5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating is all I can say!
I have always been a bit wary of Stephen King's books so I thought why not plunge into one of his most revered/loathed books by reviewers and fans alike? I wasn't disappointed at all. King, pulls you into a World through the eyes of a few survivors of a devestating plague and how as the lone survivors have to live, work, and survive together without killing each other...
Published on May 4 2007 by Ali Siddiqui
3.0 out of 5 stars What Can I Possibly Say That Hasn't Already Been Said?
I think the title of this review speaks for itself. I was able to get my hands on a hardcover copy of "The Stand" before Christmas last year; the copy is the Gramercy (Random House Value Publishing) reprint, having been published back in 2001. The retail price of the book lists for $45; the normal discounted price is about $20; Barnes & Noble offered its...
Published on May 6 2004 by Vickie R. Terhune
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating is all I can say!,
This review is from: The Stand (Hardcover)
I have always been a bit wary of Stephen King's books so I thought why not plunge into one of his most revered/loathed books by reviewers and fans alike? I wasn't disappointed at all. King, pulls you into a World through the eyes of a few survivors of a devestating plague and how as the lone survivors have to live, work, and survive together without killing each other. As in any post-apocalyptic story we have individuals who now have no fear of authority go on a rampage killing and pillaging and the survivors who just want to live are holed away cowering behind their walls. However, King doesn't go along this route (when does he ever!?), instead he pits those who survived due to Good and Evil. Throw in a bit of religious intrigue and not only do you have a book where questions arise through the characters on whether or not they believe in a God or whether they survived through pure chance just to end up fighting the Evil that lurks just over the mountains.
The characters are complex, evolving, and so life like that they could be easily recognized and easily relatable to in real life. The scenarios really helps the readers to empathize, sympathize, hate, or understand why the characters are acting as they did/are. I actually ended up supporting characters at one point and then questioning how they could have done what they did to the others...only to realize later on that from their point of view they did that to survive...something I found so refreshing. I was absolutely astounded by the evolving characters since I expected to read a book with cliched archetypes, now I know better. There are points where you wished King hadn't done what he did to one character (you'll understand later on when you read the book) since you feel so damn awful about how he was treated before the apocalypse that you wished he would end up happier in the post-apocalypse World.
If the World does end tomorrow and I needed a guidebook to help me survive the turmoil that tragedy on an epic apocalyptic scale brings...I would take "The Stand".
If you love Stephen King...buy this. If you love post-apocalyptic stories...buy this. If you love watching ordinary folks being forced to work with each other when their lives are at stake...buy this. If you really love evolving characters with each their own personalities and goals...buy this.
For my first Stephen King book, I was very much impressed by this epic novel. I'm glad I took the plunge. This book now is firmly placed in my top 10 list of books to take with me on a desert island.
5 *****'s all the way. :)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "STANDS" alone when compared to the movie,
The end of the world. Who hasn't thought about it? And how can you forget those crazy Y2K fanatics who all firmly believed the Apocolypse was arriving on our planet Earth? They all stocked up on canned goods and urged the rest of the world to do the same.
King's Apocolypse depiction is a bit different here. No one saw it coming, not even the greatest so-called psychics. The world's population is not wiped out merely by explosions - nor does everyone die simultaneously. A deadly virus has escaped a factory and kills, once through, over 99 percent of Earth's people, over a couple of months. Victims are found in horriffic states: bloated necks, black skin, maggots feasting on their remnants and crawling out of their noses and ears and eyes.
THE STAND is not for the faint of heart.
I read the oh-so lengthy uncut version. Because of how long this novel is, King can afford to introduce many different characters. Some novels have attempted to do this. From my observations, their efforts usually fail because their book is too short to allow audiences to get to know and appreciate a plethora of characters. My favorite character was Nick Andros. Oddly enough, he was deaf and mute. But he's worked his whole life to overcome these hardships and shows he is very wise and witty, to an extent. Before the beginning of the Apocolypse, he was taking college courses. He can read lips just as well as Hellen Keller ever could, and once people realize his disabilities, he talks to them by means of pen and paper or pantomiming.
True, people will either love or hate THE STAND, King fan or not, I believe. My favorite novel of his will always be CARRIE, and this is a far cry from the traumatized teen and her world. It is also very different from PET SEMATARY, the second effort of his that I read. THE STAND is beautiful, at times, terrifying, and has a quality that distinguishes it from all other horror novels.
