Review: The Dark Half (By Stephen King)

 

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Source: Goodreads

Length: 480 pages

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Thad Beaumont is a Pulitzer-winning author who finds himself at a loss for ideas. Until he created his alter-ego, George Stark, and began to write under his name. His work under Stark’s pseudonym was poles apart from his own – Stark’s style was different, his stories were different and he rose to fame as his books became bestsellers.

But Thad knew that the truth had to break one day, that people had to discover that Stark and he were the same person. But when the truth was revealed, Thad realized something – Stark and he were not the same person after all. And Thad may have wanted to kill off his pseudonym, but George Stark does not want to die.

My take:

When you pick up a novel by King, you expect something that’s going to make you uneasy, something that’ll probably have a supernatural touch, something that’ll maybe even be scary (think The Shining) and something that will push you to test the limits of your very human, very psychological fears.

While it isn’t The Shining scary, The Dark Half brings its own touch to the mix – gore. Toss in King’s ability to ‘not tell, but show’, and you are left cringing multiple times, with the first one being as early as just a few pages in.

Although not to the extent that Revival does, The Dark Half also pushes you to face some of your worst fears. While this is more the case if you’re an author or aspiring author yourself (a lot of King’s work is relevant to that group of people), you’ll find that almost anyone can associate with those fears. The reason is simple – many of us have within our own selves the characteristics we wish we didn’t have and the people we don’t want to be.

The Dark Half, then, asks a simple question: what if you got the chance, the absolute real chance, to be that person you’ve been fighting your whole life? That person you know is better in so many ways, but is also so very wrong? Who would win? Rather, who would you let win?

Other than forcing you to face those thoughts, The Dark Half also takes you on a rollercoaster ride of awe, disgust, horror, pity, sadness and empathy. The story itself is something you would expect if you’ve read King’s work before. And something you’d just accept too.

Should you read The Dark Half? Yes, if you’re a fan of King’s work because this is one of his good books (at least from the ones I’ve read thus far). If you’re new to King’s work, this is a good place to start. You won’t get the absolute dread others would give you. You may, though, get some sleepless nights if you’re turned off by the gory stuff. One thing is for sure, read The Dark Half if you like Stephen King or the genres of horror and thriller with supernatural elements. But avoid it as best as you can if gore and blood is not your thing.

How did you like The Dark Half? And what books would you recommend to those who read it? Let us know in the comments below.

– Rishika

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