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Sleeping Beauties

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Goodreads Choice Award
Winner for Best Horror (2017)
In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze.

If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place.

The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease.

Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

702 pages, Hardcover

First published September 26, 2017

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About the author

Stephen King

2,528 books827k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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5 stars
20,710 (25%)
4 stars
29,733 (36%)
3 stars
21,148 (26%)
2 stars
6,779 (8%)
1 star
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 8,712 reviews
Profile Image for Shelby *trains flying monkeys*.
1,604 reviews5,987 followers
October 3, 2017
1.5 stars rounded up..unless I get pissed off writing this review and just one star the thing.

I'm not really going to go into the blurb or storyline. You can read that yourself or one of the many reviews that will come for this book. All the women have gone to sleep and all the men are acting a dang fool wondering who is going to feed them in an hour. That's my take on it.

Now for the things I liked. Which is not much.

First off, Stephen King is and pretty much will always be..My favorite author. So cool yourself.

Second, this book is set in Appalachia, with meth heads and a women's prison. That shit right there alone should guarantee a five star read for me.

That's all the positive I've got.

Now the negatives.
The characters, this is one of those books that King figured you might as well make every character known to man have a bit part. There are so many people in this small Appalachian town that I stopped even caring who was who by about 10% into the book. There were characters still being added almost up until the very end.
I've read that King really needs a good editor. After this, I may tend to agree. He threw everything and the kitchen sink into this chunk and my dumb butt kept reading it thinking it would get better.
(Of course, my kitty lapping up the water in the sink doesn't work.)

The story. This shit has been done before. By Uncle Stevie himself. Multiple times: Under the Dome, The Stand and by the "other" kid The Fireman..but I actually liked all those books. I expected better.

More about the story: What the hell is it about frigging tigers?

First "The Walking Dead" threw one into the storyline and now even King jumps on the bandwagon? AND no, it really didn't make sense for it to be there.

Next, I read to escape. I know the world is a shitty place. I know we are in deep shit. I DO NOT read to hear more about politics. If authors start writing FICTION books just to pound out their political views I'm going to take up a new hobby. I DO NOT want to pick up a book by my favorite authors and get reminded of it. It's happened twice lately for me with books and this one was more on the "let me put my views out there" side. Just no. (I'm not talking about feminism either so get your typing fingers back to the twitter.) I may agree with some of the political viewpoints but I do NOT want my fictional stories to become sounding blocks for author's agendas.

*I'm about done so calm down..because I spend days reading this freaker I get a minute of ranting.

That's another thing. The size of this sucker. IT DID NOT NEED TO BE SO BIG. Most of it was just rambly and bored the heck out of me anyways.

I'm shutting up because my kid said I was making weird faces at the computer.
In the end..will I read Stephen King again? Hell yeah, Will I read a book co-written with one of his kids again? Probably, because let's face it-If my dad was Stephen King I'd want to 'write' a book with him too.

Does the King family give a shit what I think? Hell no.

They are way cooler than my grouchy ass.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
October 6, 2017
Once a serious conflict commences—a fight to the death—objective reality is quickly lost in the smoke and noise.
Also, many of those who could have added their own accounts were dead.

As I was reading Sleeping Beauties, I was trying to find the words in my mind to sum up what I felt about the story - and Stephen King's stories in general - but then I got to the Authors' Note and discovered that they had done it for me: "If a fantasy novel is to be believable, the details underpinning it must be realistic."

^This is what I think makes King Sr's stories so strong. King integrates the supernatural seamlessly with the everyday. There’s no big explosion out of nowhere, no aliens suddenly arriving on a giant ship… just the quiet everyday lives of these nuanced characters until something disastrous slips in. Slowly. Naturally, even. As if this could happen right now. To me and my family. It's extremely effective.

You can look at Sleeping Beauties in two different ways. As simply a really great horror story, or as a deeply metaphorical and political work. On the one hand, it's a creepy tale of a "sleeping sickness" that affects only the female population. As women around the world go to sleep, the men around them find they are not waking up. And what's more, gross, sticky threads start forming a cocoon around them. Attempts to remove this web have dire consequences.

One woman, the aptly-named Evie (or Eve), seems immune to the sickness and obviously knows something about what is going on. Maybe she even caused it. Why won't the women wake up? What made this happen? Are they gone for good? Have their minds gone somewhere else? What will the men do now? Can the few women still awake battle the delirium and fight off sleep? So many questions.
“In a terrified world, false news was king.”

And then, on the other hand, it's difficult to not see this as a gender politics tale. You can't have a supernatural tree, a snake, and a woman called Eve and pretend not to notice the parallels. Plus, it's also an absolutely stellar takedown of Donald Trump, sexism, those who are opposed to women’s rights and equality, sexual assault dismissed as “locker room talk”, police shootings of unarmed black men and women, and the belief in sensationalist news stories on the Internet. King², it seems, has written a critical tale of our times disguised as a dark horror fantasy.

There's definitely room to go into an in-depth analysis with this book, and perhaps I will sometime. But for now I will just say that I enjoyed this sinister, clever novel very much. Like with a number of King Sr's works, I feel like some parts could have been cut down without losing anything valuable, and that while detail is good, he sometimes crosses the line into "too much" territory. It's a small criticism, though. Once again I am reminded why he is such a popular author among horror fans and literary snobs alike.

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Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,983 followers
October 17, 2017
The story of people in a remote town trapped by mysterious circumstances . . . no, wait, that's Under the Dome!

How about . . . the story of a mysterious disease and the fight between good and evil . . . darn it! That's The Stand!

One more try . . . the story of a magical prisoner who . . . ah, crap, I give up . . . that's The Green Mile!

Anyway, this is a pretty good book that brings back a lot of themes from earlier King novels. I have seen some places where people say they can tell the parts where Owen wrote instead of his dad. Not me - if you told me that ol' Stevie wrote the whole thing, I would believe it.

For a 700 page book I felt like it went pretty quick. At first, I had a hard time getting into it and I had 600 pages ahead of me, so I was kind of nervous. However, after I got comfortable with the 2.3 million characters in this book, it was all gravy from there!

3.5 rounded up to 4

Would I recommend this to a King first timer? Nope. But, if you are looking for a bit of King nostalgia after the Hodges Trilogy - which didn't feel all that much like King - then this is worth a try.
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,480 reviews79k followers
October 22, 2017
That's it?

16 days later and I'm FINALLY finished. I feel completely drained by this book and hope to write a review in the next week, but for now I think it's safe to say I didn't feel this was one of King's stronger books. I'll gather my notes together and hopefully make a compelling argument for why this didn't work well for me.

Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,535 reviews9,935 followers
October 4, 2017
I loved the tree and animals and that's all I'm saying!

There is a reference to a dead cat and a Mercedes. I might have missed some more but I caught those two and King fans will know where those references come from =)

There are a lot of characters in this book and I loved most of them! Evie was freaking awesome! I can't even think of all of them because I didn't make any notes! I was so enthralled every time I picked up this book to read on it that I didn't write anything down. So, I'm just going to ramble a bit and no spoilers. Nothing major at any rate!

One day something happens, I'm not going to say what but there is a force that comes into our presence. It's only here for good, but sometimes things just happen.

Okay, so a lot of the book is centered around some ladies in prison, the police department and the nuts in the town.

And one day, across the globe, women start going to sleep and their faces become cocooned. And if you decide to try to remove this cocoon, it will not be a good day for you my friend. Not a good day at all. I must say, I did enjoy what happened to a rapist and his Peter Pan when he thought he could rape a woman. I knew that was going to happen, the attempted rape that is. Oh the joy if that could happen to all rapists. But I digress.

So after the female gets her rage on, she then cocoons back up and is out like a light. But why is all of this happening? Let give you a hint . . .

. . .

. . .

. . .

. . .


It's a really freaking awesome book. I could feel Stephen King all over this even though I know Owen was involved as well. I think they made a fan-freaking-tastic book. It's so damn bizarre and what's why I love it. Kudo's to the King's < -- heh

Anyhoo, I'm leaving you with a little excerpt.

"Evie?" Lila moves around in a circle, searching--woods, ground, grass, air, milky sunshine--but there's no one. "Evie, are you there?"

She yearns for a signal, any kind of signal.

A moth flutters from the branch of the old oak tree and settles on her hand.

Happy Reading!

Mel ♥

MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Profile Image for Perry.
632 reviews533 followers
March 1, 2019
Best Let Sleeping Beauties Lie
Completely revised on 10/18/17

Stephen King, who recently turned 70, has written a phenomenal fifty plus bestsellers. Regrettably, "Sleeping Beauties," a writing collaboration with his younger son Owen that may seem touching in the paternal sense, fails to plunge the reader into the type of heart-thumping chills and page-flipping thrills that casual King fans crave. Rather, the novel proves itself a tiresome, often grandiose, fantasy-soapbox that is sure to please only the most hardcore King fans.