THE STAND's suspense begins practically from the first chapter and draws on and on. Whenever I met a new character, I wondered if they'd make it to the end of the book. This clearing out of people, practically like deforesting, is for the purposes of a Good vs. Evil confrontation.
In 1978, as fans of THE STAND may well know, renowned science fiction author Spider Robinson encouraged that people not read THE STAND. Unarguably, however, this book cannot be ignored. It became so popular that it was republished, unedited, in 1990. I'm pleased I got to read the unedited version, despite the fact that some say this isn't advisable. Because I haven't read the edited version, I'm not quite sure how to respond to this. But I very much enjoyed this version and I've got no difficulty understanding why many call this one of the greatest horror novels of recent years.
Different, it is. But only in the best way possible. :)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic King!,
Reason for Reading: I am (re)reading King's books in chronological order. This was next on the list.
There are thousands of reviews of The Stand online already. I can hardly assume to add any more insight to what has already been said about the book so I won't try but rather instead give my impressions. I've read The Stand before, the original version, back when I was somewhere between 11 and 13. I know this as Cujo is the first new book of his I waited to buy when it came out. Since I'd read the original version, I chose to read the "uncut" version this time around. With 30 years between reads I am not in a position to compare the two as I only remember The Stand affecting me as a book that has stood out as one of the best books I'd ever read my entire life. It scared me and haunted me at the time.
The re-read has lost that affect on me. I didn't find it scary or incredibly creepy but I've read so many apocalyptic books since then that the novelty has worn off. I must remember though that those other books are all looking back at The Stand as their model and while some may get close, Justin Cronin's The Passage, none ever exceed King's original epic apocalyptic novel. That said it still is an incredibly well-written, compelling story that never lags. It has a huge cast of characters and this is when I enjoy King the most as he is a master at juggling a large ensemble and he can develop even minor characters who only have a few chapters to a point where you remember them long after the book. As a kid I remembered Larry the most and it was his character I was looking forward to meeting again but upon this second read as an adult Larry didn't affect me the same way. This time I found myself attached to Stu Redman much more. He is certainly the man I would want to have around if I was in such a situation! In King's preface he states that this is not his favourite novel but is widely mentioned as his reader's favourite. (I wonder which *is* his favourite). Not having read all his books I can't make that claim, yet, but of the ones I have read it did stay with me the most. After this re-read I can see why. It is not just a story but a world that the reader slips into and loses themselves. The classic struggle of good vs. evil keeps you on the edge of your seat and though I mentioned I didn't find the book scary or creepy, it certainly has many uncomfortable moments of gruesome and pure evil that are not for the faint of heart. In the end the book is not what I remembered it to be but it was a new experience with adult eyes that I understood more deeply and it still has a hold over me. I can truly see an apocalypse of this variety being a possible reality. A story that will consume you for days and haunt you for years.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Captivating Novel about the End of the World,
I first read "The Stand" when I was fifteen (eight years ago) and have probably read it about 3-4 more times since then. It still is my favorite book ever. This book has everything in it action, romance, horror, comedy but most importantly an apocalypse that is eerily possible. The characters are rich and the plot carries you from the begining of a killer superflu that kills 99% of the population all the way to how the survivors are going about living with their lives. I am an avid King fan, but I also read many other horror novelists, and I still find this novel to be the one that has stayed with me the longest. I highly suggest anyone who wants to read a completely engrossing book that will change your life this is the one to pick up. What's even better is reading it again and again over the years and picking up on different things and getting something new out of it everytime. I have read it about 5 times and from age 15 to 23 the book changes and means something different everytime!! MUST READ!!!
5.0 out of 5 stars King's apocalyptic masterpiece of modern literature,
The Stand, in my opinion, marks Stephen King's progression from horror to literature. Consistently voted fans' favorite King novel ever since its initial publication in 1978 (although I personally consider the novel It his finest work), The Stand delivers an archetypal conflict pitting good against evil against a backdrop of civilization itself. In this extraordinary novel, King fully unleashes the horrors previously contained in the microcosms of an extraordinary person (Carrie), a single town ('Salem's Lot), and a haunted hotel far removed from civilization (The Shining).
