The Shining (1977) is a horror classic to many; I read it for the first time in 2012 and was scared witless. The horrors of that book ... *shudder* Here Doctor Sleep differs. It's not a spooky horror. Not to me at least. It's horrific, what the vampyric True Knot does, and the thought of them are scary, but they're not evil personified as the Overlook Hotel was. It's less creepy movie horror and more realistic scary people horror. Doctor Sleep also deals with some more daily issues, such as mistakes and regrets and wanting to do better. You can read Doctor Sleep without having read The Shining, but you'll be missing out on a lot of background story and information. Like King himself I'm not a fan of the film, as it does not convey the actual story of Jack nor of the shining abilities.
Doctor Sleep is 531 pages long and it took nearly 300 pages before it became a page-turner. It was however incredibly well-written from page 1 and very much a Stephen King book with all his usual focus points and supernatural shine. I'm very grateful to Gitte from Boghylden.dk who urged me to keep reading when I some 50 pages in was deeply confused as nothing was what I'd expected. It's well worth the full read.
One thing I really enjoyed was sitting with a book that brought Danny into the modern world of smartphones, Sons of Anarchy references and the so on. I don't know why, but I just loved finding all sorts of references and technology scattered around the book that I recognized, which I could use to ground the book in my day and time.
We start out meeting Danny not too long after the Overlook Hotel and then slowly we crawl and jump forward in time following Dan's descent into alcoholism to repress his abilities and then his way out of it again and becoming Doctor Sleep. We are also introduced to a variety of new and important characters who each hold their own. Abra is a delight and the True Knot people are horrible - to sum it up. The story was not at all what I'd thought it'd be, having only some vague idea about him as Doctor Sleep, but I ended up loving the whole damn thing.