The novel opens in the small Appalachian town of Dooling, West Virginia, when a nubile nude woman, with green pubic hair and moths fluttering from her mouth, strolls out from behind a mammoth tree in a large clearing to bludgeon a local meth dealer who abuses his girlfriend. She then patiently awaits arrest.

This supernatural goddess named Eve or Evie Black--we soon see--mocks all men, reads minds, controls a pack of prison rats and commands an army of moths. Sheriff Lila Norcross transports her to the women's prison outside of town where Dr. Clint Norcross, the Sheriff's husband, is the prison psychiatrist.

The same day, a worldwide plague known as the "Aurora flu" strikes every woman who enters a state of sleep, after which tendrils grow from her body and form a cocoon from which she does not awake. If anyone--even a family member--tries to break open the cocoon and wake the woman, she is transformed into a crazed, bloodthirsty killer. One yokel yucks that the plague is "the ultimate PMS." This of course leads to a dramatic increase in the sale of Red Bull, coffee and cocaine as women frantically try to stay awake.

We get sound bites of end times from around the globe: riots in D.C., vigilante brigades gathering to torch the cocoons, a jet going down, and "hard right conservatives on talk radio ... proclaiming the Aurora virus as proof that God was angry with feminism." The focus though is on the small hillbilly town.

Nearly half the book is consumed by a tedious introduction to seventy characters, including half of Dooling and most of the female prisoners. If you can keep up, you may still get frustrated by the lengthy and frequent slow-motion diversions into the connubial blemishes of Lila and Clint Norcross, which seem feeble when considering that humankind stands on the brink of extinction.

Dooling's female correctional facility is ground zero for the Aurora flu, housing the sole female immune from the plague, Evie Black. The question at the novel's center is how the men of this small Appalachian town will react to the plague. Will they act out backwards male stereotypes, form rabid packs and go after Evie?

As Evie explains to Dr. Norcross, she will not defend herself and only if she survives a number of days will the women be set free; if not, all women will perish. Thus begins the battle of men for the existence of our species: the men--almost entirely of cardboard stock--who want to kill Evie Black versus the men who want to protect her, the latter led by Dr. Norcross, who the Kings inform us is "the one who stands for all mankind."

Meanwhile, the spirits of the cocooned women gather in a parallel world of peace called simply Our Place. Our Place is just past the clearing from which Evie arrived and the "Mother Tree," the Kings' version of the tree of knowledge and the portal to Evie's Eden-like garden populated by a fox and a tiger that talk, a peacock, and a giant snake that slithers up and down the tree.

The Kings endeavor to shroud Eve in mystery via nonsensical queries: "Had Evie come from the Tree? Or had the Tree come from Evie?" It is nonetheless obvious that she is the biblical Eve: "Evie doesn't trust the snake.... She's had trouble with him before."

With the exception of maybe five characters, the characters merely play out gender stereotypes--often clownish--with most women (even the imprisoned murderers) caring and nurturing pacifists, and the men--with the exception of Dr. Norcross and a few prison guards--generally drinking, righteous, gun-toting, savage pigs.

The absence of the reader's investment in a legion of caricatures represents a fundamental flaw in building a shred of suspense. That is to say, by the time the battle for Eve ensues--think, "Lord of the Flies" at a women's prison--it is nearly impossible to know who does what, when, to whom, who was killed and who survived, and miraculous if one even cares.

Lovers of the Stephen King brand of graphic gore may find parts to relish, such as how "shreds of skin flapped like streamers" from a bulldozer that had just flattened a man, or how a man's jaw being cleaved open by a woman sounded like "a drumstick being torn off a Thanksgiving turkey." Yet, this is not the trademark King supernatural novel full of fright, intensity and surprises.

Instead, this doorstopper of a novel stands primarily as a political soapbox the Kings thrust upon readers via "original sin" Eve, brought back by some secret force that detests men. Whether or not a reader is in sync with some of the Kings' political persuasions is beside the point. Most readers, it seems, probably do not care to read a novel billed as a blockbuster supernatural thriller that can be more fittingly described as an environmentalist, gun-controlling, feminist, Trump-loathing fantasy with a take on everything from gender politics to racial violence, and that hits heavily on a range of social dilemmas such as suicide, marital infidelity, teen sex, alcoholism, drug addiction in impoverished areas, domestic violence and mental illnesses.

Perhaps it's best to let "Sleeping Beauties" lie.
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
551 reviews60.4k followers
October 16, 2017
3.5? Not sure yet!

In a world where women have fallen asleep in cocoons, the men are left to figure things out. The premise was super intriguing but I'm not 100% sure I'm happy with the ending.

This book contained a lot of characters. A LOT. I did appreciate most of the feminist views included although it sometimes bordered on the "m'lady hat tipping" side.

This book also featured one of my new most hated character of all time! Congrats Don Peters, you're a POS! :D

I'll probably update this review when I have more time to think about it. I did like it but it's not my favorite from SK.
Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books963 followers
April 1, 2018
Stephen King is a god, but this book is a slog. I support quality father-son bonding, though, so for that I feel less guilty about wasting $20 and 20+ hours of my life on it. But please, please don't waste your time. Not unless you've read every other word by SK. It's by far his worst effort to date.

It took me about 4 months to read the first half. I realized then that if I was ever going to finish it I'd have to do the audiobook. That helped a lot. My one positive comment is that Sleeping Beauties is more interesting than rush hour traffic. The narrator did a great job adding vocal personality to otherwise lifeless characters.

So why is it such a disaster? Many reasons, but mostly because all of the characters are the same. Picture the stereotypical image of an Appalachian resident and then imagine 30 clones of that stereotype. There's your entire cast. Also, you would expect some type of brilliant social commentary with a premise like this, but no. No relevance to our world, past or present. I actually appreciated that there isn't a lot of political blah-blah-blah, but come on, there is nothing better than a thesis that men are inherently violent.

All that said, there were brief and fleeting moments of fine storytelling. In those moments I imagined Daddy King working overtime to breathe life into an arc that was clearly going downhill fast. Nevertheless, I'm sure this was the experience of a lifetime for Owen. I would give many body parts to collaborate with the King on a novel, even if it turned out to be trash. Maybe we will eventually look back on Sleeping Beauties as a historical document, the teething ring that lead to many great things from Owen. We shall see. Until then, let the historians deal with this dusty tome and read something else.
Profile Image for Suzzie.
916 reviews162 followers
March 6, 2018
I love King books because they are insanely freaky and crazy! This time you get that entertainment from two Kings and it was so amusing. You have a fantasy (with some sci-fi vibes) about a world where most of the women have fallen asleep and have been cocooned leaving the world to a wide variety of male characters. Both the male and female characters are written so well and amusing.

Overall, yes it is a 700+ page book but it is worth it for that slow burn that keeps you interested. It's a King book so you just expect it!
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
672 reviews4,289 followers
October 9, 2017
"Sometimes you get what you want, but mostly you get what you get."

A strange epidemic spreads across the world wherein once all the women fall asleep they become cocooned in an unusual waxy material. Disruption or tearing upon of this cocoon will cause the female inside to act in a homicidal manner. Sleeping Beauties focuses on the events occurring in a small town, Dooling, West Virginia, and in particular Clint and Lila Norcross, Clint being the psychiatrist in the local female prison, and Lila being the town's sheriff. One woman, however, seems to be the key to unravelling exactly what is going on...

I'm going to keep my review as spoiler-free as possible, as I know so many people are still reading it. So I'll just present some overall thoughts and opinions. Okay, so, I enjoyed this book, but it's not without its faults. Part 1 was brilliant, this idea presented by the Kings is so unique and interesting and to see how it all unfolds and the effect it has on the world, and in particular, in Dooling, is really exciting. Part 2, however... oh, it was a slog at times. It reminded me of my experience with The Stand where I just thought, "Oh get on with it!!!" I feel like this book could do with some characters being cut out and a number of pages trimmed off it.

Speaking of characters, there is a LOT in this book, but surprisingly I was able to keep up with who everyone was and how they were connected to each other etc. Sometimes I did have that split second of "Wait...who's this again?" but usually within reading a sentence or two I was back on track. So yeah, there isn't too many in terms of keeping up with the characters, but in my opinion, there were a few characters who I could just have done without. King is the King of character development and creating memorable characters that you just never forget - however, I think quite a lot of the ones in here are forgettable for me, apart from Evie and Lila. The rest, meh.

In terms of the collaboration between father and son, it was seamless to me, it didn't feel like it was splintered and all over the place as the voice switches from Owen to Stephen and back again. Of course, some parts felt distinctly Stephen, and others felt non-Stephen (I haven't read any of Owen's work beyond this so I can't comment on his writing style). The first half of the book felt like a Stephen King idea to me and a current-day King read, however the second half just lacked that punch that King usually delivers.