This is how the world ends: with a human-engineered superflu which escapes containment in the form of a terrified guard who unwittingly spreads death over a wide swath of southwestern America in his bid to escape infection. Captain Trips, they call it - until they die, and people die in droves within a matter of days. In almost no time at all, well over 99% of the American population have suffered an agonizing death. Those that are left all alone begin to dream: comforting visions of an ancient black lady called Mother Abigail in Nebraska rising up alongside nightmares of a faceless man out west. Many find their way to Las Vegas to serve under Randall Flag, the Walking Dude of their night visions, but many others flock to Mother Abigail in Nebraska and eventually Boulder, Colorado. As the citizens of the Boulder Free Zone attempt to reform society and make a new life for themselves, they are forced to come to terms with the fact that they are caught up in a struggle defined by their spiritual leader in religious terms. They must destroy Flagg or be destroyed by him - in a word, they must make their stand.
I could not begin to describe the dozens of richly drawn characters King gives life to in these pages. They are ordinary people called to do extraordinary things in a world reeking of death and fear. Some are not up to the challenge, and betrayal has awful consequences in this new reality - to the betrayer as well as the betrayed. These are real human beings, flaws and all; there is good to be found even among those serving the greatest of evils, and at the same time, the good guys don't always behave in ways you think they should. Nick Andros, Nadine Cross, Larry Underwood, Glen Bateman, Stu Redman, Harold Lauder, Mother Abigail, Tom Cullen, Randall Flagg, Trash Can Man - these are characters you will never forget. I must admit the climax of the great struggle just doesn't seem to be all it might be, but the first 1000 pages of this novel are so good that even Stephen King could hardly be expected to top what he had already accomplished in the framing of this ultimate conflict.
I find it slightly odd that religion plays such a small part in this visionary apocalypse. As far as Mother Abigail and, eventually, the novel's heroes are concerned, this is a religious fight between the imps of Satan and the servants of God, but you won't find any theology apart from a few misplaced references to Revelations by frightened characters, and no preacher of any faith seems to have survived the superflu outbreak itself.
I wouldn't call this a scary novel, but it certainly does have its moments - best exemplified by one character's journey through a dark tunnel surrounded by invisible but very dead and decaying bodies caught in an eternal traffic jam. The real horror, of course, is the all-pervasive atmosphere of a world decimated by man's self-imposed destruction. Death is literally everywhere these characters turn - in the silent houses and cars all around them, in the streets upon which they travel, in the terrifying nightmares they have of the Walking Dude, and even in the future they try to avoid thinking about, as no one knows whether the superflu will kill the children yet to be born. I found the sections dealing with the reconstitution of a society of some sort to be the most interesting aspect of the novel - will it be like the old society, will it repeat the mistakes of the last one, etc. This is also a story of personal redemption, as the novels' heroes must overcome their pasts and/or their human weaknesses and handicaps in order to make their stand. When the deaf-mute Nick tells Mother Abigail that he does not believe in God, she tells him that it doesn't matter because God believes in him - that is a truly empowering message.
There is an intriguing philosophical undercurrent to this novel that applies both eloquently and meaningfully to the human condition. The Stand is modern literature, a direct descendant of such epics as The Iliad and The Odyssey, and you will learn something about yourself when you read this masterpiece of contemporary literature.
4.0 out of 5 stars Salute the Captain Trips,
"The Stand" is where "The Dark Tower" series starts, maybe. It starts as a super virus called Captian Trips sweeps through the country, killing off over 90% of the population. The survivers gather into two parties. One with the saintly Mother Abigail in Boulder, Colorado; the others throw their lot in with the evil Randell Flagg (who has appeared in several King books) in Las Vagas, Nevada. There are so many characters (over 100 that contribute something) that it is hard to really be able to make them individuals, especially the core heros. However the stand-out characters are Nick Andros, a sensitive deaf mute; and The Trashcan Man, a pyromaniac who is more than anyone can handle. So, if the characters aren't especially strong, than the story is really compelling, even if some what episodic. "The Stand" is fans of Stephen King's favorite book, although not mine ("It" is my favorite King book). It is still very powerful, apocolyptic, action packed, scary, grim, and many other darker adjectives. I liked the action, and there was a lot of it; gun battles with roving rape gangs, narrow escapes from explosions, fights in redneck bars. There is also many tense moments of real terror, like with a kid terrorizing Trash Can Man; and Larry's frightening trip through Lincoln Tunnel. There are a lot of memorable scenes in this book, both horrible and tender. It also goes through most of the emotions; love, hate, jelousy, malice, and friendship. I also liked the moment when Larry says "Great, we just reinvented the CIA!" after it is suggested some people should go and see what Flagg is up to in Navada. If it wasn't for the way excessive length (over 1100 hard cover), it would be excellent. However, consider this statement; I read it once over ten years ago, and I remember every detail. It is a really good story. You must also remember this is a lead in to a much larger story.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Stand,
By A Customer
This morning I finished The Stand:Complete and Uncut, and I must say the book was amazing. This is a King novel, so expect lots of character depth and a multi-layered plot. The book is about the end of the world as we know it. An accident at a germ-warfare research facility in California unleashes a deady engineered flu epidemic that spreads uncontrollably fast. The world is in chaos with people dropping dead left and right and bodies being dumped into the ocean by the boatload. And even as things are rapidly falling apart, the government attempts to cover-up their mistake. Their efforts fail, and 99.4% of the world's population is deceased. The immune survivors, still in shock, begin to look for other humans to band together with. Then the dreams come... dreams of a Dark Man in the West and a 108 yr old black woman in the East, both beckoning to them. Everybody has them, and with nothing better to do, they make a pilgrimage to one or the other and prepare for an apoplyptic battle of good versus evil...
