The Other Side

How has Revival affected you emotionally and intellectually? What do you take away from experiencing the novel? What do you think of the climax and its overall message?

Now that you have experienced the darkness within Revival, tell us what you think.

How did the story affect you emotionally? Is it a “straight ahead horror novel” as Stephen described it or is there much more to it? What do you think of the finale? How does Revival rank among Stephen’s darkest works? What can be learned from the story?

Perhaps most importantly, did Revival affect you on an emotional level that inspires you to change the way you think or live your life?

Don’t be afraid to speak your mind or add your comments unrelated to the questions posted above. We’re prepared to accept and share all types of feedback and expect that many of you will have both loved Revival as well as hated it. Let us know what you think and how it affected you – especially the climax.


  1. Another well written and hugely engaging story by Stephen. While not as dark for me personally as others may have found it, this story drew me in and the characters kept me there until the last word.

    One aspect that I found both attractive (for the ‘relating to’ aspect) and repelling, (for the same reason) was the ‘ageing timeline’ of the two central characters.
    Stephen hit me right on the ‘oh man, this is going to be me’ button. I felt real sadness at the letting go of each life stage and identified with those feelings of loss and trepidation as they moved from one life period into another.

    My self-preservational (I think I just made a word up) skills kicked in at the end of the book as began a mantra in my mind: “It’s not real, Stephen made it up. It’s not real, Stephen made it up…”

    And so, thank you Stephen for yet another brilliant ride… very much appreciated. :-)

  2. Nothing scary about it and its not as good as Mr Mercedes. I found the bleak picture of hell to be actually laughable.

  3. How did the story affect you emotionally? It was more personal for me than most stories by any author.

    Is it a “straight ahead horror novel” as Stephen described it, or is there much more to it? Well, if SK says there’s not more to it then maybe there is more to it.

    What do you think of the finale? I liked the implication that humans should control themselves.

    How does Revival rank among Stephen’s darkest works? It’s pretty dark alright.

    Perhaps most importantly, did Revival affect you on an emotional level that inspires you to change the way you think or live your life? Reading Revival reminded me that temporal and eternal life have a relationship, and that a person mustn’t deny the beyond nor misread it.

    There have been times Stephen King has enjoyed re-telling my life. I was in a band in high school, same time frame as Jamie’s. I’m familiar with the described church meetings. So, I was again able to enjoy an SK book on a strangely personal level.

  4. I think that atheiests or even agnostics should be terrified of this novel. I don’t believe their everafter will be anywhere near as easy as the ending to this story, but so much more horrifying. The thought of spending eternity in bleakness, darkness, torture, and the absence of God should make them fall to their knees right now and beg for forgiveness and for Christ to come into their heart.

  5. these last two stories from stephen king were not very good i think stephen king should think about what hes writing and get back to his roots that made him rich instead of just putting out a 400 page mess that really wasn’t at all what he said it was going to be i wouldn’t consider it a horror novel or a novel that really touches on anything but the smallest parts of addiction the afterlife faith and death this book could have been better if it wasn’t so rushed and short if your not going to give a book your all just spare me the wait and anticipation this book was all hype and after reading it i felt cheated same as mr mercedes everything hes written after his supposed retirement besides doctor sleep has been garbage quitting while your ahead is not the same as quitting get your act together Mr. king or retire for real

  6. I grew up in an Evangelical household, my father was a minister. I remember youth groups and being very connected to my youth leader. When I was a junior in high school, my youth leader drowned on a field trip to the lake. He was young, married and had a 1 year old son. My faith and everything else I had learned growing up was shaken and called into question.

    As I read revival, especially in the early chapters when Jamie first meets Charles and engages in the church youth activities, I looked back upon my experiences. To see Charles lose his faith after the accident and how his relationship evolves over the years with Jaime, was wonderful. The climax was outstanding! What happens after death is an age old question among believers and non-believers alike. It is the great unknown, and I see no reason not to think it could be utterly terrifying and beyond our comprehension. I thoroughly enjoyed Revival. It was an excellent follow up to Mr. Mercedes and look forward to what Mr. King has in store for us moving forward.