I guess my main complaint that is I didn't really FEEL anything reading this. I felt interested, sure, but I wasn't really expressing any emotions. Each and every character could have been killed off and I'd have been like *shrugs*. I did enjoy it overall, don't get me wrong, it's a great idea, a great premise, but the second half let me down and so I'd give this book 4 stars out of 5. Which perhaps seems high after all my complaining, but that first half of the book was SO good and I still found it hard to put the book down even when I got to the second half! Overall, a decent book!
Profile Image for Baba.
3,618 reviews984 followers
April 9, 2022
Supposedly co-penned with his son Owen, this old-school King supernatural 'disaster-movie' style read sees an epidemic of almost all of the world's women falling into a coma-like sleep and self generating enveloping cocoons. The story focuses on the small town of Dooling, West Virginia, where the epidemic was preempted by the arrest of a seemingly mentally unhinged woman who appeared to have slain a meth drug gang in a rather unusual way... with her bare hands.

The very large casts proves difficult to keep up with, and also proves difficult for the writers to stir empathy for. I struggled recalling who was who throughout the book, which didn't help. Dealing with core ideas and themes that King has dealt with before it was difficult to really get into the story although the main 'sleeping women' theme was quite compelling. Unlike almost all his body of work, this King story is pretty heavy handed on the social commentary mostly circled in and around the abuse of power over those who are perceived to, or indeed have lesser power.... in this case women. 7.5 out of 12, for a taste of what we've already already seen before, although lacking any real drive and passion!
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2020 read
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,964 followers
January 29, 2018
This is a review of a Stephen King (& Son) novel being posted on Halloween. SPPOOOOKKKKYYYY!!

Eh….Not so much.

Around the world all the women who fall asleep become enveloped by mysterious cocoons that form almost instantly once they go night-night, and they aren’t waking up. They’re still alive, but if anyone tries to cut or tear open a cocoon the lady inside will pop awake in a psychotic rage in which she’ll immediately try to murder anyone around and then will immediately fall asleep and be cocooned again. (I can relate because I also fly into a homicidal fury if awoken from a nap.)

The small Appalachian town of Dooling is like everywhere else with the women struggling not to fall asleep, but as days pass the number of those awake begin to dwindle. Everything begins to fall apart as some men try to watch over the sleeping women they care for to protect them from jerkfaces who would do them harm. A lady named Evie is arrested for a horrific crime just as everything goes to hell and is locked up in the local women’s prison. Evie shows a supernatural awareness of the people and events around her, and it’s quickly obvious that she’s immune to what’s happening to all the other females. Meanwhile, the sleeping ladies find themselves someplace familiar but very different.

The main idea here is pretty clever as hybrid of a fairy tale story and the beginning an apocalyptic end-of-society-as-we-know-it novel. Trying to get that mixture right is one of the places where I think the book falls down a bit because the more hardnosed elements where people are having to come to terms with what’s happening and prepare for the worst was more compelling than when it went deeper into the paranormal realm aspects of Evie. Yet that’s a vital component to the flip side of the book where we find out what’s going on with the women while they snooze which the book needs. So I’m left struggling to put my finger on why I didn’t like this more.

Maybe the writing itself is a factor. With Uncle Stevie collaborating with Cousin Owen I wasn’t sure what to expect, and you can tell that this isn’t a Stephen King solo effort. It doesn’t feel exactly like one of his novels, but it’s not exactly unlike one either. Even his books co-written with Peter Straub felt more King-ish to me which seems odd. I listened to the audio version of this which included an interview with both authors at the end, and they talked about how instead of trading off chapters or sections that they would leave holes in the middle of what they wrote for the other to fill in a deliberate attempt to keep a reader from figuring out exactly who wrote what. Mission accomplished, but I’m not sure that made for the best book possible.

Another interesting bit in that interview is that this started out as a potential TV series that they wrote some scripts for, and I think that shows through in some of the structure. There’s something that feels episodic about this although again I’m not able to explain exactly why that that is. It’s not all that different from any other book with multiple characters in different locations doing things, but I felt like there were moments when the credits were going to roll. It just reads like a TV show at times is the best way I can explain it.

I’m sure some will be upset at the overall message here which is essentially that women are routinely fucked over by men, and that men overall are pretty awful. (Breaking News: That’s all true.) I admit that there were a few points where I found the male bashing a bit much, but not out of any nutjob MRA style faux indignation about double standards. It’s because I’m a cynic and a misanthrope so I’m fully committed to the belief that deep down all people, men and women, are pure garbage. So while I agree in general that women are less prone to violence as a solution and several other points the book makes I still don’t think that women would make a perfect world. Better? Probably. But not perfect. They’d just find more subtle ways to fuck things up. So for me the Kings’ idea that most women are saints who will always do the right thing that they present here was more wishful thinking than reality.

It’s not a bad book. (Certainly its miles better than The Fireman, another novel written by a King offspring in which a strange disease puts society in peril.) It’s got a good core plot, interesting characters, and decent writing, but it’s too long and never quite gets into the top gear it was straining for. It’ll fall somewhere in the middle of my King rankings.
Profile Image for Becky.
1,378 reviews1,651 followers
April 23, 2018
Sigh. I think that my Constant Reader card is going to be revoked soon. Of King's last 5 books, the best rating that I was able to give was a "It was good, I guess..." 3 star. One I thought was absolute shit, and I'm pretending absolute shit's two sequels just don't exist so I don't have to read them.

Then there's this book. Holy hell. I have issues with this book, oh yes indeed. This was a collaboration between Stephen and Owen King (SK's youngest child), and I don't think it was an altogether successful one, to be as kind as I possibly can be. I'm sure that there are people who will like this book, maybe even love it, but alas, I am not one of them.

I haven't read Owen's books yet, though I own both of them (and Owen's wife Kelly Braffet's book too) as part of my KingFam collection. I don't know his style or skill, and I can't really put the blame on him for the things that I don't like in this book. Not all of it anyway. I have seen Papa King's tendency to get a bit heavy-handed regarding politics, so I'm just gonna lump them both together, and assign equal culpability for this mess.

Because equality.

So, let's just get started, hmm? The usual warning applies: This review will be spoilery, ranty, and rambling, so read at your own risk if you haven't finished the book yet.

There are two main aspects to this story - one is horror, where one day, women stop waking up, cocoons form around their sleeping bodies, and trying to wake or otherwise disturbing the women in their cocoons is a big mistake, because they "awaken" violently and viciously. The second part is a fantasy aspect, where we have a supernatural emissary who is involved somehow, as well as a magical tree and magical animals, and on the other side of the tree, the sleeping women, or at least their souls or spirits or... something. Their physical cocooned bodies remain wherever they fell asleep, but their consciousness wakes up in a Treeside/wasteland version of their town, where they set about getting on with their lives and rebuilding society without men... IE: "Paradise".

As the women fall asleep, and nobody knows what's causing it, what it means, or whether the women will ever wake up again, chaos immediately ensues and societal stability collapses, because who will cook and clean and make babies and then take care of them and crochet decorative end-table doilies and remember when the mortgage is due and ensure men have clean underwear and matching socks and ironed undershirts and shit, and just generally enable men's lives?

Eventually, the women of Dooling, WV (who stand in for ALL women) are offered a choice - to stay Treeside and continue building their society and form a new world based around the ideals of womankind, or return home to the cruel man-filled real world.

I get what this book was trying to do, the point it was trying to make. But I just could not roll my eyes harder at the way it went about trying to do it. It was SO heavy handed. All of the ways that men are bad at life, or bad people, were just shoved in the reader's face ad nauseum. They are violent, thoughtless, rapey, manipulative, angry, inconsiderate, etc. I can go on and on... the book certainly did. Or I could sum up just about the whole book with this:

As commendable as it is for two successful, white, heterosexual men to try to make a statement about gender equality, the #MeToo movement, etc, this book failed at achieving anything meaningful, insightful, or new. To me, it just read and felt like 702 pages of mansplaining the patriarchy, and that women are people, too. Gee, thanks, guys. Never would've gotten that on my own.

This book makes SO MANY generalizations and assumptions, about men AND women. You know that saying "You can't see the forest for the trees."? This book was the opposite, and saw only two "rival" forests. If you have a penis, you're in Forest A. If you have a vagina, you're in Forest B.

I say rival because I mean it. There is not ONE successful, happy, equal relationship between a man and a woman in this book. Now, I know that every relationship is going to have its issues, but not one relationship where a woman is not victimized by or blames a man for her unhappiness? Not one man who doesn't blame women for his problems, or abuse or hate them? Even the main characters, husband and wife Clint and Lila, are pitted against each other right from the beginning when she (incorrectly) suspects him of having had an affair 15 years ago and a love child as a result, thus lying to her for the majority of their marriage, and making her resent and pick apart every single thing he's ever done, forgetting that she, as a partner, has the right to speak the fuck up if she's bothered by things, like, say, getting a pool she didn't want, and resents, but never mentioned. In a book that has a cast list of characters a mile long (seriously), it's unrealistic and annoying that there was not ONE normal, healthy relationship, but hey, the Kings had to hammer the point home, I guess.