The book can be disorienting in the first half because the perspective switches between many characters doing different things every chapter. There is no one main character, rather a group of them: A small town redneck name Stuart Redman, a pregnant young lady named Francis Goldsmith, a deaf mute by the name of Nick Andros, and many others. In one long section in the middle the book slows down to a snails pace, and gets pretty boring. This middle part could have been easily compressed, and I have a feeling that most of the added material is in that section. Other than that, I couldn't put it down and the 1000+ pages flew by in about a week. Buy this book, you'll be very satisfied with your decision, whether you just like some good action or if you're a thinker (This book will make you pause and contemplate a number of different issues)
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Masterpiece from the mind of Stephen King,
This review is from: The Stand (Hardcover)
The Stand is, more or less, a story depicting the end of the world. It begins with an accidental outbreak of super flu from a government facility, which soon breaks free to wreak havok on unsuspecting humans and animals. Almost everyone dies, and does so considerably fast. The army tries to stop it, but no one succeeds. Those that DO survive are people who have a natural immunity to the bug. Eventually these lucky souls band together to form a sort of community.
The atmosphere is bleak and gritty. It's depressing, but at the end of the tunnel they find a light through each other. They try and maintain hope and see it through to the end, while fighting the seemingly impossible at the same time. Not a feel good book necessarily, but then again most horror isn't.
Suspense was built up when it should have been, and most of it had my back muscles stung up pretty tight.
Stephen King is one of those authors who has a natural talent with characterization. The Stand is no different, and although there are several key players to keep track of, I wasn't confused as I have been in some of his other novels. I can't speak of a "main character," because there were several, and each person brought forth their unique traits, their past histories, and their own individual purposes, that were important to the plot. Each one enhanced the tale, and without this important element the story would not have succeeded so well. I didn't like everyone, but thankfully those I didn't care for got less time than the others.
Some may see the page count of this one (817) and fear it would be too slow for them, rest assured it's not. The pace goes along surprisingly well for such a lengthy read.
Is the Stand haunting? Well...it's never fun to imagine that basically the entire world is dead and you are left alone, forced to seek out other survivors and make them your new family because your real ones are dead. It's not fun to go into the street and be greeted with the stench of decaying corpses, or to no longer have electricity and signs of modern times. Getting wrapped up in the story like I did, I was able to imagine what this would have been like, and let me tell you it wasn't pretty. That theme alone was creepy. The end of the world isn't a time I'd want to live in, especially if it goes out this way.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good: great depiction of the end, Bad: long, Ugly: The end,
Stephen King's uncut "The Stand" is long, long, long. Arguably too long. Thankfully, the sheer bulk of this book does not detract from King's surprisingly good characterization and the compelling plot hook - a virus that wipes out just about the whole world save a small percentage of the population. Both are handled well, with believable people and graphic depictions of the aftershocks of such a virus.
Only in the end, when metaphysical religious mumbo jumbo takes over, does the epic "The Stand" truly falter.
The uncut version of this book is a doorstop, easily surpassing 1,000 pages of text. Most of it is very good. The depictions of the virus' impact on the world are scary and well portrayed. We see well-written and detailed glimpses into the lives of our main characters - too many unnecessary and lengthy glimpses, admittedly - that allow us to know these people inside and out. And we are drawn into the world of the few survivors as they try to rebuild the world that was lost.
