“Lightning never strikes the same place twice,” or so the common wisdom goes. However, unlike lightning, Stephen King strikes over and over and over again.
With his latest book, REVIVAL, released in November of last year, American author Stephen King adds yet another juicy, entertaining and well-thought story to a long line of successes that started with Carrie and ending with Mr. Mercedes (his last novel published before Revival in June of 2014). Although Revival might not rise to the status of some of his other stories such as The Shining or IT, it still does present us with a very rich reading experience. And here’s why.
First off, if you’ve ever listened to any of King’s interviews you will know one important fact about his story telling (and if you haven’t listened to his interviews, I am about to tell you anyway!), he always builds his stories around ideas of What If? Regular, mundane, everyday occurrences that he might encounter which then beg the question, What If? Then he takes that What If, runs with it, and then brings us these entertaining stories that he’s been sending out into the world since the seventies.
Revival is no different in being another one of those What If stories. I can’t really tell you the What If in this book because then I would be giving away some important plot points. But it begins with a young priest, a 5-year old boy, and a lot of what ifs in between until it reaches the climactic ending.
Another important fact about Stephen King’s story telling that shows very well in Revival is his complicated multi-dimensional characters. In Revival, the character of the priest, Reverend Jacobs is the one that stuck with me more, but it was a fulfilling experience to follow this character’s development over the course of the 400+ pages and the five decades over which the story unfolds.
Revival was released worldwide last November but is hitting our shelves recently, and you should pick it up because it has something for everyone. If you never read a Stephen King novel before, this could be a good starting point. If you are a fan, well you really don’t need this review anyway; we both now you’re going to read it no matter what I say. If you are in it for an entertaining read, then you will get the great characters, interesting plot line, and an above-average ending, that doesn’t take away from your overall journey.
But after all that being said, the beauty and strength of Revival and the reason I chose it as a subject for this review is that it’s thought-provoking. In this story, the author tackles so many themes, I’m not even sure he intended to highlight all of them but they struck a chord with his readers nonetheless. There are aspects of friendship, religion, faith, family, addiction, recovery and the big question of what happens after death. The great thing about King is that he does not force his opinions on the reader. He does express them, but he gives you, the reader, room to make up your own mind. And man is your mind going to be tripping after this book!
I can easily say that Revival is one of the most influential books that I have ever read. And the theme of lighting that runs through the whole story felt like the perfect metaphor for what I felt was going on in my mind after finishing it. Even if you don’t want to bother yourself with too many existential questions you are still in for a great ride. I can at least promise you that within the first fifty pages you will encounter one of the few scenes that will linger in your memory or a long time after closing the book.