I have never read such blatantly liberal, feminist, anti-Trump (without ever once mentioning his name) horror in my life. And I love Uncle Steve for that. This was not his best work, but it was good and had some excellent creepy moments. But overall, it had this MESSAGE that yeah, he shoves down the reader’s throat. A lot. But fuck it. He’s Stephen King. I’m just happy to know he’s on my side.
“It was funny, when you thought about it; what were all those men rioting about? What did they think they could accomplish? Maura wondered if there would have been riots if it had been the other half of the human race who were falling asleep. She thought it unlikely.”
The Aurora flu puts women to sleep. Once they begin to doze, they grow cocoons that seem to keep them alive, but prevent them from waking. If someone else wakes them, they’ll pay the price. The story takes place in a small town in Appalachia, centered around the sheriff and her husband, a psychologist who works at the local woman’s prison (I’m rewatching Orange is the New Black Right Now, so I spent 2 weeks listening to an audiobook about a woman’s prison while watching a show about a woman’s prison…). The sheriff and her husband have their own personal drama going on (which is something that totally could have be excised from the novel), and then each play their parts as Aurora takes over.
Oh, and there’s a supernatural being named Evie who seems to be at the center of all this.
King does a great job with his characters — I really loved the women at the prison — and the story doesn’t fall apart at the end like some of his others. It’s very obvious that he’s trying to SAY SOMETHING, so your mileage may vary with this one depending on 1) Your reaction to that message and 2) How annoyed you get at the obviousness of it (I’ll admit, I rolled my eyes once or twice). But overall, I really liked it.