For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don’t we all secretly know this? It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.
I believe this is my 53rd King, if I counted correctly. My math isn’t the greatest. I would be remiss if I didn’t comment on the missed opportunity at this being my 63rd book, but that is neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is, it took me WAY too long to finally read this! What was I thinking? Oh, that is right. My younger, more rebellious self was an ass that thought that because non-King fans (including someone I used to work with who hated King) absolutely loved this, I would purposefully avoid it for awhile until it wasn’t so popular. It was almost a fuck you. But enough time has passed. I have smartened up! I regret waiting so long. But I am ever so grateful that I get the chance to read this epic masterpiece! Better late than never.
I finished this yesterday & have struggled to form anything coherent about it. I normally do not have a problem word vomiting, but this? This is just too beautiful. Too epic for words. I should know this by now. I have been reading this man’s words since I was 10 years old. And yet.. he continues to surprise me. He surprises me because how can someone write the amount that he does & yet STILL come up with something so unique? So mindbogglingly brilliant? It just goes to show what an incredible talent we are lucky enough to be in the midst of. When people think King “only” writes horror.. it is books like this that you can thrust upon them! Even King’s horror isn’t “just” horror. There are so many layers within his writing. There is a reason he is the beloved writer that he is! It isn’t all smoke & mirrors. The man is a fucking genius! The way he writes characters & their relationships is second to none. He may be who he is, but he still GETS your average Joe. He has been writing for many decades & yet his imagination is just as fresh as ever!
Jake Epping is a pretty regular guy. He teaches high school English in Maine. The year is 2011. Jake stumbles upon a time portal inside a diner that has been bought out. What happens next is a whirlwind of events that take Jake back to 1958 when JFK was still alive. Jake changes his name to George & then sets off on quite the journey.
This is a time travel novel, but it is so much MORE than that at the same time. It takes the typical time travel trope & just fucking knocks it out into the stratosphere! I am hit or miss with time travel novels, because the constant WHAT IF that gets hammered into these tales make me want to claw my eyes out. But this? Oh, how I adored this. This is a time travel story.. but it is also an alternate history story. You can tell King put work in. Major work. The research that would have been necessary for this to be successful is incredible. As someone who used to be obsessed with conspiracy theories, including JFK’s assassination.. this almost felt as if I was reading a biography. It is just insanely detailed & so well done! If you didn’t care about the facts surrounding the assassination before, after reading this you surely will.
Like with most of King’s work, the characters deeply touched me. King & his details. There is no other that comes remotely close for me! Jake/George & Sadie? What a fucking glorious love story. I dare say King has never written a love as magical as this. I get chills still thinking about them!
This was perhaps a little long, but I cannot give it anything less than a five. It was too gorgeous of a story. There is horror in this, but not of the supernatural variety. It is human nature. The passage of time. History. These are truly the real horrors in a life lived. The everyday monsters that we see far too often. But also.. there is so much beauty in this life. King captures that within these pages. He captures it stunningly. And in the end, it isn’t necessarily the life we want. But the life we need. Much like with Jake/George & Sadie.
Also? This book would have been amazing anyway, but that little glimpse of Jake/George meeting someone & someone else was PERFECTION. It was everything! My heart exploded. It is the details like this that King fans eat up. No one else can intertwine so many different stories like the way King does!
King, you are a master. I will forever be your Constant Reader.