Book Review: Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King & Owen King

PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie TW: Sexual assault, abuse, murder, dr...

PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge Prompt: A book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie

TW: Sexual assault, abuse, murder, drug usage, animal cruelty/death, suicide, violence, gore, abortion, misogyny, homophobia

I've had Sleeping Beauties on my shelves for quite some time. I got it from Book of the Month several years ago as an early release add-on, and it's just been waiting around, alongside a whole plethora of other Stephen King novels. So I finally picked it up as the PS 2019 Reading Challenge prompt "a book you see someone reading on TV or in a movie," because it was in YOU season one (hello, I am so excited for season 2 coming out in a week-ish!). So here we are.

In a small Appalachian town, a strange woman has appeared straight out of the woods and murdered a couple of meth-heads quick and brutally. Soon after, a worldwide epidemic starts spreading. The symptoms: when a woman falls asleep, a cocoon-like webbing covers their entire body, and if they're awoken, it's in a brutal and deadly fit of rage. What's weirder is this epidemic is not affecting the strange woman from the woods. So is she the cause, or is she the cure? 

King is known for his ability to tell a story through his characters, giving so much background and character development that it turns some people off. This novel is no different, though I felt it started out really slow. I was several chapters in before I felt pretty invested in the story. I was curious if my feelings here were due King's son Owen co-authoring the book, but the end of the book had an interview with them both, and it seems they don't even know who wrote what (lol). Like I said, I finally got very into the book. If you plan to read this one, keep in mind that it is a slow start.

It's always odd to read feminist-led novels when they're written by men. The whole purpose of this novel is an experience of what the world would be like if there were no women, and as expected - pretty much everything would go to complete crap. Look, there's a lot going on in this novel. Like most every King novel, there's a whole crap ton of trigger warnings attached to this book. There's a lot of not good stuff happening, and with women in the story being mostly comatose, you can only imagine the likes of what's happening throughout the storyline. And while I wasn't a fan of the entire book, overall I thought it was pretty good.

The plot was odd and original. The characters all had their own flaws and positive characteristics - they were real and flawed and honestly-written. There were many characters that were truly just horrid and I couldn't get over how horrible they actually were.

I enjoyed that the novel was set in Appalachian. It's such a great setting for a horror/thriller type novel, but it's one that is rare (at least in the case of the books I've read or know of). Living in the southeast US, I felt that the town the story was set in seemed familiar, which made it even easier to connect with. I'd love to see more King novels set in the area (and hey, maybe Owen King's are - this was my first time reading anything he's written).

"Who do you think cleans up the battlefields after the shooting stops?" - Sleeping Beauties, Stephen & Owen King

Overall, I thought this story was something unique that I wasn't expecting. The beginning of the book took me a lot longer than typical with a King book to get into it. The story was super slow at first and I had a difficult time getting to know the plethora of different characters, their backgrounds, and their connections. I didn't love the "other" place in the story, and those chapters were often more difficult for me to get through as well. I just couldn't find a good connection with the way time worked, or where it actually was in the story's timeline. Still, I'd recommend this book, as there's just something about a good King story.

Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆

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