Today I’m giving you the skinny on a unique author who is widely recognized as one of the great authors of our era: Stephen King. King is an American author who primarily writes in the genres of horror, science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers. He’s also written a couple of childrens books, but I’ve never read those. He’s most famous for his horror novels, and his Dark Tower fantasy series. Several of his books have been adopted into successful movies, but I’ve yet to see one.
King’s a great writer who can truly grip you; however, I’ve never become a huge fan of his. It’s simply my personal taste; I’m not too big a fan on the horror books, and that is what he specializes in. However, he’s still a great author. He is uniquely talented in the fact that he can write well in several genres. His horror novels are truly frightening; I’ve had trouble falling asleep for weeks after reading some of his works. All his books are gripping; King knows how to tug in an audience, and keep them glued in for the rest of the ride. He doesn’t utilize subplots, he usually only sticks to one main plot line. He normally has one main character, a prototypical reluctant hero, who has the conflict thrust upon his shoulder and must work against it. Although this template can get repetitive, he uses it well; you’re never bored when reading a King novel. His stories are not realistic, but they still make for fun reading. I particularly like his thrillers, as they are marathon reads that progress at a steady pace, but with enough intrigue to make you want to keep turning the page. His strengths are many: his books are gripping, fun reads that have a steady plot tension that fuels the book.
Not being a huge fan of King, I can give an unbiased opinion of his strengths, as described above, and his weaknesses. Very honestly speaking, King does not have many weaknesses as a writer. As I eluded to, he does resort to a storyboard template for his books, but they are used well enough as he has enough variation in them to make them unique each time around. A problem some may have with his writing is the length; he’s not one to shy away from writing 1000 page marathon reads. This has never bothered me, but it might be a nice change if he managed to condense some of his longer works. The biggest problem I have with his writing is that his climaxes are never very explosive. They aren’t bad, but they aren’t great either. I wish he could come up with some more explosive climaxes; I think it would drive the nail in the coffin in making his books great reads. His books are still nice, but greater climaxes are something his writing would certainly benefit from.
To summarize Stephen King in a few lines, he’s primarily a horror author who can write nicely in various other genres as well. His books aren’t realistic, but are still fun reads. He can write very long books, but also writes excellent short stories. King loves writing about the supernatural, so his reads are greatly interesting. Being a fan of thrillers myself, I’d recommend his thrillers; marathon reads though they may be, they’re gripping reads that are great fun to read.
Strengths: Gripping and fun reads, capable of writing well in multiple genres, controls tension nicely, intriguing novels that want you to keep on reading.
Weaknesses: Resorts to prototypical characters, unrealistic, novels are of very long length, climaxes are not very exciting.
Must Reads: 11/22/63, Full Dark No Stars, Under the Dome
King is a solid author. Though I’ve never grown to be a huge fan of his, his books apeal to many. I’ve heard several movies based on his books are great, so I’m hoping to watch a few soon. Try King’s novels, it might just be something you’re into. However, I must warn you that if you’re easily scared, avoid his horror novels at all costs, unless you wish to sacrafice sleep for many weeks.