Revival, Hardback
4 out of 5 (4 ratings)


A spectacularly dark and electrifying novel about addiction, religion, music and what might exist on the other side of life. In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Charles Jacobs. Soon they forge a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity. Decades later, Jamie is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll.

Now an addict, he sees Jacobs again - a showman on stage, creating dazzling 'portraits in lightning' - and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written.

It's a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384 pages, n/a
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Horror & ghost stories
  • ISBN: 9781444789171



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

King went for the slow, literary burn with this one, building to a crescendo in good Gothic horror style. There's a Frankenstein comparison here that makes for a clever thematic misdirect; the Lovecraftian essence to which we should be paying more attention is a persuasive undertow to most of the book, with King's matter-of-fact melding of the ordinary with the horrifying, as skilful as always. Charlie Jacobs' goal was so much grander than I expected, and realising what he was doing really amplified the madness of his quest.The build-up of consequences throughout were creepy as hell, (although I belatedly realised that Jamie Morton's own fugues, in which he declares 'Something happened' were never revisited; that feels like a missed opportunity) but the pay-off of this book is the ending, which got under my skin in ways that nothing has since Gage Creed ran across the lawn… not just the imagery, but the inevitability. The 'After Effects' chapter is <i>really</i> bleak… King has clearly decided his readers have grown up, and so we get the <i>Full Dark, No Stars</i> treatment.It's both intriguing and frustrating to me that the protagonist and the antagonist only meet five times; each meeting is <i>charged</i>, but the context of Charlie Jacobs' life is left to the reader to decode in between; his character at point A is likeable (if possessed of a foreshadowing intensity)… at point B he has begun his descent into dark obsession, contempt for the faithful, someone who is amenable to harming others if it advances his cause, or at least willing to use false logic to appease his conscience. Point A and point B fascinate me, or at least the journey he underwent between them… yet it is the addiction, downward spiral, recovery and later life of Jamie Morton that we, the reader, follows in detail. And it feels a lot like Dan Torrence's drinking &amp; recovery years from <i>Dr. Sleep</i> - well evoked, but recently visited. Then again, the time spent kicking around Jamie Morton's slightly shaky reality is the perfect counterpoint to Jacobs' undoing of it.In conclusion: steer clear of the secret electricity, people. That stuff is bad juju.

Review by

What's it about?We follow the lives of Jamie Morton and Charles Jacobs. The journey starts when Jamie is a young boy and Jacobs takes the post as the local Methodist minister. Over the next 50 years their lives continually come into contact with each person suffering more than their fair share of tragedy. Whilst Jamie throws himself into his music (and other things) Jacobs continues to develop his love of electricity. However at every chance (or fateful) encounter the experiments become more and more sinister.What did I like?As much a coming of age novel as a horror flick, King has once again allowed a much warmer side to his writing than his works of the 70's and 80's allowed. Once again the descriptions of the small American town is spot on. The scene that King sets is one that is typical throughout his books and one that no other Author seems able to replicate. Each character is perfectly rounded and really draws the reader into their struggles forcing you to turn the page to find out what will happen next. As with Doctor Sleep the novel deals with illness and sickness in a very realistic way (often more scary than ghosts and vampires) and I think this will allow the book to stay with me for a long time.What didn't I like?The book starts off brilliant. The book ends equally as well. It is just the middle section I have an issue with, it really seemed a little too fleshed out. The book is primarily sold as a horror novel, I want to be shocked, startled, maybe even disgusted, but this section of the book did nothing like this. At times I was thinking to myself 'Something bad happen to someone, anyone.' In my opinion the book could easily have shaved off a hundred pages and it would have really improved the atmosphere. Instead of being a nearly great book, it could have been a fantastic novella.My only other whinge (and it is a small one) was the foreword to the novel. By describing the novels that influenced King as he was writing the book, it definitely took away a few of the twists of the narrative. It allowed me to second guess the storyline when I would have much preferred to have been totally surprised as piece by piece the novel was uncovered.Would I recommend it?A bit of a difficult one this. I really did enjoy the book and would recommend to others, but not as an introduction to the author. Although smaller (371 pages) than many of his other works I think anyone new to King would be better off starting with one of his earliest offerings such as Salem's Lot or The Shining. In comparison to his very large catalogue I think it deserves 4 stars and sits quite comfortably as by no means his best, but easily in his top 20.

Review by

This one kept on building the climax so long I was afraid the book would end before we got there. Luckily, it was worth it. However, I cannot say this is suspense or horror story, even though the end is not for the faint of heart. Not my favorite King, but still definitely worth a read. (Also, it's hard to beat Mr. Mercedes which I thoroughly enjoyed in it's insaneness and terror!)

Review by

I wasn't quite sure what to make of this book. It was certainly well written, easy to read and interesting but it seemed to move so slowly until the end and then you are hit with something unexpected and quite horrifying. While I get the whole "this is a Frankenstein homage" thing I do wonder about the bleak view the book shows of both organised religion and science. This book gave me nightmares - actual, real nightmares - I can't remember a book doing that to me before! #Revival #StephenKing

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