Friday, September 09, 2005
Book Review: The Tommyknockers
My third Stephen King book that I've finished. Where to begin? Of course with the name 'Stephen King' emblazoned on the cover, one can't help but expect a lot, regardless of whether you're a newcomer or a longtime fan (I'm neither). Others, who have tried Stephen King and decided that his style is way too slow-paced for their tastes would know well enough to stop trying. Longtime fans who haven't read this have probably been discouraged by bad reviews, considering the fact that most fans who have tend to use the words 'disappointment' and 'Tommyknockers' in the same sentence. Well, since I'm neither a longtime fan nor a newcomer, in the end I'll have to say that I'm neither disappointed nor impressed for that matter. This book merely just 'is', where it does have glaring flaws as some fans claim, it has certain areas where it makes up for those flaws.
Alright, 'The Tommyknockers' is practically about an alien invasion of some sort. B-Grade? Not quite. And it's definitely not as typical as most 'body-snatchers' type alien stories are, though the premise would sound the same. The first part revolves around one Bobbi Anderson, who stumbles upon a strange metal object deep in the woods on the outskirts of a small town called Haven. Overcome by a strange urge, she begins digging it out, while small changes start happening to her. The story then shifts to that of Jim Gardner, Bobbi's boyfriend who's out of town at the time. Being the main protagonist of the story, he finds himself back in Haven (albeit, after a long series of unnescesarry events) to find that something is changing not just Bobbi, but all the folks of Haven. This series of events are told through small 'chapters', as the focus is removed from Jim to the rest of Haven's inhabitants, who notice the changes one way or another. And after following the viewpoint of all these people, the story ties up at the end with Gardner. A rather unique style, I'd say, which probably earns this story extra points. And since I'm an occasional sci-fi fan, the whole 'alien' premise wasn't a turn-off. It helped that the aliens weren't exactly typical, and as King always does, he makes his characters as real as real can be. Cynical, and sarcastic at times, characters in this story as you'd expect real life people to. That has always been King's finer points, in my honest opinion.
Now to the downsides. As I have often said, King isn't someone who makes you want to speed through a book. Chances are, you'll want to put down the book come 100th page or so, but as usual, if you stick around long enough, the fun'll come around eventually. You may take a few days (or weeks in my case) to get through the book, and at the end, you may not find those weeks worth it, but you won't curse yourself for paying for the book either (especially if you buy it at PLB like me). The plot has a few holes in it, here and there, and the climactic confrontations at the end left much to be desired, and you'll feel like King had a lot more explaining to do (on the Tommyknockers' part. The human parts were as usual, elaborated all TOO well).
This book has its share of moments, and being a horror novel, the moments I'm talking about are creepy. Sorta. Depends on how you define creepy. Talking dolls, and Jesus potraits, oh, and a Coke machine that moves around and kills people. Oh yeah. I'd say the moving Coke machine was the best thing in this book. Haha.
Seeing that I absolutely loved 'Salem's Lot', comparisons between the two are inevitable, so I'll just say that 'Salem's Lot' was way better than this. Of course this may possibly due to the effects the Cthulhu Mythos has had on my perception of aliens. But in all due honesty, 'Salem's Lot' didn't have as much flaws as this one did, but Tommyknockers still makes a decent read.
Now I can finally get my claws on Wolf Brother.
5 out of 10.
at 7:50 AM