San Dieguito Academy Newspaper

“Sleeping Beauties” Isn’t a Snore

October 13, 2017

Stephen King worked with his son on his most recent book.

Courtesy of stephenking.com

Stephen King worked with his son on his most recent book.

The novel “Sleeping Beauties” by Stephen King is like an odd blend of “Orange is the New Black” and a zombie apocalypse. The story focuses on the women’s county jail as well as other eccentric characters from a small town. The book is told through a wide array of perspectives, and surprisingly all have fast-paced subplots.

The premise is nothing new for a King novel; it has the spooky small town feel and some supernatural phenomena beginning to unfold similar to “It” and “Insomnia.” In this case it involves an all- knowing mystery woman, moths, and Aurora, a global virus causing women to fall into seemingly permanent sleep.

“Sleeping Beauties” was published last month, in perfect timing for the Halloween season. It was co-written by Stephen King and his son, Owen King. There was lots of excitement about the release, especially with the spike in attention Stephen King has received from the new “It” movie.

At the start you hit the ground running. As soon as women fall asleep their faces begin to be covered in a web like cocoon. If others try to tear away at the gauze like wrap the women become demonic and feral. As all this is occurring the mysterious Eve Black makes her appearance in the town of Dooling, and has an strange unknown connection to the sleeping women. Bigger picture, it depicts a world without women in a time of crisis.

On a more negative note, a world without women isn’t a new synopsis, and it has a strong apocalyptic feel that’s been done one too many times. Also, the book, which I was expecting to try and equalize the sexes, ended up relying heavily on stereotypes. The men are either violent heroes or violent idiots. All the women are shown as caregivers and are often leaving poor marriages. I would disagree with the idea that a society of only women is smooth sailing like portrayed in this book.

It is told through multiple perspectives which isn’t a new trick. However, all the characters stories are artfully woven together and I can’t imagine it being told any other way. It builds suspense by making you just wait long enough between perspectives. The downside is the number of characters make it hard to know who is who. Each character’s story isn’t too different from one another so it all kind of blurs together.

It would most likely be the equivalent to a PG-13 movie, but it is a violent book (no surprise there really). There is nothing too crazy, but here is your mature content warning. Also, is isn’t a horror book as much as a thriller. If you are looking for scary, try some of King’s older books.

The cover is eye catching, but physically picking it up is intimidating since it is a 702 page novel. But by all means, the page count shouldn’t discourage you from reading this book. It is easy reading. This book grabs you and takes you along for the ride whether you want to go or not. A hundred pages go by like 10, and this is coming from the perspective of a slow reader. If I managed to tear through this book in seven days, anyone can.

The book starts out with a three page list of the town characters; so you know what type of book you signed up for. However, it wasn’t a large commitment like I expected, and there was no lull in the middle like most books of great length.

Unfortunately, some plot problems are never solved, they just create more problems. It could have been shorter if a few characters were cut out. They weren’t boring, just not a necessity for the story, and for the sake of time.

It is average, but for a fantasy book I surprisingly liked it a lot more than expected. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an easy book to last them quite some time. It doesn’t require much thought to read it, and it is very dramatic. Honestly, it is good for what it is.

About the Contributor
Photo of Taylor Gates
Taylor Gates, Features Editor

I’m Taylor Gates. I had a dream I was friends with a three legged dog.  Unfortunately, the dang dream wasn’t real, but I still love lil patches.

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