Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm pleasantly surprised by this novel. For a book ostensibly about the conflicts between men, it REALLY underscores the conflicts between men and women. :)
I am torn, however, between whether this is a fantasy or a horror. I mean, it has all the bottom-barrel elements of people of both sexes and nasty and heartbreaking events happening to everyone, sure, but when it comes to the straight horror, it dwells mainly on A: jackholes taking advantage of the sleeping women, B: the necessity of staying awake if you're one of the last women, and, occasionally, C: the rage-filled consequences of waking these beauties.
My intuition is itching here. I mean, despite all the PoV sequences of the women in the prison and a smattering of a few others, I'm only seeing the rage of the abused and the abusers, with only one PoV, Frank, that kinda straddles the line between them. Evie was supposedly his counterpart, but this is where the whole horror-feel kinda fell apart for me.
Animals, yo. Greenman. (ahem, Greenwoman.)
And then there is the epic conflict between good and evil, with The Stand kind of feel, but focused more on the battle of the sexes, asking the question whether we should even bother trying as a species or if genocide is right and proper. I mean, CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG? Do we have to STOP the human race?
The full novel is pretty darn good and has all the feels and thrills I've come to expect from King, and lacking a frame of reference with Owen, I'm not disappointed. But after thinking about the end events, I'm kinda of the opinion that the end is ... kinda weak. The reveal for Evie was both good and bad. Good because I kinda love that the trope is entering into a modern book again, but bad because it's a REALLY old hat. I want to love it but I've seen too much Disney, too.
But how else could it have ended? It could have bucked all expectations and I probably would have raved, then. But it didn't and the end just had to be this way.
So, let's be real. I took away a star because it wasn't courageous enough. Read Alderman's The Power instead.
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