|The Stand was originally published in 1979. I’m reviewing an extended version with approximately four hundred additional pages. The original was cut by four hundred pages to save on printing costs.
The Stand starts with an infected Solider escaping a chemical lab in a military base. He’s infected with Project Blue, a pathogen which has a 99.4% kill rate and that spreads alarmingly quick through the US and rest of the world.
King starts to introduce characters as the world disaster plot begins. With just a few sentences, King gives each character a believable backstory and makes them feel completely real.
We watch each of these characters deal with the loss of their loved ones, seek out other survivors, attempt to make connections with them and adapt to this new world.
It’s then that the dreams start. A dream about a Dark Man that strikes fear into the heart. A dream about a kind old woman named Mother Abagail.
The different characters have now mostly come together and formed groups. They start their journeys towards the Dark Man or away from him – travelling in the direction of Mother Abagail.
Mother Abagail’s group set up Free Zone in Boulder, Colorado. It’s a democratic community, that grows day by day.
The Dark Man (known as Randall Flagg)’s group set up in Las Vegas. His community is a dictatorship, with severe punishments for minor rule violations. It grows day by day, but not as quickly the Free Zone. The Dark Man is intent on waging war on the Free Zone.
The first two thirds of The Stand are beyond brilliant. The plot is fast-paced and the characters are captivating. But the last third of The Stand felt like King didn’t know where the plot was going. The ending did satisfy somewhat, but had a tinge of disappointment as only two of the numerous main characters had a good conclusion.
The Stand is a large book, totalling 1,325 pages. I read it in about three weeks – which isn’t bad considering my other commitments. There were many times when I simply couldn’t stop reading The Stand.
There were two minor aesthetic annoyances with my copy of The Stand. Firstly, the cover has started peeling. Anyone who knows me, knows I look after my books. So I can only put this down to the cheap production. Secondly, the black and white illustrations randomly dotted throughout book were pointless and of a poor quality.
The Stand is an enjoyable read. It’s a great book that will entertain the reader. It will absorb the reader into an apocalyptic world where good and evil are engaged in their a final battle. The Stand is available to buy on Amazon and at all good bookshops.