  7. Let me say first that I’m a Christian. No work of fiction will change that. The story was ok but I was a little let down to be truthful. Yes, there are dark entities waiting to grab us. Yes Satan is real. God is real too, and much more powerful. There IS a heaven waiting for the believers. All in all it was an ok story but not as scary as The Shining or Pet Semetary.

  8. Revival didn’t affect me in any way other than good storytelling. My faith wasn’t shaken at all. I know heaven is real and waiting for me. I was a little disappointed with the big climax. I’m just over the big bugs and all, although I do see how they connect with other story lines. I was unsympathetic towards Jacobs other than pity for his loss of wife, child and faith. Pet Semetary and FDNS were far more creepy and frightening.

  9. I finished reading the book in under 48 hours; It struck a chord[E]. I’m an alcoholic, and after reading Doctor Sleep and then Revival, I saw myself in Jamie; while I don’t mainline Junk into my arm, I have found myself in Jamie’s shoes, In my life own personal life…”$200 or so in cash, outfitted in a dirty rock band tee, faded jeans, and a declined credit card. I started my life for what seems like the third or forth time after that incident of being on the street with a few hundred dollars and nowhere to call home. I don’t fear mother or the ants, but I do fear what could have been of my life if I would have dropped the whisky before it’s too late and I’m talking to mother in my deathbed.

    Revival Score: A Minor

  10. …it affected me from a pure storytelling aspect, nothing more…and I agree with Steve, it’s horrific and nothing more…after all the hype, I was honestly underwhelmed by the ending-though I did enjoy it…his Lovecraftian nods are always neat…nowhere close to his darkest works-Pet Sematary and Full Dark, No Stars still easily blow away Revival for both black humor and emotion…and no, my worldview hasn’t changed a whit…the end, is the end….period…

  11. I think this is one of the scariest-endings ever in a King novel. It hits you like a brick off a building!

  12. Revival was unnerving, but not in the sort of pleasant way that typical horror novels or films can be. Revival was terrifying because it’s primary horror is existential, and I found it personally unsettling. Now, for those strong of faith, this could be the sort of thing they finish one minute and pop on Doctor Who right after, but for those with a less shaky groundwork, it can be a more unpleasant experience. I think I’ll carry it around in my subconscious for quite some time.

    I was perhaps more disturbed by the death of Patsy and Morrie, and the undoing of Jacobs, than the Lovecraftian conclusion, which may speak more to my fears than the work overall. Either way, it’s a fine work of straight-ahead horror, and the conclusion works well. It actually reminds me of the ending to 1984.

    It’s also very well-written. I enjoyed especially King’s wise observations, inserted here or there, that he’s gained from being older. In the same way that I love his examination of youth in works like IT, I think his recent works from 11/22/63 onward have a lot to say about aging, and about the past, and I love the hell out of that.

    I hope King continues to write wherever his muse takes him; his recent work feels more vital and alive than the work that came in the kind of fallow period after his accident. I think he could be on his way to something like Philip Roth’s late career resurgence.

  13. I read Revival, and I have to say it was scary, but even more so depressing. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it. But just when I let myself luxuriate in the peaceful, calming knowledge (99% sure) that I don’t have to spend eternity ANYWHERE, heaven forever seems almost as bad to me as hell…..well, just let me say, “Let’s don’t go there”.

  14. Since Mr. King is a musician, I can’t help but wonder whether he, or his subconscious mind, named Jamie’s beautiful first love after Astrid Kircherr, the Beatles’ beautiful Hamburg muse. She too went to see a live rock band and fell in love with one of its members, the tragically short-lived Stuart Sutcliffe.

    Also, since I brought up the Beatles, I can’t help but wonder if Revival is taking a swipe at facile religious beliefs, much like the following lines from Abbey Road:

    All good children go to heaven.

    All good children go to heaven.

    Nah. It’s just a story.

  15. What a story. I was deeply affected. I wont go into if the story was good or the ending was bad or what I thought of Stephen’s writing. I mean who the fuck am I to critique a guy like Stephen King. I must comment on some of the critics though. I find critics to be quite absurd whether they are critiquing a movie, an album, a restaurant, a novel whatever. Just absurd. I mean people who write shit like, he didnt cross his t’s or dot his i’s, his character building was slow, the way he ended the story was horrible, why did he make some characters gay and others not. I mean just trifling, trivial shit, just irk’s me.

