Published by Scribner on November 11, 2014
Source: Owned Audible Book
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.
I love audio books. In the author’s notes on the audio version of Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, he talks about how the first stories we learn are read to us. I listen to audio books when I’m in the car, shopping, and playing Candy Crush Soda Saga or Trivia Crack.
In typical book blogger fashion, I already have a tbr shelf just for audio books. Reviewing them is a bit more difficult, because I don’t take notes and I don’t always know how to spell the characters names. So these reviews will be a little different from my book reviews.
Revival is not going to go down as my favorite Stephen King novel, but I ended up liking it more than I initially thought I would. So, there’s that at least.
The story is a bit of a slow burn, and for some readers it may prove to be a bit too slow. I personally like the way King really delves into his character’s lives and I found the back story just as interesting as the later run ins with the Reverend and the present day consequences.
The book is shaded with Frankenstein myth, and explores (rather dismally) the question of the afterlife. Reverend Jacob loses his faith in God after a horrible, horrible tragedy befalls his small family. Already obsessed with electricity, he funnels his grief and fanaticism into discovering the powers of lightening. Like a martyr for the cause, the former Reverend stops at nothing to achieve his goal, blind to everything else. Charles Jacob is super smart, bordering on genius, but he’s like a child who’s unable to help but smash everything to get to what he wants, even if it’s the worse thing in the world for him to have (like the time in the grocery store when I was two and threw a hissy fit so awful that the woman in line with my mother offered to buy me whatever I wanted that I guess she thought my mom was depriving me of, and my mom kind of lost her shiz on the lady, because what I wanted was a bottle of wine.).
The Reverend can’t see the monster he’s become, and what’s worse, he’s happy to punish the entire world for what he loss.
The main character of the book isn’t the Rev, though. It’s Jamie Morton. He first meets the Rev when he’s still a small boy, but the shadow cast by him will taint his whole life. Jamie suffers losses of his own, chases the dream of being a musician and finds himself a hopeless drug addict. Then he crosses paths with the Rev again, with a promised cure for his addiction. But nothing is for free, nothing without consequences.
Revival has one of the most depressing endings of any King story I’ve read in awhile, making for one of King’s darker novels. Hell, the ending of Cell at least leaves the reader with the possibility of hope, but the only thing the end of Revival had me hoping for was a desperate search for immortality. I have no wish to go where the Rev has shown. *shudders* It’s been months and I’m still freaked out by it.
David Morse, who starred in Green Mile, narrates. He’s an actor that I like quite a lot. I was not expecting him to narrate (thought King would go with Will Patton, who’s done several of his more recent books), but I enjoyed Morse’s narration.