Book Review – Full Dark, No Stars

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Book Review – Full Dark, No Stars

Category : Book Review

Author: Stephen King
Year: 2010

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Stephen King is the best.  I know he’s not an extremely original choice for favorite author, but to me there are none better.  He has the amazing ability to completely immerse you into a fictional and often frightening world within minutes, within pages.  His characters, dialogue, backgrounds, all superb.  Sometimes he has a tough time wrapping up a story, but I think a lot of that can be blamed on how totally readers get sucked into his plots, how real they feel, and how hesitant we are to let them go.  He writes full novels of course, but he also writes short stories and novellas.  I’ve always thought that his novellas were his best work.  Longer than a quick scare, not complicated enough to get stressed over the ending, just the right amount of King contained in one hundred pages.  And Full Dark, No Stars is no exception, a collection of medium-length fiction that is both highly entertaining and well contained.
There are four stories within this book.  The first is 1922, a harrowing tale of a farmer and his son who stoop to the lowest means to keep their family farm, cursing themselves to a lifetime of misery.  Next is Big Driver, a disturbing and disgusting story of rape, revenge, and redemption.  Third, Fair Extension, a shorter novella with a quick question; what would you sacrifice in order to have your deepest wish fulfilled?  And lastly, A Good Marriage, the ultimate inside look into a relationship that seems so normal on the outside and yet is anything but.  In this version of the book there is also a bonus short story at the end, a read that takes only minutes and feels more thrown in at the last minute than planned with any thought.
The title of this novel isn’t a lie.  It’s a dark book with no reservations and not very many light moments.  The subject matter broached by each story is difficult to swallow and hard to forget.  Murder, rape, curses, killers; not easy reading and not for everyone I suppose.  But if you enjoy King and you like this genre, than Full Dark, No Stars is very high quality work.  The stories are told so quickly and yet with such depth and detail; King at his finest, doing what he does best.  He keeps the supernatural to a minimum here and sticks to character development, human struggle, the difficulty of life-altering decisions.  It’s a strong book with no time given to breathe, no chance to step away and laugh, one that I found hard to put down and enjoyed reading throughout.  This is what King’s style is tailor-made for and he delivers once again.

My rating: ✰ ✰ ✰ ✰