Saturday, November 21, 2015

Review: It by Stephen King


Synopsis: It's a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry, the haunting is real...

They were just kids when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

Date Published: September 15, 1986
Published By: Viking
Number of Pages: 1093
Rating: 5/5

You know you're reading a good horror novel when the first 15 pages scare the crap out of you. I started reading It just before bed, and I am telling you, it was a mistake. Pennywise the Clown will go down in literary history as one of the scariest, most disturbing monsters of all time. 

I love how Stephen King's books don't just scare me - they make me feel other emotions, too. Throughout It, I laughed, cried, squirmed, and, in certain moments, became very depressed. King writes so viscerally that you don't just read about what's happening to the characters - you feel it. 

I loved all of the main characters (Richie's my favorite). They are so well-developed that I feel that they could emerge from the pages and stand in front of me as living, breathing, human beings. I think this is important in a horror novel, especially. I'm not going to feel terrified for these characters if I don't care about them. 

It is an epic tale about a town that has something rotten living in it. King really fleshes out the history of Derry and all of the horrifying things that have happened there. But even more frightening than the supernatural entity that lives in Derry are the horrors that human beings inflict upon each other. King demonstrates this again and again throughout the novel, depicting abusive husbands and fathers, maniacal bullies, violent racism, murderous homophobia; the list goes on and on. This is what makes It especially disturbing -  childhood monsters, while powerful, can eventually be defeated, but the monsters that haunt humanity are not so easily overcome. 

The ending is bittersweet - it broke my heart a little. Still, it was a fitting one and I don't think I would change it for something happier. 

It is not just King's most terrifying novel - it might just be the greatest work of horror literature of all time. 

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