    I finally finished the novel this morning around 3:00 AM. I couldn’t sleep. I often cannot sleep now that my son is gone. I use to try and get back to sleep but it’s useless so I reached over grabbed the tablet and fired it back up.

    The story for me in a nutshell touched me to the core like no other story every has. That’s not to say I thought the story was A+ or F- just that I deeply identified with it. It was kind of like reading my diary, reading my life’s story. I felt like this story was right out of Stephens life. I cant help but feel like a lot of the story was very, very, personal to Stephen. The story was for me, nothing like he has ever written before. It just felt like he was telling us about his life from beginning until today. Pretty cool either way.

    I could identify with a very large part of the story from the 6yr old playing in the dirt to the pastor who lost his son, to the junky-fuck destroying his life and then getting his shit together again before it’s too late. And Stephens take on the after-life was quite disturbing and I found myself wondering if it was what he saw when he had his accident and was hanging on by a thread. I dont know if he was ever near death but I wonder?

    The story quite simply had everything in it for me. The morality of curing all those people like lab rats to serve his own means. Was he helping them? Was he hurting them? Why was he playing God? Does Stephen feel god-like to us mere mortals? Lesbians, who doesnt like lesbians. Rock and Roll. First time in the sack. Army men in the dirt. Birth. First crush on miss piano player. Killing, sacrifice, scary fucking monsters that keep on giving long after. And all the questions, the questions with no answers. In the end most of the people cured killed themselves and their significant others but why did the junky not suffer the same fate? So much to think about, so much to contemplate. Was it a horror story? Oh, I think so, to the nth degree and then some. Maybe not the way everyone was hoping for but until you’ve walked in a junky’s shoes, or lost a wife or kid (sibling and parent don’t count my friend), or experienced a near death experience or looked death in the eye and lived to tell about, I’m afraid the horror of it all is lost on you. The story will stay with me that’s for sure.

    As for changing me. I’m not sure it changed my in any way, time and the world as a whole has done a good enough job of that. It certainly has me reflecting more on recent events in my life though. The loss of my son is indescribable and there are no words in the English language to say how I feel. I guess perhaps in a weird way the story has made me want to live more. Not be so caught up in the what’s next part of life like in the story.

    I mean, what’s next after I die is what’s next, I cannot change what comes next. I certainly can continue to change what’s next as in tomorrow and doing the next right thing on a daily basis. This site asks us to talk about our faith, tragedy, disillusion, addiction, curiosity, obsession, death and now the other side. The story for me was all that and made me think and contemplate all of those feelings and emotions that come with all that. As for the last one on the list, the other side, I’m fine right here thank you very much. I can wait to see the other side if there is one at all.

    In retrospect I guess the story did change me in subtle ways. I can wait to die and see the other side for sure. Whereas before I was rushing to get there, especially after the loss of my son. I want to meet up with him again and the story made me contemplate and think about my wife and younger son more who are still here.

    The book and the timing of it, while it did change me in small measure, it affected me greatly. I’m at time in my life where I’m really learning to live life on life’s terms not mine. The world, time, has a wicked way of changing us. I do see things differently now that I am a grandpa.

    Anyway, well done to Stephen. And now the wait begins, until the next one. It certainly has been a fun ride all these years. My first SK read was Skeleton Crew I was 17 it was the summer of 1985 I think I read all the stories in one or two nights. I remain the satisfied constant reader.

  16. The novel is, over all, a dark vision for humanity. Mr. King has probably been talking to fellow Rock-Bottom Remainder Dave Barry too much. And, with the exception of the narrator, it has anything but a Hollywood ending.

  17. 1. Compared to Mercedes and ’63, this was a colossal pile of shit. I pre-ordered this bad boy from Amazon, dropped whatever I was reading at the time (The Tutor, I think, by Peter Abrahams) and dove in. The writing seems almost formulaic, or at least rigid, throughout most of the story. The slow degeneration of Jacobs is interesting, and vaguely reminiscent of Dr. Frankenstein, but to bother comparing this story to Mary Shelley is pompous. Frankly, I don’t see what necessitates this huge listing of stuff, discussion of “theme” and all that…the works. Really? If you’ve gotta prop your shit up this bad, there must be something wrong. Normally I just go to the library, but I paid for this one. I’d like my money back, ha.

