Book Review: The Shining

I’ve never read a book quite like The Shining.  It is different in both format and setup, as well as in what it aims to accomplish.  I’ve also never read a book by Stephen King, my only knowledge about his books being that they are often creepy and excellently written.

After reading The Shining, I am fairly confident of one thing: I will read another book by King.  It may cause me to shut my eyes a little tighter when I turn the light off and it may make me look over my shoulder when I’m walking down the hallway, but I think it’s a done deal.

It sucks. I wasn’t terrified…”uncomfortably intrigued”…may have been the best way to describe it.



The Shining should be read by all aspiring authors because it takes a fairly unique format, at least in regards to what’s currently popular.

The Shining is written in the 3rd Person Omniscient point of view.  We have a bevy of characters that take center stage and King gives us their actions, emotions, and inner dialogue.  He is an expert at seamlessly switching between characters; not only at chapter breaks, but within chapters.  One paragraph from the mindset of a six year old boy will then be followed by an elderly man’s point of view.  There is an impressive merging of these character’s realities as they interact with one another.  They are constantly considering their own stakes, safety, and sense of place.

King accomplishes this seamless transition by making the audience immediately aware of what character’s head we are occupying.

This kind of writing is called head hopping because the reader gets to play God.  We get all of the characters perspectives.  This is much easier said than done for any author.

His slight deviation in language and perspective, as well as the details noticed by the different characters, gives readers a unique taste of each character.

Some are sweet: Little Danny Torrance

Some are Sour: Mr. Ullman (Hotel Manager)

And some are just plain crazy…


“Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.” (Penguin Random House)

Isolation is a reality best fixed by time spent with family and loved ones, is it not?  But what if our loved ones aren’t who they say they are and their grip on reality is slowly fading…

Danny Torrance is a special boy, gifted with special abilities.  He knows things that he shouldn’t.  He sees things others can’t.  This can be helpful, or altogether terrifying.

Especially when Danny realizes his little family is cut off from the world; isolated in a massive hotel with a history as haunting and harmful as Danny’s own abilities.  But these visions can’t hurt him…right?

Sinister forces are afoot. Death is never the end game.  Some things are much worse. Sometimes, monsters do exist.

“Monsters are real. Ghosts are too. They live inside of us, and sometimes, they win.” Stephen King, The Shining



“A master storyteller.” —Los Angeles Times

“Scary! . . . Serves up horrors at a brisk, unflagging pace.” —The New York Times

“This chilling novel will haunt you, and make your blood run cold and your heart race with fear.” —Nashville Banner

(Penguin Random House)

“Broad in scope, yet pointed in terror; King will leave you breathless, questioning of your own thoughts, and always demanding more….”- B


2 Replies to “Book Review: The Shining”

  1. Welcome to reading Stephen King! I love his work after reading Carrie last year. I’m gradually working my way through his novels. One of my favourite aspect’s of King’s writing is his realism and the way he gives each character such depth. I wrote my own blog post about The Shining if you’d like to compare opinions! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

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