limo. Whatever the reason, if this earns such widespread acclaim, then the real scary story here is that the future of worthy novels is bleak.