    2. I found it hard to empathize with any of the characters, much. They seem kind of one-dimensional…only grounded in existence by their relationship with their opposing force. A realization the reader makes in Frankenstein only in retrospect and only nearer the end (as all of Victor’s family and friends wind up dead), whereas in this story it is set as the precedent. That pretty much diminishes the “growth” process into a plot device.

    3. The ending…… WHAT. THE FUCK. WAS THAT?! I don’t even know how to put it into words. I kept reading thinking to myself “I know he’s gonna pull this thing together and its gonna be amazing.” Ever read a book called 100 Years of Solitude? It’s a zillion pages of the most boring shit ever and then, BAM, at the end, it sweeps you up in a storm-vortex of awesome (and yes, that was a reference to the end).

    4. Mercedes was awesome. I’ll pre-order Finders Keepers. Don’t bother making a sequel to Revival.

    5. When’s Joe gonna release The Fireman? NOS4A2 is perhaps the coolest shit I’ve read in quite a long time. How did he know to quote Dracula at the beginning? And my favorite line! I think you’re all mind-reading, though-stealing demons. I love you.


  18. I enjoyed this book…(read it in two days!!!)….was taken back to when I was a teenager, and would wait for Mr. King’s books to come out, then lock myself in a room and not come out until I was finished……!!!

    LOVED IT!!!!!

  19. I was avidly looking forward to this novel as i have read every S.K. under the sun with huge enjoyment his last Mr. Mercedes was just a pure joy an instant classic, however with this one the boats still out on it as to classic status it certainly has something to it a very human and family set story precautionary tale about drug addiction with heart of evil undertones but someway it just falls short, it very much reminded me of Shelly’s Frankenstein especially as the climax rolled around, i dunno maybe a second read would elevate for me it definitely has shocks and horror but not on par as his early novels but it still works for me 6/10 good effort thanks again Stevie.

  20. The story was entertaining, and i greatly enjoyed the relationship between Charlie and Jacobs and it’s natural evolution through their lives.

    The ending was just way too bleak and horrific for my liking.

  21. I thought it was interesting, thoughtful, disturbing, and delightful. Unlike with a lot of authors I found myself lost in the story. Revival truly scared me and I can’t seem to forget about it so eaeasily. Revival, along with many other Stephen King books, was truly a great story. Thank you Stephen King.

  22. Has were fans of SK since I read Carrie first time many years ago, and have read and heard audiobook of most of the stories he’s has written. Revival has a good start, but flatten slightly out to the big climax – at the point where I unfortunately fell off the wagon. It was a bit too much “that’s life after death, so you damn just know it whats waiting for you!”, that moore seems like a delirious dream than something you believe in. So the horror effect disappeared in a fever-imagination. Unfortunately! So I was disappointed.

  23. I started reading his books since I was 13, now 15, and I have to say that The Shining is his best work. Under the Dome second and probably Mr. Mercedes third. This is one of his most strangest novels. What really set this book apart from his others is the characters. I hated when he made Astrid a lesbian and Con the same. It was wrong. Why make them homo. For what purpose. Also it was sad when Claire got shot and the little kids had to watch it happen. This novel primarily focuses more on Jamie then Jacobs. Jacobs was more of a side character or 5th business like they put in the book but the novel focused mainly on Jamie. His addictions and demons. One thing that doesn’t make sense is why Jacobs tried to reanimate Mary Fay. What is the point? He can’t see or hear his son or wife until death and reviving her won’t help him meet them sooner. Overall this is a great book but not one of his best.

    Also just putting it out there. If Stephen King does read this then I have a new idea for a novel for you. Whatever happened to Charlie in Firestarter. It ended with her going to the press telling her story. I think it would be a great idea to continue from that. Just like with The Shining I think it would be a great idea to make a sequel to Firestarter.

  24. I started reading SK books at the age of 11 or 12 (Carrie, of course, was my first) and I am now 46. I wait quite impatiently for the release of each new story and have loved each of them – some more than others. So it was with great anticipation that I waited for Revival to be released. Reading that it was on par with The Shining, Pet Semetary, and IT; I was extremely excited. IT is the one book that still scares the hell out of me after all these years. That said, I have to disagree with the big build up for this book. I enjoyed it, please don’t get me wrong; but it is very different than those books. In that way, I was disappointed.

