Elevation by Stephen King – Book Review

Elevation by Stephen King – Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.
  • Fiction
  • “Horror”
  • Fantasy
  • Paperback
  • 192 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 3.67

Oh boy, did I have high expectations for this one. My very first Stephen King novel! I picked Elevation because I came across it at a bookstore once and it looked interesting. Also it was the shortest Stephen King novel I had come across so far. I have wanted to read Stephen King for ever, but the books are so ridiculously big (IT by Stephen King is 1116 pages, just to name one) that I was just kind of scared to. So when I came across this one, I figured: it couldn’t hurt to start with this one, right? Before I share my thoughts on this book, I’ll give you a short summary of the plot.

Scott Carey has been losing weight steadily for the past few weeks. He was delighted at first, only he doesn’t look any different than he did 30 pounds ago. And then there’s something else. When he steps onto the scale while holding all sorts of heavy things, he weighs exactly the same as he does naked. Scott consults with his best friend Bob Ellis, who is a retired doctor. As Scott keeps losing weight, he wonders what will happen when he reaches zero pounds..

So let’s begin by discussing the fact that this book won the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards for the category horror. I’m sorry, but this is not a horror story. Mystery, okay. Sci-fi, sure, a little. Even fantasy is more believable, but please. Calling this a horror story, is an insult to actual horror stories.

Elevation only has a few characters that are introduced throughout the book, which makes sense since there aren’t enough pages to introduce any more. If you ask me, the story could’ve been a little longer. The story wasn’t at all bad, but the characters were extremely flat. There’s a lesbian couple who owns a restaurant that is going bankrupt because the whole town consists of Trumpies, so nobody wants to eat there. The couple’s dogs shit on Scott’s lawn and every time he tries to confront them about it, they tell him he just hates them, because they’re a same-sex couple. Extremely flat and uninspired. I’m not denying there are still (sadly) plenty of people who think like that, but this is just a very bad stereotype. Of course all the other characters are rich, middle-aged white guys and white church-going housewives.

The part that bothered me most, though, was the fact that you don’t get any explanation as to what caused Scott’s condition. If something weird is happening to your body, you want to know why, right? I would! But Scott just accepts that he is probably going to float away when he reaches zero and that’s that. The ending was probably the most disappointing part of the whole book to me.

The keyword in this review is obviously “disappointed”. This story could’ve been epic, if King had put in a little effort. Honestly, it feels like he had a deadline to make and he had something laying on a shelf somewhere and decided to just hand that to his publisher without even looking at it. There’s Stephen King on the front cover, so people will read it anyway, right? I could see that his writing is amazing, or at least could be amazing. I’m still planning on reading more Stephen King novels (I’ve got Misery and 11.22.63 waiting on my bookshelf), but I might wait a little bit.

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The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale

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  • Fiction
  • Ebook
  • 240 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 4.13
  • TW: rape, sexual abuse, abortion

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Comfort of Others is a story of tragedy, friendship and forgiveness. It follows Minnie and her sister Clara, two spinsters who live in an old manor called Rosemount, in the middle of a housing estate that was built after the war, when their father sold off most of his land. Directly opposite of Rosemount lives 11-year-old Max with his mother. Neither of them know who Max’s father is, so it’s always just been the two of them. Until his mother meets someone. Both Max and Minnie begin to tell their stories over the course of the summer and they find comfort with each other.

I was very sceptical when I started this book. To be completely honest, I started reading this book because I wanted to create a little breathing room in my Goodreads Challenge and this was the shortest Ebook that I had on my Ipad. I loved the title, but I wasn’t that enthusiastic about the blurb. Nevertheless, it turned out to be pretty good, almost exactly what I had expected.

I’ve never really liked books written from the POV of a child. Sure, this was pretty well-written and I really felt for Max throughout the book, but it just always kind of bothers me. It just either feels way too mature for a child to have written it, or it feels like it was written by a child, but then it is terrible to read. It’s just a really tough POV to do right. I feel like Langdale did alright with it though. Her writing as Max wasn’t too complicated, but also wasn’t annoyingly childish. Kudos to her for that. It’s still my least favourite POV, though.

The book alternates between Max’s point of view and Minnies point of view. Minnies story starts in the 1930s and works its way through 70 years, where Max’s story starts the day the book starts and tells the story of the events of the next few weeks. Minnies story gets sad very quickly, while Max’s story is still building up. I like how the events are spread out over the book, but I just couldn’t help waiting for something else to happen in Minnies story. Her story peaks very early on in the book and then kind of starts wrapping up very slowly, which was kind of a shame. Luckily we still had Max’s story.

Kay Langdale is not a writer I had ever heard of before. I was surprised to see she has actually written quite some books, none of which I had ever heard of before. Even though I only gave the book 3 stars, I do think Langdale deserves much more publicity than she’s getting right now. The book was very well-written, very emotional at times. It was just missing some elements which, in my opinion, made the story feel a little flat at times. But then again, I’ve never really been a fan of slow-paced books. Langdale definitely has a lot of potential, though.

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The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

  • Fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Ebook
  • 226 pages
  • Goodreads rating: 3.89

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Hi fellow bookworms! I’m back with a review for the very first book I read in 2022: The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I had a hard time choosing the first book of the year, but I eventually settled on this one, because it is relatively short and when someone asks what your first book of the year was, you can say: “Oh just The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, why?”. So, there’s that.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

I was a little bit disappointed with the book (hence the 3-star rating). My expectations were pretty high because of the good ratings and all the praise on Bookstagram and Booktok, but it kind of let me down. Funny thing is, now that I take a closer look at some other reviews of this book, the keyword there is “underwhelmed”. So I guess I’m not alone in my disappointment.

First of all, the main character, Santiago, is constantly referred to as “the boy”, but at no point in the book do you have any idea how old he is. This may be a tiny detail, but if you say “boy”, I may think he’s like 7 years old at first. But then suddenly that 7-year-old says he wants to marry the merchant’s daughter next year and you figure, okay I guess he’s probably a little older than I’ve been picturing him. If I’m constantly trying to figure out how old the main character is, I’m not paying attention to the story.

“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”

Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The other thing that bothered me, is the circumstances around the search for Santiago’s destiny. I mean, I love a good story about someone trying to find their destiny and eventually finding it, but in this case the destiny was basically just getting rich. So I guess this a religious self-help book written by a capitalist? Also, the boy is constantly told that all that matters is fulfilling his destiny and as long as he does that, everything will magically fall into place. Except, he forgets that he is trying to fulfil a destiny like every 10 seconds. Most of the book he’s just doing his thing in a crystal shop, making a lot of money and thinking of ways to make even more money.

I really liked learning new things about the Islam, like how the Quran dictates that you should always feed a hungry person. I love how the book paints the Islam in such a positive light. The world needs more books that show how beautiful Islam can be.

All in all, The Alchemist was alright. It had some beautiful quotes and some life lessons to remember every now and then, but also a lot of life lessons you should forget as soon as possible. If all you have to do to get something, is to want it bad enough, I would be married to Ryan Reynolds right now. Also, without spoiling anything, the ending to the story was really frustrating…

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