The first half, maybe two-thirds, of the book sail along briskly despite the time King takes to dwell in insignificant character details. The latter portions of the book, however, are a disappointment. A building mystery and a strong tale of survival ultimately leads to a hokey pseudo-religious showdown that fails to compel. By this point, you're turning pages not because you ant to see the mystical action unfold, but because you have already read 700 pages and are therefore compelled to keep going. A very poor end to an otherwise great buildup.
That criticism isn't to say the book isn't worth reading. The portions of the book that are strong - and that's most of it - are simply great. King is a better writer than some credit him as being, the story is fascinating, and the bleak future disturbing. Really great stuff (though I am inclined to read the original, "cut" version to see how it compares).
King fans are likely to enjoy this regardless, so pick it up. Non-King readers are warned about the extreme length, much of it unnecessary. Yet those same readers should know that if they enjoy disaster stories, post-Apocalypse tales, stories about the breakdown of civilization and other such themes, "The Stand" will fit right in with your tastes. It is a well-done look at a future we hope we don't have. (They just might want to stop before the disappointing end).
3.0 out of 5 stars What Can I Possibly Say That Hasn't Already Been Said?,
This review is from: The Stand (Hardcover)
I think the title of this review speaks for itself. I was able to get my hands on a hardcover copy of "The Stand" before Christmas last year; the copy is the Gramercy (Random House Value Publishing) reprint, having been published back in 2001. The retail price of the book lists for $45; the normal discounted price is about $20; Barnes & Noble offered its stock of the book for about $13, but I got my copy for $5--five measly dollars. The book is in like-new condition, but the dust-jacket is a little beat up, but for five bucks I didn't care. I must say, though, that the physical quality of the Gramercy reprinted book (binding and pages) is a little lesser than Doubleday's reprint of the book back in 1993 (the full-version novel was orginially published three years earlier, back in 1990).
After I got it, I put off reading this book for a while because it seemed intimidating (also, I'd been reading too many reader reviews); but then about a month ago, I told myself: I'm going to read this sucker and I don't care how long it takes me--turns out, about four weeks. I'm not going to endeavor to describe the story's plot, since several hundred earlier reviews attempt to do so.
"The Stand" is considered, by some, to be Stephen King's masterpiece; "The Stand" is considered, by some, to be, well, most certainly *not* a masterpiece. I have mixed feelings about the book--it's not the best book I've ever read, but it's not the worst book I've ever read, which is why my rating is three stars. However I have to disagree about the Gramercy publisher calling "The Stand" a Modern Classic. "The Stand" provides ample evidence of how much of an inconsistent writer Stephen King actually is. In the memoir/how-to book "On Writing", Stephen tries his very best to come across as an "authority" when it comes to novel-writing. Yet, "The Stand" shows that Stephen can, with a clear conscience, break almost all of the "rules and regulations" he provides in the writing book.
Also, the Complete and Uncut novel is almost too long for the story's own good--the story is too complex. There are some awesome parts/scenes in the book, but as a whole the novel is quite forgettable. Stephen employed way too many characters and the book's climax is sheer idiocy (after over one thousand pages, I guess I got my hopes up too high).
This book was the one that took Stephen over a year to write, due to a rather bad case of Writer's Block--and one aspect of the book that almost gave me a case of "Reader's Block" is this: the original manuscript of "The Stand" was written back in the '70s and was first published (in truncated form) back in 1978. But what made me confused, as I got more into the book, was separating the original time-frame with the updated time-frame. Before Stephen re-released the book in its full form, he updated the novel's time-frame to 1990 (and the first month of 1991); contrarily, there are some parts/scenes/whole chapters that retained that 1970s feel. Instead of having expanded the story, in which probably all the '70s manuscript remains, Stephen should have completely overhauled the novel for its re-release back in 1990--but, considering the bout of Writer's Block he suffered, twelve years later Stephen probably found overhauling the full-length story a bit to daunting of a task.
Overall, "The Stand" is, I feel, worth reading, if your attention-span/belief-suspension can hold out for 1,153 pages. Is "The Stand" Stephen King's masterpiece? Maybe. Is "The Stand" a Modern Classic? Nope, sorry, it's not.
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The Stand by Stephen King (Hardcover - Aug. 21 2001)
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