    It was almost like 2 different stories, with a Charlie’s “experiments” that ties them together. I enjoyed both parts but for me the best part, the scariest part, was the ending. It freaked me out, but not in an IT way, or even a Stand way.

    I continue to look forward to more stories from, in my opinion, the best story teller in the universe.

  25. The King is back with Revival!
    As a 60 year old Man (just turned October 2014) Stephen King’s work has been my constant companion.
    With Revival he does what he does best. His description of old age creeping up on you, using the boiling of a frog as a metaphor really hit the spot for me ( especially this year). First Love , Rock and Roll, drug addiction, any addiction, the death of loved ones and the realisation that everyone has feet of clay, it’s all brilliantly and brutally covered right here. A classic King tale.

    Tony S Smith

  26. to start with- I am an avid King reader. I thrive on his words like manna.
    So with a heavy heart and sweaty brow I dare to criticize his work.
    I’m sorry but it was a let down. I don’t know if “Null” will/does tie in with the world
    of the Crimson King or just lead to a possible sequel? Is Mr. King perhaps getting
    a touch lackadaisical in his wealthy life?

  27. I wish I had never read the end.

  28. I have read every book published by King. Most I have loved, some I have liked. That being said, I must say I was extremely disappointed with Revival. I found myself turning the pages at breakneck speed, waiting for that “holy crap!” moment that is so classic King. In Revival, that moment never came.

    The first 3rd of the book was very well written and had the movie screen running in my mind… just as if I were right there with the characters. That is so classic King. He’s such a descriptive writer that you almost don’t see the pages as you’re reading. But as the story progressed, it seemed to lose speed and jump around aimlessly. This story, to me, seemed more like an outline of a classic King novel; as if all the meat and potatoes were left out.

    As far as a “straight ahead horror novel” and ranking as one of King’s darkest works… are you kidding me? Not even CLOSE! A dark and horror-filled King novel leaves me thinking about the story and characters for weeks, sometimes months (and in some cases years) after having finished the book. I finished Revival 2 weeks ago, and probably could not give a passable 5th grade book report on it now.

    When I reached the climax of the story, all I could say was, “Who wrote this story and what have you done with Stephen King?!?!?” The climax of Revival seemed more like something classic King would have STARTED the story with, and it would have gotten even darker from there.

    I never thought there would come a day when, after having finished a King book I would say, wow, that wasn’t really that good.

  29. I also think, that if this novel is in anyway related to King’s other novels, even through the device of parallel worlds/universes etc, then clearly Mother IS lying, as the after life is not presented elsewhere as the horror Jamie saw.

    Other posts have noted the close resemblance to Todash space from the Dark Tower novels, and I find that point interesting and valid.

  30. Imagine, if you will, the climax of “Revival” written in the style of Lovecraft, it’s prime inspiration. Actually, no need to imagine, here it is!

    I beheld a tableau which, even now, threatens to drive me inexorably mad.

    Near an eldritch, cyclopean city in ruins, beneath a sky of blasphemous colors, amidst the unutterable cacophony of mindless, howling shrieks; a shambling line of all the dead souls of Earth, naked, their faces showing only the presence of a blasted consciousness of desolation; driven toward the horizon by creatures which resembled nothing less than giant ants, their shiny, squamous carapaces of chitin reflecting the obscene colors of that dreadful sky.”

    Not quite as effective is it? No disrespect to ol’ H.P.

    Again, it’s King’s prose and the build-up which make the ending so effective to us.

  31. The ending has admittedly stayed with me since last night, when I finished the novel. Evil triumphing is nothing new to horror fiction in general or King in
    particular, but this triumphant evil is shattering.

    From a purely objective standpoint, four things stood out to me; 1) King leading the reader around by the nose and then pushing us over the edge into hell and existential horror, with our willful complicity no less, our damnable curiosity mirroring the protagonist’s, is masterful writing. 2) as horrible and haunting as the ending is, it’s really just a very well done Lovecraft climax, King’s prose and sympathy for his characters elevates it in our minds as more terrible than those Lovecraft wrote, imo. 3) the ant creatures make me wonder if, along with the list of influences cited by King, there might be a tip of the hat to Frederic Brown’s “Come And Go Mad”, another little chiller that stayed with me for days. And 4) it doesn’t seem anyone (that I can tell) has mentioned the sliver of hope represented by Mother being so angered, perhaps even….frightened by Jamie’s cry of “No!” As he cries it again, the dead turn and see him as well. Is it that the human spirit’s will is crucial? Are the Old Ones actually afraid of us? Just some thoughts. Thankee-sai!

