Book Review: The Stand by Stephen King

Title: The StandBook Review - The Stand by Stephen King

Author: Stephen King

Publisher: Doubleday

Genre: Horror, Science Fiction

First Publication: 1978

Language: English

Major Characters: Stuart Redman, Glenn Bateman, Nick Andros, Tom Cullen, Nadine Cross, Fran Goldsmith, Harold Lauder, Joe/Leo Rockway, Mother Abigail Freemantle, Randall Flagg, Trashcan Man, The Anti-Christ, Judge Farris, Larry Underwood, General William Starkey, Major Len Creighton, The Rat Man, Captain Trips,

Setting Place: United States of America

Theme: Good Vs Evil, Peace & Freedom


Book Summary: The Stand by Stephen King

First come the days of the plague. Then come the dreams.

Dark dreams that warn of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil.

His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms.

When a man crashes his car into a petrol station, he brings with him the foul corpses of his wife and daughter. He dies and it doesn’t take long for the plague which killed him to spread across America and the world.


Book Review: The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King opens on a man-made apocalypse – a designer flu has escaped from an American military laboratory. Within weeks, only a fifth of humanity lives. Dead rotting bodies are lying unburied everywhere and modern electrified society is dead. The survivors are mysteriously called though dreams to meet either a black woman or a white man in one of two cities located in the center of America, separated by the Rocky Mountains. The choice people make whether to meet the woman or the man apparently is actually a choice of Good or Evil. Neither choice will save your life

The first section of the novel centres around the downfall of a civilised world as 99.4% of the population is wiped out by the relentless plague known as Captain Trips. What gives this novel the edge over your conventional horror story with ghosts and vampires, is that this story is plausible. These people simply caught the flu. We all catch a cold or suffer an odd raging headache. However, The Stand is going to make me think twice the next time I feel a tickly throat coming on. What’s more, this virus was made in a lab. The plague decimating the world was created by us. We were liable for our own downfall.

“No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.

Or you don’t.”

Despite finding some parts slow, The Stand introduced me to King´s unmatched talent for presenting a cast of characters who are full and alive; Frannie, Stu, Harold, Larry, Ralph, Lloyd, and that´s only a handful of them. I normally crave a central protagonist who I can cling to as the story progresses. However, I routed for nearly all of them as I wondered how each of their stories would end. Nick, the deaf-mute, was so precious, and I treasured every moment of his incompatible friendship with the illiterate Tom Cullen. My love for the characters resulted in heartbreak, shock, but also joy for those who made it. King covers every shade of human morality and no two characters are alike.

The story eventually morphs not only into a battle of good and evil but also a novel about fate. All of the survivors somehow manage to unite through peculiar dreams. The deiform Mother Abigail assembles her own community, while others dream about the malevolent Randal Flagg, curating an army from the weak-minded, the stragglers. Two communities unite. This section introduces numerous supernatural elements, some of which was long-winded, so I skimmed across. It was interesting to read nonetheless.


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