Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Father and Son of Horror

Today we welcome Ragan with her first guest post on our blog!

Stephen King (left) and his son Joe Hill
I started reading Stephen King’s books at a VERY young age; the first book being The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which I read at age 12. Now, if you are a fan of Stephen King you will know that this particular book is very tame compared to his other novels, but soon after reading it, I was on to the next and the next—each one more scary and disturbing then the last. My mother is a fan of King and owns personal copies of most of his books, so I had easy access to them. I would not recommend any of Stephen King’s books to a middle school-aged child of course, but I turned out fine and King’s books are what ignited my love for reading.

I will admit now that I have not read all of Stephen King’s books (he does have over 50 books published after all). I have enjoyed most of the ones that I have read, but I suffer a very short attention span when it comes to reading and I have to switch up authors and characters often or I run the risk of growing bored. I do plan to read them all…eventually.

My love for Stephen King’s work led me to read the work of his son, Joe Hill. Before I read any of Joe Hill’s books, I would have considered Stephen King my favorite author. If you were to ask me today who my favorite author is, Hill would be my choice. If you are not familiar with Joe Hill, he has published four novels so far, along with several short stories and graphic novels. His work falls into the horror genre. I find his writing style very readable and his stories are more paranormal and spooky, whereas Stephen King’s are typically much more violence and gore driven.

Last year Joe Hill released N0S4A2. It is a book about a magical and horrible place called Christmasland, where an evil vampire-like man, Charles Manx, takes abducted children; he absorbs their “life-source” to stay alive, and the children become scary creatures with razor sharp teeth. The main character, Vic, is abducted by Manx as a child, but escapes. Years later when her son is abducted, she travels to Christmasland to save her son and seek vengeance.

A few months after the release of N0S4A2, Stephen King released Doctor Sleep. I would consider The Shining to be my all-time favorite book, so of course I was excited to read the sequel. It picks up much later during the adult life of Danny Torrance, the little boy with psychic abilities who barely escapes the clutches of his demented father and the terrifying spirits of the Overlook Hotel. In Doctor Sleep, Dan is using his psychic abilities to soothe dying patients in a nursing home when he is contacted by a young girl with similar abilities, named Abra. When Abra witnesses a terrible murder of a young boy, also with psychic abilities, by a group of people known as the True Knot, she reaches out to Dan for help. The True Knot, the main villains of Doctor Sleep, are very old and feed off the “steam” of children with psychic power.

You can see the obvious parallels in these stories by Hill and King. The True Knot is briefly mentioned in N0S4A2, and Charles Manx is also brought up by a member of the True Knot in Doctor Sleep, meaning Hill and King meant for these two stories to be taking place in the same world, which I think is pretty cool.

Having read all of Joe Hill’s published books, I felt that Doctor Sleep was similar in style to Hill’s writing and King’s own older works, which I enjoy more than his novels of the late 1990s and early 2000s. If King’s newest releases are any indication, including Mr. Mercedes (which is more of a mystery/psychological thriller) then King seems to be changing up his style a bit and I, for one, am excited for that.

I very much enjoyed both of these books and I would definitely recommend them to anyone who is a fan of either author. Neither of these stories are overly gory or violent, but still very creepy.

Fingers crossed for a real collaboration of some sort from this father and son! In my opinion, based on the success of N0S4A2 and Doctor Sleep, it would be a wonderfully scary experience.

~Ragan S.

1 comment:

  1. Good job Ragan, will try Hill. Enjoy the paranormal more than the King gore. Do we see a new mini series made for TV movie here?