I can't stress to you fellow "good-readers" how much I loved this book. This is the 6th King book I've read and it is far and away the best. I know that it's pretty much the norm to consider this King's finest effort..BUT there's a reason for that. Now, granted, I haven't read anywhere near his full catalogue but I have this feeling that I may not like anything nearly as much - that's a depressing thought considering how big of a fan I'm becoming. So you can see why I'm a little worried.
King basically crafts a scenario where a US biological weapons facility has an accident, unleashing a plague that kills off 99.4% of the world's population. Out of the remaining survivors, two very different societies form. One in Las Vegas led by what is basically evil incarnate and one in Boulder, Colorado led by a 108 year old woman (who lies on the side of all that is good..and God). As the novel progresses, characters change (for the good as well as the bad), both societies have their problems as an inevitable clash is in the works.
I was so nervous about starting this monster. 1,135 pages with such small print had me worried I would be reading this for months OR that something would cause me to hate it halfway through; becoming discouraged and throwing it aside. I initially bought this in May and deciding it was now or never, cracked the book at the beginning of September. After the first few chapters, I felt like an idiot for waiting so long.
I haven't had a novel cause me to invest in characters so fully since I had read "The Road" about 3 years ago. Can you be on the edge of your seat reading a book? I guess so. To steal a phrase, the book was "un-put-downable". I'm not sure if it's in my nature, but I always try to pick out the good stuff in any form of entertainment. I'm not very critical - it's probably why I have a lot of stuff rated between 4-5 stars. That being said, if I could rate this above 5 stars, I would.
Without a doubt, to date, Randall Flagg is by far my favorite literary villain. How could he not be? King crafts him as a man without reason. He wants nothing more than to watch the world burn. Sure, he wants power but he wants death and destruction more. He's the kind of man who would promise you the world for assistance and then throw you away when you've used up your purpose. He was terrifying and I'm happy that King apparently uses him again and again in additional work.
Near the end of the novel, something occurs that had me on the verge of tears. To date, I've never been that emotionally caught up in a novel. I'm not sure how that relates to the stuff I'm reading or my ability to identify with characters but it really did a number on me. Laws, yes, it did!
I read through this review like 10 times before I posted it and it more or less sounds like I'm rambling on and on without structure. That's okay - I feel like I accomplished what I sent out to do.