So let's come back to the central plot of this book, which is that all women have been hurt by men, and the Aurora (what the magic sleep is known as) gives them the choice whether to return to the real world (with men) or to stay Treeside and start over, building society again based on the perfection that is woman. (*eyeroll*) There's a second part to this, though, which is a test for the men. Evie (our supernatural emissary) is being blamed for causing it, and as expected, the menfolk want to kindly ask her to stop it. The test is thus: Evie has pegged Clint as her protector, and if he fails to keep her alive until the women make their choice, then they lose the opportunity to choose and can never wake up. (She then goads the men into wanting to kill her, because she wants the women to stay, because she's a misandrist.)

So here's the run-down. The 50-100ish women of Dooling have to unanimously choose whether ALL 3 billion women throughout the world will stay Treeside and be "free", or be able to resume their real lives AND whether the billions of men left behind would go extinct, since there would be no women to continue the species. And ONE MAN has to stand in protection of Evie to even give the Dooling women a chance to make that choice.

She doesn't explain this to any of the women, of course, until AFTER Clint succeeds in protecting her, and then only that they have to choose, but not any of the millions of questions that I'd need answered before I could make an educated choice.

I have problems with this. First, the women's bodies are still in the real world. They are still cocooned, and thus STILL UNDER THE CONTROL OF MEN. They can be moved, killed, burned, and if their bodies die, the women's Treeside souls or spirits or whatever disappear. We're shown, repeatedly, seriously OVER AND OVER AND OVER, that men are shits who will use any excuse to hurt, exploit, or kill women, and this is like handing them all women on a silver platter to do with as they will. Sometimes, like the case of the teen boy who tried raping a cocooned woman, it doesn't turn out that well for the guy, but the "Blowtorch Brigade" is just torching women because a] they are using the excuse that they are dangerous or b] they just wanna because they can. And of course there are other men who kill the women in more traditional ways, like a bullet to the head. So, I would not say that these women are "free" or "safe" from men.

Secondly, that's a hell of a choice to put on an ordinary woman. Not a choice at all, really.
Option #1: Stay "asleep" but "free", in your happy woman-land, which means the following:
- You don't know what that means for your physical bodies WHICH ARE STILL UNDER THE CONTROL OF MEN (men who are having a teeny tiny bit of a breakdown, by the way) and random natural occurrences, like fires and floods and earthquakes and such, that might kill your body.
- You will be taking away the autonomy of roughly 3 BILLION women to decide their own fates
- You'll have to rebuild society from scratch in a wasteland (because Treeside, or "Our Place" as the women call it, is apparently the future version of earth, after men are extinct)
- ...which means that a single 'Stay' vote decides the fate of all women, but ALSO all men.

Option #2: Go back to normal life, where men might hurt or kill you, where you can't walk down the street without fear, where failure to watch your drink closely enough might end up disastrously, or where you're in prison or otherwise powerless... but you AREN'T responsible for a worldwide extinction event.

This is one of the generalizations that I mentioned before, because OF COURSE the women would do the right thing and vote to return, because women are the thoughtful, consequence-aware, maternal, responsible sex, who would not want to bear the weight of responsibility for half of the world's extinction, and of course they miss their families, etc.

But there are women out there who have been SERIOUSLY hurt by men, and life, and who would be more than happy to start over again in a world without men. Maybe they wouldn't care that it's selfish, if it meant that their lives wouldn't be terrible anymore. And a single dissent is all it would take. Yet that's never a real possibility here. It's briefly a risk, but then, of course, someone steps in, saves the day, and the sacrifice and love shown make everything OK again.

Ugh. And that woman, the one who was thinking of cutting off the possibility of return, had almost NO legit reasons for being willing to make that decision for so many. Oh, your ex has anger issues and punched a wall and NOT you so you already left him? How traumatic for you. *dead eye stare*

Anyway. I know that this review is all over the place, and I'm sorry for that. But this is a long book that has big ideas (big, but not good), and it's all swimming around in my head like "UGH! AND THIS AND THIS AND OH, THIS THING TOO!"

For instance, there is a bit of anti-gun rhetoric included, semi but not really in passing. There's also a random and completely unnecessary scene with a white cop accidentally killing an unarmed and innocent black person which is shoehorned in at the end. The cop is then left to wonder whether they'd have reacted differently had it been a white person, and coming at the end of the book, it really feels gratuitous and tacked-on.

I am really disappointed that this book, which is centered around gender relations and equality (or lack thereof) makes not one single reference to how Aurora would affect non-binary and transgender people. Aurora is a MAGIC affliction, and one could say that the whole point of it is to give those hurt by men a chance to rebuild a better, more accepting and less dangerous life. Why wouldn't trans women (or anyone that's not a cisgender male) be included? I don't claim to be an expert, since I can only live my experience, but I think that one could argue that if women have it hard, trans women have it harder, and are less understood and accepted, more likely to suffer violence at the hands of men, so I would THINK that their lives and experiences would be valid for inclusion in the Aurora... but nope. Not a single mention. Invisible again. So disappointing, Kings.

Here are some more random things that annoyed me!
- This book felt like it stole pieces of Cell, Under the Dome, The Stand, and Storm of the Century, and then stirred it up in a vat with pro-feminist propaganda, and spat out this book.

- Supernatural "emissary" Evie, reminds me simultaneously of Randall Flagg (unlined hands and levitation and communes with animals) and Andre Linoge (in jail, brings a terrible situation and choice to a small town.)

- No mention of abortion in a book all about "women's choice", and in fact, Treeside women had no choice BUT to carry to term if they were pregnant, since there were no facilities still in operation. So, again, less choice in the "paradise".

- Clint and Lila's son Jared is 17 and way too perfect and responsible, and thus he annoyed me. Total White Knight character. No substance. Lame.

- A 12 year old girl is called "Nana", which is what toddlers call their grandmothers. WTF?

- Women in this book who try to stay awake take a shit ton of uppers, including coke and meth, and then it's just... never mentioned again. One of them uses meth pretty much nonstop for 5 days, but because MAGIC apparently doesn't have any cravings, ill side effects, addiction, or anything.

- The Kings were terrible at describing people in ways that would help the reader to understand their experiences. There are two main characters that are black, but we don't know this until WELL into the book, and yet, their blackness, especially in this area of W. Virginia, is relevant to their experiences and would help to understand them. This annoyed me.

- And finally, this: A meth-addicted, very troubled and mistreated girl cleans up when she's Treeside, and also finds out she's pregnant. This encourages her to be a better person, and to want to raise her baby right, and she even goes so far as to write him a book of life lessons that she wants him to know. She and Lila become pretty good friends Treeside. Unfortunately she dies in childbirth (convenient, because I'm convinced she'd have voted to stay given her life in the real world.). Lila then keeps her baby, which is cool, and probably what Tiffany would have wanted. However, back in Real world, Lila goes one step further, which is that she had a friend who is a doctor fake a birth certificate saying that LILA is the baby's birth mother - effectively stealing her dead friend's baby, and stealing the boy's chance at appreciating who his mother really was, and all the hopes she had for him. I think this is so cruel and heartless. To add to this, she informs Clint of it, without consulting him, and snidely tells him that he doesn't have a say. As though raising a baby is the same as installing a pool. She could have simply adopted him... it's not like anyone would question it, considering everything else going on. But to say he is her own baby, that is just wrong to me, and it was this that made me hate her character, more than all of the other ways she was shitty and horrible in the book, which were many.

Ugh... anyway. This review is way longer than I intended it to be, but I just had so many problems with it. I still don't hate it the way that I hated Mr. Mercedes, but this is definitely down there on the list. Could be worse, though, I guess. There could be a sequel. =\
Profile Image for Matt.
3,814 reviews12.8k followers
March 8, 2018
Having long been a fan of Stephen King, I was curious to tackle this novel, which pairs the King of Horror with his Prince of Thrills (?), Owen. Working together on this massive piece, the reader is able to see the Kings’ respective writing styles and notice how well they mesh together. In the town of Dooling, the discovery of two meth cooks are found murdered seems to be a day like any other, though a stranger may be behind this bloody mess. Normalcy ends in this community when women around the world are going to sleep and not waking up. While in these comatose states, they are discovered with an odd growth on their faces, spindly white thread that soon becomes a cocoon that surrounds their bodies. Panic ensues and those who seek to remove this cocoon from family and friends are met with a rabid response, sated only by the violent murder of anyone who dare disturb the woman’s slumber. This odd occurrence is tied to sleep—but only of women—and is soon labelled Aurora Sickness. As the folks of Dooling do all they can to understand this phenom, the women are taking matters into their own hands to stay awake. Chaos reigns as caffeine and other stimulants—both legal and illegal—are sought by anyone possessing the XX chromosome, in an effort to remain awake. When rumours hit the internet about a scheme to ‘torch’ the cocoon-bearers, this only adds a new layer of concern in Dooling, where riots and vandalism have changed things for the worse. Tucked away in the prison is that aforementioned stranger, Eve Black, who appears to be immune to the cocooning and enjoys restful sleep without consequence. Does Eve have something to share with those left awake in Dooling that might bring an end to the madness? What happens to those who remain asleep in their cocoons? These answers and more await the reader as they flit through this massive novel—like moths on a summer night—and are enveloped in a story that has all the markings of a King classic. This joint effort should leave fans of the elder King quite pleased and raise interest in Owen’s own writing.

