'Salem's Lot

'Salem's Lot

Book - 2011
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reedha
Feb 01, 2021

I am a pretty big fan of Stephen King but had put off reading this book because I felt that vampires have been overused in media. But King took this supernatural concept which had been beaten to death by movies and shows like Twilight and the Vampire Diaries and brought them back from beyond the grave, pun intended. This book features signature Stephen King characteristics, like jumping back and forth between different character plots through vignettes and the power of the willingness to believe in things that seem impossible. Things get wilder and wilder throughout the book for an end that (MINOR SPOILER) in my opinion was a little anticlimactic, but still good since it left some things to the imagination.

ArapahoeTom Oct 05, 2020

Not one of my favorite novels by King, which was surprising to me, since it's been talked up so much, and because it has one of the biggest connections to his Dark Tower series.

Simply put, I felt that the first half of the book was very slow. Even after it picked up, I struggled with bits of it, partly because vampire mythology was never my favorite horror sub-genre, and maybe because the cast of human characters dealt with their disbelief literally throughout the entire story. I loved when the main villain was finally introduced and given a voice, but they were totally snubbed way too soon after that happened.

In his introduction, King looks back on his early writing (this was only his second published novel) with some disdain. The flaws were pretty noticeable to me, after getting accustomed to some of his later novels.

Still, I enjoyed the book overall. I'm looking forward to reading some more of his short stories, and maybe jumping into The Outsider once I'm ready for another full-length S.K. novel.

h
hollymsellers
Jan 20, 2020

2nd novel 1975

s
samsue
Dec 25, 2019

If you thought the TV show was scary, you ain't seen nothin' yet. More than 650 pages and you're caught from the very first paragraph. There is so much more to the story than they could show on TV. This was King's second hit novel, so the horror quotient is very high. You'll find you don't want to read it at night.

w
watrousj
Oct 20, 2019

A fun and suspenseful vampire novel by the great Stephen King.

DBRL_MattS May 09, 2018

I'm a sucker for stories about small towns with dark secrets. I'm not a sucker for vampires. Having said that, I enjoyed King's second novel quite a bit. It has several genuinely creepy moments, including an infant vampire and a group of vampire children who take their revenge on an abusive bus driver. I'm having a hard time going to the basement at night now, as I'm sure I'm going to see a pale, undead face peering through a window every time I go down to do a load of laundry. Thanks, Stephen King.

d
deebitner
Mar 02, 2018

One of the most interesting things about some of the reading I've been doing lately is noticing the changes in writers over time. It doesn't have to be over as much time as passed for Stephen King between <i>'Salem's Lot</i> and <i>Black House</i> or even <i>The Green Mile</i>, but I did enjoy the very subtle differences and was grateful for the big ones.

Most clearly, the King who wrote the latter books is a lot different than the King who wrote the first. He still talks beer, he still draws good characters. In the case of <i>Lot</i>, though, I never had the feeling that there were characters like the super-literate biker gang or the tough grandmother in him. The closest he comes is Mabel Werts, but the characters in <i>Lot</i> are more coarsely drawn for all their believability. He's still going with schoolteachers and writers, and that's fine! Later on, he'll reach a lot farther.

That said, this is a fantastic vampire story. He takes a lot of the vulnerabilities and abilities from popular culture, but before vampires were tired this was perfectly acceptable. King was never afraid to kill off characters and the bloodbath here is more than figurative. Character after character falls to the evil infesting the town. I think one of the most chilling parts is the one where he describes how the town is dead - it just doesn't know it yet. The breakdown of the police is appalling. It's fantastic.

It's not my favorite King book. But it acquits itself well, especially if you're willing to put yourself back into the 1970s and remember how it was then - and the terror it would have brought at the time. 4 of 5 stars.

s
Spacek76
Apr 26, 2017

One of my favourites. No one else's books capture the history of a place in all it's nostalgia and creep like Stephen King. Great summertime horror for me.

JCLMelodyMK Apr 05, 2017

Not nearly as full of gore as many of the current books are, yet well written and can still make you think about old houses. King even tips his hat to Shirley Jackson using a quote from her book the Haunting of Hill House.( I really liked that one too.)
"'And whatever walked there, walked alone.' You asked what my book was about. Essentially, it’s about the recurrent power of evil.” That seems to sum it all up. I was engaged and interested in the book until the very end.

athompson10 Feb 29, 2016

Classic horror. This was the first Stephen King I read when it was published back in the '70s and I re-read it recently. The story isn't as scary as my old memories made it out to be but it's well told with good development and a dawning sense of creepiness throughout. Nice ending too!

p
pea46
Jan 25, 2013

I read this recently, after having read it many years ago - still as good a book as I remembered, though not his best work. I have always thought "The Shining" was his best.

k
kittybay
Aug 23, 2012

Not one of his best, but an original vampire novel that's pretty good. I still enjoy his early works much more than his newer (post accident) books. I feel his brush with death (how ironic) has actually erased his true talent.

f
forestofmagic
Nov 19, 2010

I read this book in a few days, and, let me tell you, it was hard to put down. I stayed up late reading it a few nights, and never really found a good place to put in my bookmark. (It was especially hard to stop reading when my teacher would start talking and a vampire was attacking someone...)

Very good descriptions, and very vivid images. These are in no way sparkly "Twilight" vampires. I strongly recommend this if you feel like you're losing your appreciation for the vampire race.

Sabrina Prem Sep 02, 2010

King really captures the frightening sense of the word 'Vampire'

d
div_dbrl
Mar 16, 2010

Stephen King is one of my favorite authors, and this might be his best book. It's also probably the second best book about vampires that I've ever read, second only to "Dracula."

With books like "Twilight" and Anne Rice's "Vampire Chronicles" softening up vampires, it can be nice to read a book where they're just heartless monsters.

Fans of King should know that the reverend from this book actually pops up again in King's "Dark Tower" series.

s
ScorchingSun
Nov 22, 2009

I am not an avid Stephen King fan, but this was one of his better ones.
Extremely frightening as I recall.


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