Horror isn’t really my genre, so I’ve not read a whole lot by Stephen King, but I’ve been starting to dabble the last few years (and by that I mean I’ve now read two books by him). I’ve not read anything by any of his family members, either, as they tend to be in the same genre, so Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King was a first in a couple ways.
Set in a small town in Appalachia, everyone is going about their normal lives when news reports start filtering in about women across the world falling asleep and becoming enshrouded by a kind of cocoon. In Dooling, Sheriff Lila Norcross has her hands full with family secrets, a double homicide, and a strange woman wearing almost no clothes and lots of blood.
As cases of Aurora start popping up in town, Lila begins to see that it’s all somehow related, but time is running out as fast as her energy. And if the women all fall asleep, it’ll be up to the men to find a solution–but the men are busy fighting among themselves and using violence to solve their disagreements. And if they can’t find something better within themselves, their women may never come home.
First of all, if this is horror than I’ve been misunderstanding it my whole life. But, I don’t think it compares to some of King’s more classic horror novels. But it was an interesting, fast-paced novel that kept me engaged as I worked to unravel the threads of the story. The father-son duo (and their editors, probably) did an excellent job of blending their voices into one cohesive narrative. I’ve read some multi-author books where you could tell the parts were written by two different people, but that wasn’t the case with Sleeping Beauties.
The book also explores the idea of moral superiority between men and women. The premise is clearly than women, left to themselves, could create a new and better world untainted by modern men. Nearly all the men in the story had serious flaws and problems or history that they hadn’t fully dealt with, all of which impacted their wives and the women they knew. The women, while far from being saints, were painted as more willing to be selfless and sacrificial, even toward their men who were less than deserving. It’s an interesting take on humanity, and probably one that’s very common, maybe even popular, within some groups.
All in all it was an engaging read, good for those who like thrillers, weird circumstances, and action stories. However, it’s littered with profanity, which can be a turn-off for some. And also includes references/scenes of violence and sexual abuse, which could be triggering to some audiences.