Having never read Owen King before, I must use my knowledge of his father’s writing to provide comparative analysis for this review. I will be the first to admit that reading Stephen King is not for everyone, though his novels as not as horror-based as they might once have been. Their uniqueness lies not only in the number of pages used to transmit a story, but also the numerous tangents taken to get from A to B. While that might annoy me with some authors, I find solace in the detail provided on the journey when King is at the helm. As King is wont to do, he supersaturates the story with scores of characters, all of whom play their own part in the larger narrative. While this may annoy some readers, I find it—bafflingly—exciting as I keep track of all the mini-stories that develop throughout. That being said, a few characters rise to the forefront in this piece and help bridge the story together. Lila Norcross proves to be a pivotal character, both in her role as sheriff and a level-headed player in town when chaos begins to rear its head. Lila has much going on and her character must face many struggles throughout the story, but she never backs down from what stands before her. Clint Norcross, Lila’s husband and prison psychiatrist at the women’s facility in town also plays an interesting role, in that he seeks to explore the lives and thoughts of those incarcerated, as well as serving as an important liaison for Eve Black, currently being detained in the ‘soft room’. Eve Black remains that character that King uses in most of his novels, the unknown individuals who brings chaos to the forefront while remaining calm and even endearing. No one knows anything of Eve, though her character becomes significant as the story progresses. Turning to the story at hand, it is both complex and simplistic, allowing the reader to pull something from it that might appeal to them. The curiosity surrounding the cocoon remains at the forefront of the plot throughout and why women are the only one’s being saddled with this remains a mystery. Both Kings seek to have the characters explore this anomaly throughout the novel, while also facing some of the concerns of a town disintegrating at the hands of its female population falling by the wayside, particularly when Eve’s immunity becomes common knowledge. There are many wonderful plots to follow within the story, which develop throughout the detailed chapters. The reader will likely have to use the character list at the beginning of the piece to keep everyone clear, though the detail offered allows a quick refresher for the attentive reader. The writing style is clearly elder King, with its meandering way and a narrative peppered with commentaries. It is for the reader to sift through it all and find the gems that will help them better appreciate the story. Chapters are broken up into numbered breaks, assisting with the literary digestion process, which allows the reader to better appreciate the magnitude of the story before them. I enjoy this style of writing, though am not entirely clear what flavour the younger King added to the story, as I am ignorant to any of his past published works. That being said, the collaborative King experience was one I thoroughly enjoyed.

Kudos, Messrs. King, for this excellent collaborative effort. I found myself enthralled until the very end and hope you’ll consider working together again.

Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...
Profile Image for Celeste.
933 reviews2,381 followers
September 16, 2018
You can now find this review and more at Novel Notions.

I’ll probably never look at moths the same way again.

What would happen to the world if half of the population went to sleep and never woke up? And how would that reaction differ if the population was divided by gender, and all of the sleepers were females? How would men handle a world without women?

I’ve been intrigued by this book since the cover art was released, and immediately put myself on hold for it at my local library. I was super excited when it came in, though I have to admit I was surprised by the size. Yes, King has written some huge books, but I guess that somewhere in the back of my mind I expected a co-authored book to a bit shorter. However, the length was perfect for the story; the pace never felt like it was dragging.

Back to the sleepers. Imagine if, one day, any woman who fell asleep became somehow cocooned, and wasn’t able to wake up. And if someone decided to remove a woman from their cocoon, there was hell to pay. Awakened women were angry women, and they fought dirty, biting off noses and beating or stabbing their awakener with whatever happened to be handy, until their faces were once more wrapped in silken fibers and they drifted back into their supernatural slumber. These sleeping beauties left the men of the world completely flabbergasted and the women still clinging to consciousness terrified of long blinks. The aftermath of Aurora, as the sleeping sickness has been named, is where the story really takes off.

There were so many things I loved about this book. The gender questions raised by Aurora were fascinating. Are men more violent without women around to calm them? What would a world without women, or a world without men for that matter, look like for the gender left behind? I don’t think gender roles are as cut-and-dried as they are portrayed in the novel (obviously), but the stereotypes exist and were explored in an interesting way. There are some people that found the book sexist, but I really don’t think that what King and King were going for; they were merely exploring the stereotypes that have defined our society for so long, and that still permeate certain corners and communities. And some of those stereotypes do still hold a grain of truth when discussing a gender as a whole. For instance, far less violent crimes are perpetrated by women than are perpetrated by men. Does this mean that there aren’t violent women? No. Does it mean that all men are violent? Of course not! But differences between genders as a whole do exist, and they bear discussing so that we can figure out the roots of said differences. And seeing societies redefined when they hold only one gender was fascinating. There was also a bit of examination of race and sexuality as they divide our societies, and I felt that these were tastefully. That’s not to say that there weren’t characters who spewed hatred and clung to archaic viewpoints, but isn’t that the case in real life, as well? No society is ever going to be without people who fight against the march of progress.

One of my favorite things about King novels is his ability to take a conflict of cosmic importance and show that conflict in a small town setting, allowing the outcome of the smaller-scale battle to dictate the fate of the world at large. In this case, Dooling, a little town in the Appalachian Mountains, is the focal point of the story, as is the women’s correctional facility that employs a chunk of the town. The fate of the world’s women and the men they left behind depends on the decisions made in Dooling and the prison, especially those involving Evie Black. Evie appeared in Dooling right as Aurora was making its first appearances in the town and prison, and a lot of people think that she has something to do with the sleeping sickness. They just might be right. Because the thing is, Evie isn’t quite human. And I really loved her. She’s funny and scary and incredibly compelling. Evie is one of my favorite characters I’ve come across in a King novel, and I loved how ambiguous she was, playing both sides of the war that raged through Dooling.

King always makes the characters in his small towns feel so real, resulting in a town that is completely believable. And that depth and variance of characterization was definitely present in Sleeping Beauties. I cared so much about the characters, and they were all incredibly well-developed and different from one another. However, this didn’t feel exactly like a King book. The prose was different. It felt a little more modern and polished than his solo work, which to me made it feel more like a co-authored book because I could feel Owen King’s influence. (Not that I have any problems with King's regular prose, mind you; I obviously enjoy it or I wouldn't be consuming so much of his work!) However, the writing was seamless; I could never tell who wrote what, although I could feel the influence of both writers. I’ve seen some people compare this in tone and scope to Joe Hill’s The Fireman, and I completely got that comparison. For me, that was a bonus, because The Fireman was one of my favorite books published in 2016.

In case you couldn’t tell, I really loved this book. It was fabulous. I know that it won’t appeal to everyone, but it just checked all the right boxes for me. It’s a compelling story that touches on some major sore spots currently plaguing our world, and handles those topics well. It’s fun and disturbing and kept me up late reading, and it’s a book that I’ll definitely be reading again.
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,512 followers
February 16, 2018
Not bad....Not bad at all...

A moth flutters from the branch of the old oak tree and settles on her hand

It's been a while since I read a book by Stephen King. Until a few years ago (okay I think it was possibly 20 years ago when I was a teenager hahaha), he was by far my favourite author. My second favourite author was Clive Barker. I used to read so many horror books and I did not mind at all the fact that King was considered an entertainer, not really a quality author. If you wanted to read quality horror, you had to read some Richard Matheson or some Ray Bradbury or even a classic Mary Shelley. Anyway, thank God, a few Oscars for films based on Stephen King's books have certainly helped to upgrade the author.

The truth is that I have never really considered him a true horror author. I have never been scared when I was reading his books. I just adore the way he writes.
I love the way he describes details, the way that every detail finds its place in the end of the book, the way each detail has a meaning and a purpose.

Details! We gotta figure out the details, Jeanette."

Taking account all these, I have to say that this book has many many details and many many characters. Most people may find it boring and rambling. Nothing weird there. It is common in all King's books. This book is just so typical of him. If somebody told me that Stephen King wrote the whole book and his son just put his name on the book cover; I would have believed it.

Another thing I love in King's books is that all of them are not what they look like. They have a reason that they exist, they have a meaning, they have an identity, they speak differently to everyone.
Take for example this book:
■ You can consider it just a horror book with some fantasy elements; and be happy,
■ You can consider it a manifestation about human violence; and feel okay with yourself,
■ You can consider it as a way to show the importance of women in the world and as a way to show their value and even as a tool to make them look like the cornerstone of the existence of humanity; and still get the meaning of the book.
■ You can consider it a metaphor ( Eve doesn't trust the snake, obviously. She had trouble with him before. ); and still understand the book and embrace it.

Yes, this book talks differently to eveyone. I am just happy that after all these years that I was going through a period of drought away from my King's books; I trusted him again.

...hope you enjoyed yourself.

