Top critical review
Not Horror, Yet Equally Terrifying
on January 6, 2015
A type of superflu virus escapes from a military facility, spreads rapidly and kills 99% of humanity. The survivors come together in one of two camps: Good and Evil. Tensions between the two groups build to an inevitable confrontation.
While beautifully written and compelling, I do have some issues with the book:
1) Stereotypical deaf character. Very few deaf people read lips perfectly - it's actually an incredibly difficult skill to master. For some unexplained reason, he is also mute, which is convenient for the story, but is not characteristic of deafness.
2) There's no real insight as to why the opposing deities are trying to annihilate one other, other than one is good, the other is evil, so just because. I'm not big on the black/white, good/evil scenario, preferring a more nuanced story where there is at least a shred of sympathy for both sides.
3) The title is a complete misnomer because the stand never happens. They're on their way, they're prepared to do battle, and .... the outcome would have been exactly the same no matter what the characters did. I felt gypped.
That being said there is much to recommend the book. While the major conflict is lacking in nuance, the characters are not. We see them thrown into the worst possible circumstances and are with them every step of the way while they learn to adapt, or not, and grow into their better (or worse) selves. We are taken from the very beginning of the tragedy, through the spread of the superflu, the aftermath, and the reconstruction. The ending leaves us with the idea that the conflict isn't really over, just on hold for now.
While "The Stand" is not horror, it is terrifying in a totally different way. Do NOT read this book during flu season.