The Stand begins as the first days of the “superflu” hits the United States. Then come the dreams, dark dreams that warn of the coming dark man, the apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads, the Prince of Evil. It is the dark prince’s time and as His empire grows in the west so looms the Apocalypse.
I realize that when this book was first released, I was not even a thought in my Mum’s head, so my review of this novel comes 37 years late, but I’m going to review it anyway.
Anyway, I was completely blown away. The story, the characters and OHMYGOSH THE TENSION!!! I can quite honestly say that I have never read a book of this size so quickly (I finished it in 3 days). I found it funny how King himself said, in the forward, that he doesn’t think the Stand is amongst his best books, but the one he is asked the most questions about. I must agree with King on this one; The Shining and Pet Sematary are better-written books, but there is just something about the Stand that makes it a thrilling ride right to the very last page.My main question when I finished this mammoth book: What inspired King to kill 99% of the world’s population?
With a little research, what I found reminded me a lot of the Trashcan Man, a character in The Stand. “I like to burn things up,” he said. “It’s the werewolf in me, I guess… The Stand was particularly fulfilling, because there I got a chance to scrub the whole human race, and man was it fun!… Much of the compulsive, driven feeling I had while working on The Stand came from the vicarious thrill of imagining and entire entrenched social order destroyed in one stroke,”
Now that I’m old enough and have read enough across all the varying literature that is available to confidently state that King is an excellent, and by many underrated, author. To put it simply, he is one of the greatest storytellers of his generation who is only pigeon-holed as a schlock of horror writer by those who haven’t actually read his work. Unfortunately, I was one of those that, at one point, would reach for Matheson over King any day. Yes, that shames me to say so, but it’s the truth. The Stand, in my humble opinion of course, is one of his best stories. Not the best executed arguably, but the tale was always compelling and never dull.