by Stephen King and Owen King
I may not be the most objective person to review Sleeping Beauties, because I would read Stephen King’s grocery list and ask for a sequel. My excitement was over the top with the announcement of Stephen King co-writing a novel with his son, Owen King. I have to say I was not disappointed. This collaboration added a whole new depth to King’s scary world of make-believe.
This novel has the feel of one of Stephen King’s earlier works, The Stand, with a virus that spreads around the globe. Only this time the disease only affects women and they don’t die. The women also have a little control over the sickness to some extent. As long as they don’t fall sleep, they are safe. When they do succumb to slumber, they sprout a cocoon. If this shroud is disturbed they become raging, homicidal maniacs.
Sleeping Beauties begins with a crazy, naked chick, killing the local meth cook and his friend. Then blowing up his lab. The meth dealer’s paramour is placed in the responding police officer’s back seat, while the sort things out. She falls asleep and a web like substance spins out of her hair and skin and totally covers her in a silk encasement. The bad-ass chick that is responsible for the end of the meth lab and it’s owner is arrested by the female sheriff. The sheriff’s husband is the shrink at the local woman’s prison. When it becomes apparent that the newly arrested, crazy bad-ass is totally nut, the sheriff breaks protocol and arranges to take her to the prison for her husband to evaluate. It is soon discovered that even though she is believed to be crazy, she does not become an encased, sleeping, cocoon when she dozes off.
As the world is left to men to run by themselves, social mores and law enforcement begin to break down. I often wondered how far some people would go in a world devoid of laws. It appears that both Kings, father and son, have wondered the same thing. We see good men do the wrong thing and others that you would question their morals in a normal world stand up and fight, at the risk of their own lives, to protect what is right.
I love the way the characters are so developed and loved they tell the back story of the prisoners. I also like the way that most of the women that are improved are not bad people but have just made bad choices, because I believe that is mostly how life happens.
My only criticism of Sleeping Beauties is that they should have done better research on the drug world. I believe they could have come up with something better to keep the inmates awake. You do have prisoners that know how to make drugs or at least the knowledge of the ingredients required. All prisons have infirmary, which would include most of the items needed to make a drug that would be an effective stimulate. Anyway, this didn’t have a big impact on the outcome of the book, but details bother me.
I do love the story, the characters and the humor. I feel Owen King added a new depth and helped bring Sleeping Beauties to a more contemporary telling of this story. You can always depend on Stephen King for a righteous outcome. I hope father and son decide to work together again, because the results was awesome.
(Annie’s Note: I love references and there are plenty of King’s past works. :))
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