Thank you Stephen! I did!
Profile Image for Blaine.
782 reviews652 followers
February 19, 2023
Sometimes you get what you want, but mostly you get what you get.

All Frank knew was that the ones you really had to watch out for in this world were the ones that couldn’t love even a cat or a dog.

The premise of Sleeping Beauties is simple: women around the world are falling into an interconnected sleep, and leaving the men behind to fend for themselves. Unlike many Stephen King novels, this one has a great deal of overtly discussed social commentary, first and foremost about gender roles and politics. But the novel also makes observations about many other topics, including police shootings, prison practices, fake news, internet hoaxes, and—in a very prescient twist—how those last two might affect an actual global panic (spoiler alert that’s not a spoiler because we’ve lived it: fake news and internet hoaxes are never helpful, but especially not during a crisis).

Sleeping Beauties is not a perfect book. The first half drags in places, and it could be a good bit shorter without losing anything. In many ways, the book feels like a blend of other, better King novels like The Stand and Under the Dome. Still, once it gets going, it’s a solid, entertaining, fast read. Recommended.
Profile Image for Debra .
2,414 reviews35.2k followers
November 2, 2017
3.5 stars

Somewhere in the future in an Appalachian town of Dooling (is this a spoof on drooling which one might do when they fall asleep?), women are falling asleep and being cocooned in a sticky white substance. Psst...don't wake them. No one likes to be waken from a deep sleep, especially the women in this book who become violent once awoken. This is a big book so I am not going to give a big synopsis on it. The long and short of it is this: women are falling asleep, those not asleep yet are living on red bull trying to stay awake, one woman (Evie) appears to be not affected by it and may have even caused it, men are either trying to help figure out what is happening or are up to no good. For the most part, they are trying to figure out how to live and keep the sleeping women safe.

This is a science fiction meets fantasy meets horror type book. It's long and in some parts it felt long. There is a magical tree, a fox, a tiger, a snake, talking rats, moths, and about 60 or so townspeople ; some of which are asleep and some are awake. Evie appears to be in control of all and has ties to the magical tree.

Some reviewers are stating that they can tell what parts Stephen King wrote vs. which ones Owen King wrote. In the beginning of the book, I thought "Yes!" this is S.King's part..but then the entire book felt that way to me so I guess, I really couldn't tell the difference.

I often wondered while reading this book "What's the point?" and "What is the message?" Is there one? Tie in the sleeping illness (for lack of a better word) with the marital problems of the Psychiatrist and the Sheriff (married to each other) and you have a mess. But an enjoyable mess. I enjoyed this book. I don't feel that it is Stephen King's best but at least it is not his worst either. I have never read Owen King before this so I can't speak for him. I thought they did a good job. Perhaps a little more edited especially in the beginning would have made this book better.

But how about that cover? Beautiful!

See more of my reviews at www.openbookpost.com
Profile Image for Zoeytron.
1,036 reviews690 followers
December 23, 2017
Quick!  Would someone please pass me the No-Doze?  The ladies in Sleeping Beauties could have used it, but I needed a double dose my own bad self before it was over.  

This started out strong and had me wondering why so many of my GR buddies were less than enchanted with it.  I get it now.  It wasn't a total snooze-fest, but overall it was a disappointing read for this particular Constant Reader.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,803 reviews794 followers
February 13, 2021
This definitely wasn't a classic King horror story (which is to be expected since it’s a collab) but I was drawn in from the start and quickly fell in love with the characters and the story. I’m always wary of collaborations, too often they come out stilted and awkward. But that was far from the case with Sleeping Beauties. It was absolutely seamless, I couldn't pick out what was Stephen and what was Owen even if I tried! The whole idea of the story is so unique and interesting, I was instantly enraptured and waiting on pins and needles to see how it would all play out and the effects the events that happened would have on the world, Dooling in particular. My favourite part of the story was definitely the characters. There were so many memorable ones to pick from but my favourite is definitely Lila, she stole the show for me right from the start. Something about her just spoke to me and I felt an instant connection with her. I honestly couldn't have loved this book more and I think I enjoyed it even MORE on my reread than the first time around!
Profile Image for Sadie Hartmann.
Author 21 books4,799 followers
October 10, 2017
I'm not going to finish this book; at least right now. Maybe I'll be more tolerant of the slow pacing, exorbitant cast of characters and weak plot line, later. Although I doubt it. I was 450ish pages into a 700 page novel and my suspicion is that this book was more of an Owen King effort instead of Papa King.
I didn't see Stephen's fingerprints on this AT ALL. This book had no teeth, no edge, no bite.
This wouldn't be the first time I DNF'd a King book, so I don't feel bad about it. He has so many hits for me, a miss is no big deal.
This is a miss.
Profile Image for Barbara.
1,390 reviews4,908 followers
January 14, 2022

If Stephen King's "The Stand" and Joe Hill's (Stephen King's son) "The Fireman" had a baby, it would be "Sleeping Beauties."

That's not surprising since "Sleeping Beauties" is a collaboration between Stephen King and his other son, Owen King.

Owen King

Stephen King

Joe Hill


At the beginning of "Sleeping Beauties" - which takes place in the Appalachian town of Dooling - a beautiful woman appears in the woods, strolls over to a trailer housing a meth lab, kills the two belligerent dudes inside with her bare hands, then burns down the trailer 🔥.

The woman, called Eve Black, is arrested by Sheriff Lila Norcross and detained in the Dooling Correctional Institute for Women.

At the same time, a mysterious phenomenon, called the 'Aurora Disease' is affecting women all over the world. The moment a woman falls asleep, white tendrils start to sprout from her body.....and she's soon enclosed in a fibrous cocoon.

If an attempt is made to remove the cocoon or awaken the woman, the sleeper flies into a murderous rage and kills the interfering party ✂- then calmly goes back to sleep.

This scourge is attributed to the 'Aurora virus' - though no one really knows what's causing it.

No female of any age is immune from the so-called Aurora disease, and gals all over Dooling - including teens, schoolgirls, and babies - are succumbing. The Appalachian women start using stimulants - like coffee and uppers - to try to stay awake, but this is a temporary fix at best.

Just about all the females fall asleep eventually, including the town's mothers and wives; the sheriff; the prison warden; the female guards; the women inmates; and so on. The only exception is Eve Black, who's able to go to sleep and wake up without a problem. It's soon clear that Eve is not a typical woman. In fact she's not a woman at all 😵.

It turns out that Eve is an otherworldly being with unusual abilities. When a prison inmate tries to assault Eve, for instance, a single glance from Eve burns the offender's hands. Moreover, Eve is clairvoyant, can float above her cot.....

…..and uses the 'Jedi mind-trick' to get things she wants, like a male guard's cell phone.....which she uses for phone calls and games 😊.

After a few days, all the female prison officials are out of commission, and the institute's administration falls to the jail psychiatrist, Dr. Clinton Norcross - who happens to be the sheriff's husband 👨‍💼

The menfolk of Dooling have varied reactions to the Aurora disease. Some are happy - like fired prison guard Don Peters.....who thinks women have 'done him wrong' (by reporting his continual sexual abuse). Some of the disgruntled men form squads to burn the women in their cocoons. (I can't imagine what they're thinking. These guys plan to live in a world without women? Goodbye human race! 😏)

Other men are distraught - like animal control officer Frank Geary.....whose beloved daughter is enclosed in a cocoon. Frank is desperate to cure his little girl, so - when he hears that Eve is immune to the Aurora virus - he hatches a scheme. The animal control cop puts together an 'army' (consisting mostly of alcoholics, misfits, scumbags, and underage boys), and plans to abduct Eve from the prison, so he can somehow use her to formulate a 'remedy' for the Aurora virus.

Meanwhile, inside the prison, Eve confides in Dr. Norcross. She tells him that a battalion of men will try to capture and kill her. If they succeed, the women of the world will NEVER return. However, if Dr. Norcross can protect Eve for five or six days, the planet's women MIGHT come back …..if they want to.

It turns out that the cocooned women of Dooling have entered an alternate dimension, called 'Our Place', where they're starting a new civilization without men.

Male babies can be born (to mothers who were pregnant when they fell asleep), but these boys will be brought up to be 'gentler and kinder' than the males left behind. IF Dr. Norcross can protect Eve for the requisite time, the women of Our Place will be given the CHOICE to come back....and the vote to return WILL HAVE TO BE unanimous.

In short, the Aurora disease is a test of mankind (literally MAN-kind), to see if they're worthy of going on.

In addition to Eve, there are other supernatural elements in the book. These include a mysterious white tiger,

…..a preternaturally intelligent red fox,

…..an exotic multi-trunked tree,

…..unnatural flocks of moths, and more.

The book is over 700 pages long, but the structure of the story is fairly simple. Geary and his troops formulate strategies, collect guns and munitions, and try to batter their way into the prison. And Dr. Norcross and a band of loyalists try to keep the attackers out....and protect Eve. This goes on for hundreds of pages.

