**4.5-stars rounded up**
A bizarrely assembled cast of characters, all with distinct strengths and weaknesses, come together to fight an evil, older and more powerful than they could have ever imagined.
That would be my single-sentence synopsis if someone were to ask me what Desperation is about. If you have ever read a Stephen King novel however, you know there is a lot more to it than that.
I read Desperation for the first time around 2001. I was just done with undergraduate school and was so excited to have time to read for fun. I read quite a few King books that year. At the time, I remember liking it but I wasn’t blown away and ultimately decided on a 3-star rating.
Now, close to 20-years later, this is pretty damn close to a perfect read for me.
What can explain the difference?
I’m not really sure. I was so invested in this. The characters were a huge part of the enjoyment factor for me. In my very humble opinion, no one does characters quite like King. He is a master of developing every aspect of character’s personality and the reasons behind it. You never wonder what’s the motivation, you know.
This also has one of my all-time favorite tropes. The mix-matched group of characters, placed into extraordinary circumstances, who band together, no matter their ultimate disagreements about the world, and fight against evil.
Good v. Evil.
I love it.
I’m here for it pretty much every time.
This novel is extremely violent, bloody and graphic. Some of the scenes made my toes curls and my stomach lurch. If that is not your thing, you may want to hard pass on this one. The use of creepy crawlers to instill fear was expertly crafted; again, those with strong fears of snakes, spiders, scorpions, or other beasties of that sort, may want to steer clear.
My one extremely slight critique would be that the final showdown felt a little rushed, hence the 4.5-star rating, as opposed to full 5. This book has a nice, long build-up, and I could definitely have read some more substance at the end. It was great but still I wanted more!
Overall, I am beyond happy that I took the plunge and reread this 706-page beast of modern, horror fiction. I am currently rereading The Regulators and totally digging the many connections I missed the first time around. I would definitely recommend reading these two back-to-back for maximum enjoyment!