  32. To me, Stephen King is like many different writers all in one person. Sure there are similarities from some books to others, but often it seems as though an entirely different writer is appearing. I am a fan and will read each book and enjoy not knowing what to expect.
    I didn’t want to read “Full Dark No Stars”, but my wife picked it up, so of course I had to. One could say, Why read about the worst things people do? I would answer, because that is part of our real world. Who hasn’t felt rage or had thoughts that we don’t want to admit to? There are conflicting things in each of us. We are not so good it seems. I, like Mr. King choose to believe in God.

  33. Worst Stephen King book….I have read them all. Major disapointment. The “climax” is no better than what a decent high school scribe could pen.

  34. This book had me captivated until the end. I did not find it to be a horror story though for most of the book. sure some sections (something happened) sent a chill up my spine, but nothing truly scared me. that was until the ending. The second to last chapter truly scared me, more than i think any king book has yet to ( I have only read a few i.e Shining, ‘Salems lot, misery, etc.). I think one of the scariest ideas though is the fact that jamie has to live knowing what is on the other side. It really had me thinking about is it better to know what is after death? what is after death? What if there is nothing? if there is nothing, is that truly better or worse than what Jamie had seen? I spent a good hours thinking about this, and no other book has sent me into such deep thought afterwards. So, while the book was not “straight up horror” the ending takes such a dark turn, that it must be classified as such

  35. I am still trying to digest what I read. I found the ending so bleak and hopeless that I would have to classify this one as straight up horror! I got the most sinking feeling I ever felt.

  36. I was emotionally excited, I could not wait to find out what the Rev’s deal was.
    I did not think it was a straight up horror novel, the finale helped put it in that category.
    I think that It was the scariest of all. As for what can be learned oh my the clearest one I think is that curiosity killed the cat. It did remind me that live for today, don’t worry about tomorrow or death because we don’t know what waits and uhhhhhhhh we may not like it.

  37. I could hardly wait to buy the book once I’d read about it. I’ve read and re-read (& re-read) many SK books plus saw the movies and listened to the audio books even after reading the books. If I had read Revival before buying Dr Sleep and 11 22 63, I would have thought that SK has started to lose it. maybe it was the huge buildup of the book, but I am disappointed (the 1st time with an SK book). I planned my weekend around finally reading it. Started Saturday morning and amid some chores and two long walks finished Sunday early afternoon. It was just OK – interesting – but it won’t be one I will feel like I want to read again. Just OK. I have never not finished an SK book so I kept going waiting for the anticipated thrill and need to continue. I could have stopped on any page. No, it didn’t change anything for me. It also wouldn’t make me not buy his next book. But, it sure – for me – wasn’t what it was hyped up to be.

  38. I picked up Revival this morning and could not put it down. As disturbing as I expected. Thank you Mr. King!!

  39. You know, I loved this book. However, I wouldn’t call it your darkest book yet.

    It was a stellar ending and your view of what is waiting for us in the afterlife is terrifying; but it’s not your darkest work.

    It deals with dark themes (drug addiction, the afterlife, religion, etc) but it wasn’t truly dark until the very end. It was dark yes, and there was a sense of unease through the whole novel due to the fact that I was waiting for the dark horror to start.

    But the ending…WOW! That the afterlife could be so bleak with nothing left for us to hope for in the afterlife….that’s dark stuff indeed. However, your darkest book to me is Salems Lot. While reading that book, I had to turn on all the lights and close the blinds. Never re-read it, to frightened to do so.

    Still though, it made me more thankful for the life I have now, the life I am living. Regardless of what comes after, I’m going to live the best life I can.

