Thursday 27 November 2014

REVIVAL by Stephen King

In a small New England town, in the early 60s, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister, Charles Jacobs. Soon they forge a deep bond, based on their fascination with simple experiments in electricity. Decades later, Jamie is living a nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll. Now an addict, he sees Jacobs again - a showman on stage, creating dazzling 'portraits in lightning' - and their meeting has profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil's devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings. This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It's a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe...
I say this every time I read one of his stories, but I'll say it again: Stephen King is one of my favourite authors. So whenever he has a new book out, I can't wait to get my hands on it. Thankfully, Hachette made sure I got a copy early on. Thank you, Hachette. :)
This is the story of Jamie Morton and Charles Jacobs. Two men who meet when Jamie is just a boy and Charles is the new, young minister with the lovely family. Jamie is fascinated by Charles who is quite the inventor and shows him some pretty cool things he does by using electricity. Skills that help one of Jamie's brothers after a freak accident makes him lose his voice.
When tragedy strikes and the minister's life is turned upside down, he loses faith. He doesn't believe in what he's preaching, and after the Terrible Sermon he's fired. Jamie is devastated to lose his friend, but life goes on.
And that's what this book is. It's Jamie's memoir, starting when he first encountered the shadow of a man much older than himself and never quite escaped it. Jamie's life is full of sadness, hardship and addiction. An addiction so bad he loses everything and once again stumbles on Charles Jacobs.
Now the minister has a different name, and he isn't a minister. Instead, he fascinates people with his electric trick photography. Charles never stopped testing the limits of electricity. It became his new religion, the pursuit of the special electricity that can cure addictions and illness. Just as it cures Jamie so he can continue his life.

Until Charles resurfaces again as an evangelist and travels all over the country healing people.
It seems innocent enough, but there are dire consequences. Even Jamie experienced aftereffects from his miracle healing, but what happens to others turns out to be a lot more serious. And after he expresses his disgust, he makes an enemy out of Charles. One that will use the past against Jamie to force him to help with his one final experiment.
Something that reveals what Charles Jacobs is really obsessed with--death.
OMG. This book is so well written and so captivating that I was quickly hooked into Jamie's life, going through all his hardships and happy times. His story sucked me in so deeply that the disturbing elements--and there are many--slowly crept up on me. The horror is woven from the very start, but once it's revealed. Yikes!
Revival is as electrifying as it is horrifying. It's amazing and frightening. What seems to be the simple tale of one man's life soon reveals the obsession of another. I found this story addictive and very disturbing. I loved the study of religion and how it was portrayed by Jacobs. I was also shocked by the imagery these two men eventually experience, but not surprised because there were glimpses of it dropped like breadcrumbs along the way.
After seeing that, how can anyone have faith?
And this is why Stephen King is #KingForAReason

Revival, November 2014, ISBN  9781444789188, Hodder & Stoughton

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