All this leads to the book's dramatic climax. 😎

Sleeping Beauties is a typical King 'horror' novel - with a plethora of characters, a dual between good and evil, and a lot of graphic violence and death.

On the downside, I thought the novel was over-long with too much chicanery by Geary's team. It got repetitive and was a bit of a slog to get through (for me) 😕.

On the upside, the book is thought- provoking and made me wonder about the real women of the world. If the Earth's females found themselves in "Our Place", would they vote to stay there.....

…..or would they decide to come back to the world as it is now: with sex abusers and 'pussy grabbers'; inequitable salaries; glass ceilings; men who commit domestic violence; men who disrespect women; men who start wars; and so on. I'd be curious to know. 🙄

I listened to the audiobook version of the novel, and I want to give a shout out to the narrator - Marin Ireland. Ms. Ireland does a FABULOUS JOB voicing the various characters, and raises the fun of the book 500 percent. 💖

You can follow my reviews at https://reviewsbybarbsaffer.blogspot....
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday .
2,048 reviews2,103 followers
December 27, 2017
EXCERPT: The Avon Lady who was not the Avon Lady walked away from the trailer and back toward the meth lab. The smell of propane grew stronger with each step until the air was rancid with it. Her footprints appeared behind her, white and small and delicate, shapes that came from nowhere and seemed to be made of milkweed fluff. The hem of her borrowed shirt fluttered around her long thighs.

In front of the shed she plucked up a piece of paper caught in a bush. At the top, in big blue letters, it announced EVERYTHING IS ON SALE EVERY DAY! Below this were pictures of refrigerator units both large and small, washing machines, dishwashers, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, Dirt Devils, trash compactors, food processors, more. One picture showed a trim young woman in jeans smiling knowingly down upon her daughter, who was blond like Mom. The pretty tyke held a plastic baby in her arms and smiled down upon it. There were also large TVs showing men playing football, men in racing cars, and grill setups beside which stood men with giant forks and giant tongs. Although it did not come right out and say so, the message of this advertising circular was clear: women work and nest while men grill the kill.

THE BLURB: In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, if the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

MY THOUGHTS: Ummmmmmm. . .

When I started to read Sleeping Beauties, a collaboration between Stephen King and son Owen, I felt sure that I was getting into another 5☆ masterpiece. The first third kept my interest levels high, although I often had to abandon it in favor of Netgalley reads that needed to be reviewed because they were due for publication. I usually push them to one side in favor of Mr King, but not this time. The second third continued to intrigue me, but perhaps not quite as much. I felt like my wheels were spinning a little. And the final third? Well, the whole warfare episode - shoot 'em dead, blow 'em up - I could have done without. It kind of felt like they were cheating, taking the easiest way out. I have to admit to finally skimming large tracts of this section. It was that or throw the book away. And the ending? My jury is still out on that decision.

It is an exceedingly long read at 714 pages, which I have come to expect from Mr King. But I also expect a little more quality than I got here. Sleeping Beauties could easily have been quite a bit shorter. I am not going to apportion blame for either the length or the warfare, because I don't know the logistics of how this was written. But I would like to know. Did they collaborate to the extent that they squabbled over the keyboard? Did they write alternating chapters? Had they each written a similar story that they merged? I don't know. I thought that they may have discussed this in the authors' note, but they don't. I haven't previously read any of Owen King's work. I need to do so.

I have wavered over my rating. 2.5 ☆? 3☆? 3.5☆? It is better than 2.5-stars. Better than average. 3.5? Probably not quite . . . although I am a little more wary of the cobwebs that cling stubbornly to the outside of our house. And those innocent looking little brown moths that swarm around the porch light at night? No way are they coming inside. So some things have lingered. 3.25☆ seems fair to me.

I wish I could have liked Sleeping Beauties better.

All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Jilly.
1,838 reviews6,242 followers
October 7, 2017
I'm rating this middle-of-the-road because the stuff I liked about the book I really liked, but the stuff I hated I really hated.

Stephen King really gets you inside the characters heads and creates complex characters. I had strong feelings about many of the characters.

There were too many damn characters. There was a cast of characters at the beginning of the book that had over 70 people listed. I was like, do I really need to study this before reading? Is this going to be on the test? I'm not sure if I'm up for it.
Also, he added in a couple of bad guys at about 3/4ths of the way into the book. They didn't add anything to the overall story except for additional pages of us having to learn absolutely everything about them and their family histories. I would rather have stuck with the characters I was already invested in and their storylines. It was simply annoying.

There is a plague! Well... a sleeping sickness that only affects women. It was slightly creepy, but a lot of fun to watch as it developed and women fought it for as long as they could. I thought it was funny that the cops eventually started doing meth and cocaine to stay awake. Personally, I'd just say f-it and go to sleep because I hate staying awake and I'd probably be one of those people who has an immediate heart attack if I try to take one of those drugs to stay awake. Hell, caffeine makes me jumpy.

Along with the plague comes a magical tree, a magical tiger, a magical snake, and a semi-magical fox. They annoyed me. No, I didn't find them mystical and pretty. I found them to have a hell of a lot of pages dedicated to their magicalness and I hated them the whole time. Have I mentioned I hate magic? Sure, I like Urban Fantasy, but I have no patience for magic. The only thing worse than magic, in my book, is if it is being performed by a clown. Oh, and we can thank Mr. King as well for our societal fear of clowns.

There is a lot of girl power in this book. The sleeping women travel to another time/space and start a new society. They do amazing things together and build their own new world. There is a lot of food for thought in there:

Molly (12 yrs old) walked the two blocks back to her house (in the dark). By herself. And why could she do that? Because in this world there were no predators. No pedophiles.

Although I am all for a good girl-power theme, the world of men seemed to fall apart a little too fast for me. It seems that most men are aggressive, animalistic killing machines without us girls! I guess it's good to be needed, but come on. Society completely falls apart in five days! I truly think they could have made it a bit longer. At least I hope so...

Omg, can I have this bunny??? He's so cute!
(sorry. I guess I am a stereotype myself. Writing a review: "Oh look, a bunny!!")

And finally:
What I hated more than anything and, to me, was the most important thing about this book:

This book was too damn long!

It would have been so much better if it was a hundred pages shorter. Or, even more.
There were pages and pages on the magic tree. Pages and pages of what a FOX is thinking. Pages and pages of the guys setting up for their war. Pages and pages of those bad guys that were added in really late and didn't need to be in the book at all.
Too long!

Still, overall, it was a pretty good book and I got engrossed in the story. I would recommend it for people who like Stephen King and who have patience.
Profile Image for Mindi.
860 reviews274 followers
October 24, 2017
*This review contains spoilers, so stop right here if you haven't read Sleeping Beauties yet.*

OK, so yes, I've been putting off writing this review. Some knob on Instagram even @ Stephen King for my picture that discussed why I didn't love it. I wanted to love it. It's Stephen Effing King, and I really wanted to love it, but I didn't. And I think it's because this book is more Owen than Stephen.

Full disclosure, I have never read Owen King. I don't know his writing style. But I do know Stephen King, and for some reason this book did not sound like Stephen King. I wish I could find out how much was truly Stephen and how much was Owen, but alas, I don't think I'll ever know. It felt to me like Owen had the bones of an idea, Stephen provided some advice, and then Owen did the majority of the writing.

I've had friends passionately argue that isn't the case. Some of my Constant Reader friends swear that the second half of the book has Stephen all over it, and that most of the people who are disappointed wanted more horror and less fantasy. That is sincerely not the case with me. I think Stephen King could make his grocery list interesting, and so I don't have a problem with genres. This book just doesn't have his distinct voice. You can tell where his advice and ideas are, but the writing just doesn't seem like him.

So let me stop complaining for a moment and talk about what I did like. I liked the concept. I liked the idea of Evie. I liked the tree, and the animals (especially the fox), and I liked Our Place. I liked that the book was filled with strong, powerful women. I liked Lila as the sheriff, and Janice as Dooling Correctional's warden. And I also liked the badass way women responded if they were suddenly awakened from their unnatural slumber. That part seemed pure Stephen.

What I didn't like were most of the male characters, and the fact that not liking them was intentional. I didn't like that the novel felt like a feminist manifesto in the wake of Trump's America. I also didn't like that the Kings decided to tack a police violence sub-plot to the very end of the book. It seemed like the Kings just wanted to make it more political after a first draft, so they decided to throw that in.

I don't mind feminism in fiction. I also think it's important to discuss the problems that America is dealing with concerning racial profiling and unnecessary violence. But I feel like Stephen has an axe to grind, and it's overshadowing the story. I like that he's outspoken on Twitter. I don't like our current president anymore than he does, but when it feels as if you are TRYING to make a point so hard that the story is lost around that point, that's where I have a problem.

