The Dark Half
Should come as no surprise that I listened to the audio book. Grover was an unremarkable narrator. There was nothing for me to complain about but there was nothing that made me what to look for his other works. The advantage to this kind of narrator is that they blend into the background and I stop noticing them. That allows you to experience the book for the words as they were written. It also means that they aren’t ruining things by reading it terribly 😛 But it means that the narrator isn’t bringing themselves to the book. Part of what I enjoy about listening to an audio book is listening to the way that the narrator imagines the world they are reading. Thus, the narrators that I enjoy the most are the ones that give a flavor to the book that the author didn’t. Grover did not bring that to this reading.
This was a pretty classic King book. I have always had a mixed relationship with King’s writing. There are times that his writing style gets in the way and I can’t get into the story. There are just times that I find myself paying more attention to how he is writing rather than the story itself. This book had a few times that happened. That being said, it is something that I expect when I read a King book. I think that we all have a few authors that have a writing style that bugs us. I’m just a weirdo that keeps reading his stuff anyway 😉
Another issue that I often have with King was present in this book. The lines between good and evil are never as clearly drawn in real life as they are in King’s books. This lessens the reality of the book and makes it less complex than it could be. And I like complex!
My biggest disappointment with this book is that the 2 main characters were too black and white. Thad was a more complex character than George. In some ways this works for the book given the context that Thad has, in some part, created George. However, I think that this book could have been more. If King had allowed George to have some positive traits, the conflict between him and Thad would have been much more intense. As it is, I never had any sympathy for George. It didn’t matter that he was fighting to survive, I just wanted to see him dead. A more complex character would have allowed for a deeper look into the nature of good and evil. It would have also allowed a closer look at the drive to survive and the question of what is justified when you are fighting to live. But George’s lack of complexity stripped that potential from the book and I found it disappointing.
I liked the use of the sparrows. It added to the supernatural feel of the book without being heavy handed. I think it would have been better if he didn’t explain the sparrows and just let them be present. Sometimes King explains too much. Yet, when it comes to the supernatural, the point is that it cannot be explained.
Overall, I liked the plot. It was an interesting take on a classic idea. While I thought it was predictable how the book would end, I did not predict all the turns in the road before arriving at that destination. I found that a fun journey to take. It felt like going to a beach site that you’re familiar with but taking a roundabout scenic tour to get there. This made the book more about the journey then the end and that was alright. The downside to this is that I never really felt like the good guys were in jeopardy.