Full Dark, No Stars ~ Epic fail!


2 stars

Stephen King’s epic failure.

I haven’t read any of Stephen King’s work for a few years, but I can remember my last taste being full of vivid imagery, creepy story lines that made the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, the antagonists being so truly evil or insane that I would fear sleeping for a few days – worrying that they might be out there coming to get me.

This time, was rather different.

Synopsis: Is it possible to fully know anyone? Even those we love the most? What tips someone over the edge to commit a crime?

For a Nebraska farmer, the turning point comes when his wife threatens to sell off the family homestead.

A cozy mystery writer plots a savage revenge after a brutal encounter with a stranger.

Dave Streeter gets the chance to cure himself from illness – if he agrees to impose misery on an old rival.

And Darcy Anderson discovers a box containing her husband’s dark and terrifying secrets – he’s not the man who keeps his nails short and collects coins. And now he’s heading home . . .

Like DIFFERENT SEASONS and FOUR PAST MIDNIGHT, which generated such enduring hit films as The Shawshank Redemption and Stand by Me, FULL DARK, NO STARS proves Stephen King a master of the long story form.

A note here – I’m not sure we’re reading the same book…

Bookish Things: 453 pages of epic failure. The cover is rather lovely, but I’m not 100% sure what it has to do with any of the stories included within it. 

My Review:

I’m shocked. Shocked at myself for feeling this way about a Stephen King book, shocked that I wasn’t creeped out or scared by his work and shocked that I came out of this book feeling disappointed.

Right off the bat, I was disappointed, I wanted to read a novel, what I got was a collection of short stories. Not King’s fault, but still we were not off to a good start.

The book is broken into four short stories or novellas. My edition had an additional short story at the end that wasn’t included with the initial publication. Yay for me… NOT!

1922 was the first and I am pretty sure, the longest story in the book. It was very repetitive. The visuals provided by King were up to his usual standard in terms of graphic nature, I didn’t have any trouble visualising the rather gross scenes he created. I liked the kicker in the end, but felt that the impact was lost because I felt beaten around the head with all the repetition. My eyes glazed and I felt like I was only partially ‘seeing’ what we were meant to see, because there are only so many times one can be told the same thing in any one story.

The ending did make me question some of the original scenes and how they would have actually worked with the new piece of knowledge. Overall, this would have been pushing for a 2/5.

Big Driver
What tips someone over the edge to commit a crime? That’s the tag line for this collection, I now know.

It’s the appallingly dull ending to an otherwise reasonable story.

I liked Tess, and even though the detail was shied away from, the story progressed logically. I felt this story held more weight because the circumstances and the influences on Tess were more real and her reaction more valid. This reasonable start was completely wrecked by the fizzer of an ending! WTF?!

I’m going to add a spoiler here… prepare yourselves:

For such an accomplished writer as Stephen King and someone who has an amazing ability to creep out/gross out/freak out/emotionally scar his readers, he did a very poor job of it in this story. He could have gotten all up close and nasty into the rape scene, but he didn’t. He vaguely described what was happening, under the ruse of Tess being groggy and not fully comprehending what was happening. Instead he spent more time describing the rusty truck the attacker drove, or the musty carpet she wrapped herself in… poor use of his amazing skills if you ask me! 3/5

Fair Extension
This was an easily seen plot, I knew exactly what would happen within the first few pages, the only change to my presumption was the level of detail we were given about what happened. I didn’t like that. I felt it was really more information than I ever wanted to know. I was waiting for a sting in the tail, something unexpected, but it never happened. Let down!

I hated Streeter! He was shallow, greedy and a rather horrible person. 1/5

A Good Marriage
My notes on this story: Meh.
Further thinking on this story produced a rather nonplussed reaction. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t like it. I felt nothing for the characters, I didn’t connect with anyone in the story and the ending… oh well, the ending. It was like WTF?!
1/5 and that’s being kind with the rating.

Bonus story: Under the weather
EPIC FAILURE! That’s all I have to say about that. 0/5

One thing I did like
I got a rather great quote from this book, which I think is a testament to King’s ability to write. That certainly wasn’t lacking in this book, but the stories were just not very good.
The quote is short, sweet and entirely awesome and I’ll leave you with it right now.

“When it came to the dark fuckery of the human heart, there seemed to be no limit.”

Ever read a book you were expecting to enjoy (albeit for creeping me out and scaring me!) and it turned out to be an epic failure? Share your experiences below.


2 thoughts on “Full Dark, No Stars ~ Epic fail!

  1. Sounds like a stinker. No stars, indeed. I’ve read some King that are total tripe, this sounds like one of them. He’s the definition of Pot-Luck!

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