  40. So I have spent the past year reading Stephen King novels back to back – 42 novels in all. My plan was to finish with Revival. Began the day before Thanksgiving and could not stop reading. Read the climax in my closet at 2am on Thanksgiving night so I would not wake up any family members. Wow… just amazing. Truly terrifying starting with the Revival of Mary Fay through to the end. The concept of the leg of Mother coming through her mouth with the merged faces of Jacobs’ family is a disturbing image that I cannot get out of my mind. What a way to end my year long SK marathon!!! Thank you Mr. King for the stories you have given and continue to give us.

  41. A++. Best King novel I have ever read. Actually best novel I’ve ever read. Really powerful stuff about glimpsing a world of mad geometry and color beyond everyday human life. Obviously, an incredibly beautiful and well done climax. I found myself very nervous and excited while reading it, similar to how I felt when Roland finally got to the Dark Tower.

    Absolutely loved the chapters about Jamie’s experience with the guitar and joining a band, as well as his dark and low points as a junkie. Just really liked Jamie’s character a lot.

    Thank you Mr. King. Awesome read.

  42. Hello – just finished Revival. Totally enjoyed this book. Was reading that it is the darkest one yet and I can see why that would be said but the story was a pleasure to read and the ending struck me as hilarious. Someone called it a B movie ending and maybe there is some truth in that, and maybe that is why I laughed so hard and was so tickled by it. Some of your books I was unable to read even after several tries because I was so scared within the first few pages. Because you are such a wonderful writer I have regretted so much that I have been unable to read a lot of your books because I got so scared. You are such a good storyteller. I saw an interview of Mary Higgins Clark (new collaboration with Alafair Burke – James Lee Burke is one of my favorite authors – so poetic). She said that a lot of her success was the ability to tell a good story. (Of course I know there is a lot more to it than that.) This was just the best story. The story of a pretty regular, pretty good guy with a pretty good family who grew up in a pretty good little town and had a pretty good life during the stretch of time that I did (and do). Thanks for putting the pleasure of reading that book into my life. Don’t know why the dark side of the book affected me so little. Now that I am thinking more of it, it probably should have. Maybe I go into denial in order to keep the pleasure. Still, even including all the horror, it strikes me as darkly funny. Who knows if there is an after life. Since we don’t know we can imagine none at all or any other scenario we come up with. One could come up with a scenario similar to the book, but even though it strikes me funny, I think I will continue to imagine that there is an after life that is lovely and where one gets to see all of one’s loved ones, each in the beauty that is their basic essence. One thing the book seems to point out that it doesn’t work to try to control much of anything.

  43. Revival was one of the best straight ahead horror novels I’ve ever read and I’ve read a lot of stories by the Lovecraft Circle authors listed on the dedication page. I especially liked Clark Ashton Smith and Henry Kuttner. After reading Revival, I gots to say, Mr King does Lovecraft the best of anyone! Mother is the scariest Great One ever imagined. I know if I was able to see beyond the veil and catch a glimpse of her, my mind would surely slip into madness.

  44. Ack!!! I wish I hadn’t seen the interview where Sire King mentions the F influence. I wonder what page of the book I would have figured that out on? Argh!!!!! I really will never ever know. What a great book!!!! I love how my imagination gets fired up with every turn of the page!!!!! This one deserves another read…pretty much right away. It’s like seeing a wonderful film, or tv series…and knowing the ending…and needing to see it again RIGHT AWAY before any of the magic dims. I did this with Breaking Bad. It was So Much More Intense on the second viewing. I’m on my third now, with a friend who has never seen it, watching her watch it. Great fun! I’m passing my copy of Revival on to a friend whose bride is in the ICU and things with her change from moment to moment. I thought to myself….gee….should I let my friend read this book right now (he, being a semi-constant reader and always excited about a new book)? I’m thinking YES. He, and his bride, have been married since 1971. We are so nervous about the outcome of the heart valve replacement…then she has breast cancer that needs to be dealt with. Ugh!!!! Their religion is more New Agey. Mine comes from working the 12 Steps on my alcoholism and drug addiction. I have a pretty powerful God to have helped me kick my addictions, one day at a time, and I think my God is rubbing off a bit on them. I hope so. I don’t want to have to resort to the special electricity. (I am NOT anonymous about my recovery…but I am about yours.)

