Audiobook Reviews: Revival & Big Driver by Stephen King

Posted July 17, 2015 by Melissa in Book Review | 7 Comments

About Revival

Audiobook Reviews: Revival & Big Driver by Stephen KingTitle: Revival
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: David Morse
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: November 11, 2014
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Horror, Thrillers, Suspense
Length: 13 hours and 24 minutes
Source: Publisher
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N|Book Depository
My Rating:

A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs -- including Jamie's mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family's horrific loss. In his mid-thirties -- addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate -- Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It's a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

Book Quotes

“That’s how you know you’re home, I think, no matter how far you’ve gone from it or how long you’ve been in some other place. Home is where they want you to stay longer.”

“Everyone needs a hobby,” he said. “And everyone needs a miracle or two, just to prove life is more than just one long trudge from the cradle to the grave.”

“Religion is the theological equivalent of a quick-buck insurance scam, where you pay in your premium year after year, and then, when you need the benefits you paid for so—pardon the pun—so religiously, you discover the company that took your money does not, in fact, exist.”

My Thoughts

What can I say about Stephen King? Regrettably I have not read much of his work but that it certainly a situation that I plan to continue to rectify.

Revival is classic King…the pace is slow moving but in no way boring, the world is richly described and the simplest of details come to life in a way that few other authors can manage. Thew New England settings are always a win for me and I love the rich character development and descriptive languid style that is King’s alone.

In Revival we follow the decade long story of two men Jamie Morton & Charles Jacobs. Though there are definitely horrific moments…this tale is actually deeper and darker than that. No straightforward horror for King, we delve deep into the mind and question the lines between good and evil, right and wrong and wonder just how far we might be willing to go…

Unsettling throughout…it was where King took us at the conclusion of Revival that really grabbed me…and was perhaps the most horrifying part of this novel and perhaps any other of his that I’ve read. You’ll just have to pick this one up to find out what I am talking about.

I may have been left with perhaps more questions than answers with this one while still completely satisfied with the ending. One question I don’t have to ponder long is whether I’ll be reading more King soon…the answer to that is a resounding yes!

Narration Notes

David Morse did a fantastic job narrating this one…he was completely believable as Jamie from his faint accent to the bit of gravel in his voice…he brought Revival to life.

About Big Driver

Audiobook Reviews: Revival & Big Driver by Stephen KingTitle: Big Driver
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Jessica Hecht
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: October 7, 2014
Target Audience: Adult
Genres: Horror, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 4 hours and 20 minutes
Source: Publisher
Find It: Goodreads
Buy It: Amazon|B&N
My Rating:

Now a Lifetime original movie, Stephen King's haunting story about an author of a series of mystery novels who tries to reconcile her old life with her life after a horrific attack and the one thing that can save her: Revenge.

Tess Thorne, a famous mystery writer, faces a long drive home following a book signing engagement. Advised to take a shortcut at the suggestion of the event’s planner, Tess sets out for home, well after dark. On a lonely stretch of New England road, her tire blows out, and when a man in a pick up stops, it is not to help her, but to repeatedly assault her and leave her for dead. Tess survives, and she plots a revenge that will bring her face-to-face with another stranger: the one inside herself, capable of gruesome violence.

This story was originally published in Stephen King’s acclaimed collection, Full Dark, No Stars.

Book Quote

“It’s just that I was thinking you don’t ride in that truck of yours, you wear it.”

My Thoughts

Big Driver was an incredibly disturbing read for me. At times I wanted to just stop listening but King drew me in too well for that and I found myself pacing and holding my breath, while waiting to see where this was all going.

I certainly didn’t understand or agree with most of the choices that Tess made after surviving the horrid assault, but King made her character and her reasoning believable in the context of what she had been put through. I couldn’t help but cheer for her even whilst I was covering my eyes and cringing… I definitely had mixed feelings throughout. If nothing else King is always good for making one think and question.

Not for the faint of heart as this one is very graphic and certainly only suitable for adult audiences…I nonetheless recommend this short story if you can enjoy something while cringing at the same time!

Narration Notes

Jessica Hecht did a fine job of conveying the multiple voices involved. And to convey the depth of Tess emotions and how the attack affected her. (Yes only one POV here…you’ll have to listen to understand.)

About Stephen King

stephen king

Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine in 1947, the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his parents separated when Stephen was a toddler, 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 the elderly couple. 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 then 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 from the University of Maine at Orono 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 and Tabitha Spruce married in January of 1971. He met Tabitha in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University of Maine at Orono, where they both worked as students. 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”) toStartling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men’s magazines. Many of these were later gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching high school English classes 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.

In the spring of 1973, Doubleday & Co. accepted the novelCarriefor publication. On Mother’s Day of that year, Stephen learned from his new editor at Doubleday, Bill Thompson, that a major paperback sale would provide him with the means to leave teaching and write full-time.

At the end of the summer of 1973, the Kings moved their growing family to southern Maine because of Stephen’s mother’s failing health. Renting a summer home on Sebago Lake in North Windham for the winter, Stephen wrote his next-published novel, originally titledSecond Coming and then Jerusalem’s Lot, before it became ‘Salem’s Lot, in a small room in the garage. During this period, Stephen’s mother died of cancer, at the age of 59.

Carrie was published in the spring of 1974. That same fall, the Kings left Maine for Boulder, Colorado. They lived there for a little less than a year, during which Stephen wrote The Shining, set in Colorado. Returning to Maine in the summer of 1975, the Kings purchased a home in the Lakes Region of western Maine. At that house, Stephen finished writing The Stand, much of which also is set in Boulder. The Dead Zonewas also written in Bridgton.

In 1977, the Kings spent three months of a projected year- long stay in England, cut the sojourn short and returned home in mid-December, purchasing a new home in Center Lovell, Maine. After living there one summer, the Kings moved north to Orrington, near Bangor, so that Stephen could teach creative writing at the University of Maine at Orono. The Kings returned to Center Lovell in the spring of 1979. In 1980, the Kings purchased a second home in Bangor, retaining the Center Lovell house as a summer home.

Stephen and Tabitha now spend winters in Florida and the remainder of the year at their Bangor and Center Lovell homes.

The Kings have three children: Naomi Rachel, Joe Hill and Owen Phillip, and four grandchildren.

Stephen is of Scots-Irish ancestry, stands 6’4″ and weighs about 200 pounds. He is blue-eyed, fair-skinned, and has thick, black hair, with a frost of white most noticeable in his beard, which he sometimes wears between the end of the World Series and the opening of baseball spring training in Florida. Occasionally he wears a moustache in other seasons. He has worn glasses since he was a child.

He has put some of his college dramatic society experience to use doing cameos in several of the film adaptations of his works as well as a bit part in a George Romero picture,Knightriders. Joe Hill King also appeared in Creepshow, which was released in 1982. Stephen made his directorial debut, as well as writing the screenplay, for the movie Maximum Overdrive(an adaptation of his short story “Trucks”) in 1985.

Stephen and Tabitha provide scholarships for local high school students and contribute to many other local and national charities.

Stephen is the 2003 recipient ofThe National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

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