After heavy analysis, many painstakingly terrifying chapters, a week and a half of reading, an apocalypse, the perishing of millions upon millions of living beings, many close calls of death with my favorite characters, and 1439 pages of genu-ine, uncut, bloody, and violent Stephen King product, I have finished The Stand.
Yes, The Stand. One of the most talked about Stephen King books ever. The Stand which, in many conversations, has come up as a reader's all time favorite novel by the master of horror himself.
I can now die saying that I finally finished THE Stand.
I'm sure you all know of the plot by now, but if not, I'll run it by you real quick...
A super flu has wiped out almost all of humanity. At first you think "it's just a cold." Perhaps you drink only tea and soup for a day or so, hoping you'll get better soon. Maybe you will get better...for a little while. Then it comes back full force, and before you can even pick up the phone to call the doctor, your neck swells, you throat has closed up, and part of your skin has turned black. You are a victim of this unknown super flu, which has killed every other single living person in the world.
Only a small percentage of the human race is still alive, and soon they start to find each other. They seek each other out, because not only do they have survival in common, but they all have something else in common as well. They all dream of an elderly woman who brings them comfort...and a dark man who brings them pain.
Half of the survivors seek sanctuary, and the others...they are recruited into the Dark One's army.
Most of my reading experience of The Stand consisted of seeking out which characters I loved the most, praying that they (or at least most of them) live until the end, and trying to calm down my heart and slow its heavy beating against my chest.
Every Stephen King book needs to come with a warning that says, "May cause heart attacks. Seriously."
I still stand by the fact that a) I really love Stephen King's newer work the most (with some exceptions). b) Stephen King really knows how to write female characters that make me want to light my book on fire (which I would never do...but I came close, the only exception is Abra from Doctor Sleep). And c) Stephen King can be horrifically violent, almost to the point of making me lose my lunch.
But...Dear God, is this man a genius. I can't say The Stand is my favorite Stephen King book ever, and I can't say that I prefer his older work over his newer work (as I said, there are exceptions to that opinion of mine), but I will say that The Stand is my FAVORITE of his older work. Compared to It, The Shining, and Carrie...well, I really can't compare them, because The Stand was pretty exceptional.