Also, if all men are so terrible, why did every single woman in Our Place vote to come back? Yes, there are terrible, destructive, misogynistic men in this world. But there are also some pretty fantastic, feminist men too. I think that's why this paragraph bothers me so much:

"Mostly it was the sons, though, that drew them back. A new start for every woman in the world was goodbye forever to their precious sons and they couldn't bear that. This also made Evie's heart break, too. Sons killed sons. Sons killed daughters. Sons left guns out where other sons could find them and accidentally shoot themselves or their sisters. Sons burned forests and sons dumped chemicals into the earth as soon as the EPA inspectors left. Sons didn't call on birthdays. Sons didn't like to share. Sons hit children, choked girlfriends. Sons figured out they were bigger and never forgot it. Sons didn't care about the world they left for their sons or for their daughters, although they said they did when the time came to run for office."

If that isn't an axe to grind, I don't know what is, and I also think it's incredibly unfair to the amazing men in this world who are gentle and loving and care about women and the planet. Some sons are assholes, but certainly not the majority, and daughters can be just as bad.

Let me just stop this rant by saying that fiction for me, especially horror fiction, is an escape. I want to leave Trump's America and find a place where I can get lost in a story and not worry about all the BS that is going on in the world around me. Sadly, Sleeping Beauties did not provide such an escape.
Profile Image for Susanne.
1,168 reviews37.3k followers
November 28, 2021
DNF'd the audiobook at 80%, which took me 3.5 weeks to get through.

Big Huge Sigh. I really wanted to love this as I love Stephen King, but alas I did not. While the book is ok, and the narrator (Marin Ireland) is phenomenal, unfortunately, the storyline is lacking. I no longer care about why women are cocooned in a moth like material and if any will survive this strange disease. Though this is character driven fiction, which I normally love, there's just something missing here, which I can't quite put my finger on.

After weeks of trying to slog through this, I've decided to give up. Perhaps it's me and it's the wrong time to read this book, thus if you're reading this review, and are interested in this novel, please check out other reviews as I am only one reader.

Thank you to my local library for loaning me a copy of this audiobook.

Published on Goodreads.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,727 followers
March 8, 2018
The Stand/Under the Dome Mash-up.

Yet still creative, enjoyable Epic.
ماذا لو استيقظ الرجال كلهم ذات يوم، ولم يصح النساء أبدا
نعم، هن..المتحرش بهن، المضطهدات، حاملات كل الأعباء المنزلية بل والحياتية

لكن دونهن، لن يقود الرجال العالم إلا للفناء
يبدو ان ستيفين كينج وصل لمرحلة "نحت" نفسه
فتلك الرواية ستشعر أنها تحمل نفس ملامح روايتين من أضخم رواياته
ولكنها خلطة ناجحة طالما تم إعادة تدوير الفكرة بشكل جديد مبتكر...والأهم أن تناسب العصر

الوقفة هنا تخص الأنثي...المرأة..في زمن تصاعد فيه كشف فضائح التحرش، الاضطهاد والنظرة الدونية للمرأة التي تحمل علي أكتافها عبء ثقيل مع أن الرجل لا يرحم
في زمن تصريحات رئيس اهم دولة بالعالم ، ترامب، الدونية عن المرأة
في زمن كشف وفضح منتجي ونجوم هوليوود من الرجال الذين قاموا بالتحرش والابتزاز الجنسي ضد الممثلات الشابات

تأتي الرواية باحداث تذكرني بمشهد سخيف أحمق مفتعل في بلدنا، مصر، لتجمهرعدد من الرجال "الاسلاميين" يحرقون ويدمرون كنائس وبيوت بل واحلال دماء وطائفية قذرة لأنهم يريدون استرداد "كاميليتهم" ، إمرأة ثار الجدل حول تحويل دينها… يريدون اخذها من وسط عائلتها وكنيستها… لنصرة الإسلام؟! وربما لزوجوها لرجل فاضل سأم زوجاته الثلاث ويريد دماء جديدة… وليرق الدماء وتشتعل النيران للحصول علي كاميليا، أوكانت وفاء؟ ...هل حدث الأمر مرتين حقا؟ لا اريد ان اتذكر

تأتي هذه الرواية لتذكرني ان الجميع يتجادل ويتكلم حول صلب المسيح عليه السلام… لكن لم يفكر أحدا كيف وصل البشر للدناءة لمجرد التفكير في صلب رجلا أيا كان لمجرد أن لديه رسالة وفكرة

تأتي هذه الرواية لتفتح عينيك، وعين كل رجل، عن التحكم في الغضب الذي نفشل فيه دوما عندما نتعامل مع امهاتنا، شقيقاتنا، بناتنا، زوجاتنا، نساء حياتنا
تأتي هذه الرواية لتفتح عينيك، وعين كل رجل، عن التحكم في هرموناتك الذكورية وتلاعبك بعواطف -وأجساد- الفتيات والنساء

بل وتأتي لتفتح عينيك عن كيف أساء الرجل استخدام الأم الاكبر...الطبيعة الأم، التي صارت تئن حقا مما نفعله

وللقصة، الفكرة والتشابهات بين القصة وقصص كينج السابقة، بل وبين واقعنا المؤسف سنر المرتجعة الكاملة في خلال ايام قليلة

Oh, and it was My Goodreads' Romance Week's Read..

& starting @ Valentine's Day ❤❤❤ yay..
I know, my Romance Reads is a bit...kinky 😂
But come on, the Title has 'Beauties' & 'Sleeping' 😍
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
December 27, 2017
Very pleasantly surprised.

Oh I knew it would be good, at least I hoped so. I’ve read some “collaborations” that seemed after a few pages read to be written almost entirely by the lesser known writer, then the book selling author would make some notes, some suggestions and stand by waiting for the royalties check.

Also … 700 pages? Really? I started with some trepidation, afraid that I would like the beginning and then slog through the long middle pages praying for the end to come.

But to both, I can happily report that the end result is a fine achievement – a page turner with a rich population of complicated, interconnected characters, good dialogue and a well-researched narration filled with keen observations and references and allusions to Biblical, myth and psychological themes.

The surface story is about a plague or a curse – a global incident whereby women go to sleep and are then covered with a cocoon type of covering. All women. Everywhere.

Well, actually almost all. A handful of women in Dooling, West Virginia find away to stay awake for a few days and to survive what becomes an allegory for what is best and worse in human nature. The unlikely scene of a women’s prison in Appalachia becomes the final showdown in what could be the dawning of a new world and the end of the old.

Is the Y chromosome a fatal flaw in humans?

The writers King, father and son, make some alarming reflections about who causes most of the trouble – and it is usually the folks with the penises. Penii? Penes?

Anyway, women are not all angels either but they do seem to do the heavy lifting when it comes to putting up with dangerous nonsense. (* Disclaimer, I’ve been married to the same woman for 27 years, know she can be … unpredictable, but also know that she more than carries her weight when it comes to maintaining a household and raising children.) The book challenges gender stereotypes while allowing for the good, the bad, and the ugly in both sexes.

So two snaps, a thumbs up and a bag of chips for this entertaining and enjoyable novel. Recommended.

Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,155 followers
January 17, 2019

After recently reading THE OUTSIDER and absolutely 5 Staring it, my first impression of SLEEPING BEAUTIES is that it didn't sound or feel like there was much of a Stephen King presence here, albeit found this early quote pretty cool.....

"The Black Angel came up from the roots and down from the branches. Her fingers are death and her hair is full of cobwebs and dream is her kingdom."

There are bunches of characters here, but no worries....a complete listing is provided up front and many have only minor roles. It's the long, bland storyline that caused disappointment for me.

And.....Rats, I didn't find anything really scary in this world of fantasy, but was hopeful a couple of times.

Despite the mysterious (female only) sleeping virus....despite a few crazies (Angel did crack me up) and violent characters....despite the darkness and unknown surrounding the beautiful black stranger....and despite the "creepy shit on people's faces" that mustn't ever be disturbed, a good portion and end result of the 702 pages was rather a boring letdown (for me) but, ok...the long awaited message good.

STILL look forward to reading any and all upcoming Stephen King books as well as those oldies I have yet to open.

Profile Image for Mia Nauca.
124 reviews3,827 followers
July 17, 2018
Para mi este libro es un 3 estrellas redondo. Interesante premisa: un mundo en el que una enfermedad llamada “la enfermedad del sueño” está haciendo que todas las mujeres del mundo duerman sin poder despertarse. ¿Cómo se comportarían los hombres en un mundo sin mujeres?

Por ahí empieza la trama que como dije es bastante llamativa. Sin embargo, sentí que la historia se desarrollaba de manera muuuuuy lenta y con TANTOS PERSONAJES me mareaba un poco. Eso sí, para la cantidad de personas que describen en el libro casi todas están excelentemente desarrolladas y con una personalidad propia muy bien formada. Te llegas a encariñar mucho con varios (en mi caso mi favorita fue la reclusa Angel) y el tinte feminista que tiene la novela me gustó un montón.

Pero no puedo decir que es de mis libros favoritos de King, aun así estoy contenta de haberla leído.

Lo mejor: el mundo que crea King junto a Owen , los personajes bien hechos
Lo peor: excesivamente largo y tedioso por partes
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