  45. I have reread every Stephen King book published, and although many scared me badly (IT, The Stand), only one other book left me truly disturbed. Scared, terrified, contemplative, happy, are all adjectives I can use to describe my emotions as I read King’s other works, but only Revival and Pet Semetary left me feeling a sense of hopelessness. As a spiritual, but non-Christian, person, I have always believed in an afterlife, and that only after solving all my karma through reincarnation. But the idea that the afterlife is a never-ending horror left me struck silent. Ever since I started the novel, I began to experience dark dreams. I don’t remember the story lines, as I rarely remember my dreams, but I always remember the emotional response to the dream(s). Revival has left a haunting fear that there is no “good” ending to our life on earth. I can live with the idea that there is nothing, but an existence even worse than the often horrible events of this life is frightening. What truly bothers me, though, is a deep belief that it is possible. Any author who can make a person question their dearest held beliefs is an author worth reading, rereading, contemplating, and discussing. I once told one of my literature professors that I believed King would be remembered as one of the greats of the 20th century, and I thought he would have a heart attack. But after this novel, I believe this is even more true than when I said it 20 years ago. Thank you for the years of pleasure I receive through your works, Stephen King!

  46. I just finished Revival, and wow. I knew the ending would be old school Stephen King, and I was not disappointed. I am a Catholic, and I was/am totally shaken by the thought of that is all there is. I admit, it made me think, and it did disturb me, but I loved it!! But, wow, how do you even think of this stuff? !

  47. I loved this book but found it less scary than Mr Mercedes. I hope that Stephens Heaven/Hell is just a story in an excellent book, but who knows? I am as ever another of the many constant readers and the book that has moved me most was 11.22.63 Jake you left me emotionally drained.

  48. I just finished reading Revival and I am shaken. Don’t really know why, other than this is one of King’s most powerful and darkest books. Maybe it’s the glimpse to the Other Side and finding out there’s no Heaven? The Null I can deal with- it’s being told about that vast ugliness that I find most upsetting. I don’t believe there has been any other King book that has shaken me like this other than Pet Semetary. I first began to feel the ‘pull’ of darkness around the half-way point in Revival, when it felt like the ground was beginning to become mushy and that my heels were starting to slide in it and I felt like I was being pulled towards a precipice, lightly at first then faster, with no way to stop my slide (unless I stopped reading). I like that King uses this book as a warning not to mess with things we don’t fully understand. It’s also the theme of Pet Semetary.

  49. I am a faithful constant reader and I have spent the last 12 hours of my life devouring Revival.

    I was raised on the Bible and I totally relate to the MYF and the activities Therin. I have also had bouts with addiction, but I have never questioned my faith. I still do not. I loved the book because of Stephen’s brilliant writing and character development. I don’t DOUBT that there are terrible entities out there just beyond out human grasp. The Bible even tells us that there is a war waging all around us with “principalities” both evil and good.

    I will say that I was left wanting more. Which is good. I would hate to live in this world without my faith. I KNOW that God is the creator and that Jesus’ sacrifice ensures my spot in heaven. And I also KNOW that evil exists, demons exist, and monsters beyond mine and dear Stephen’s imagination exist. I don’t know why I am drawn to this darkness at times but I am happy that I am protected by the power of God. Like I said before, my faith is STRONG.

    I love to imagine what happens to Jamie. I think he is protected because deep down he still believes in God. That’s why he keeps telling himself that “mother lies”. I feel like there is sooo much more to this story. I feel like this is just the surface.

    I am waiting for the 1200 page sequel I this book. It was scary but to be honest, nothing has scared me more than IT, the first book I read from Stephen, the one that began my love affair with his writing and solidified me into a constant reader.

    I want more. I am voracious. I am demanding. But I am patient.

    Thank you for your love affair with “pen and paper”. Thank you for making me think and for sharing your innermost darkness which ironically (or maybe not) leads to light.

    I am a writer because of you (or maybe I always was) but I wait diligently for your next masterpiece. And maybe I leave the lights on. Sometimes the darkness moves a little too much.

    -love, constant reader

  50. I am a God fearing Christian and live my life trying to treat others as I would want to be treated and to teach my kids the same. I know I’ll go to heaven when my time comes, and have had comfort in that since the age of 10. Heaven or hell. Choose how you’re gonna spend your afterlife by choosing to either accept or deny Christ. Simple. However, now I have the fear that there IS NO choice, what I do here won’t matter and I’ll be sucked into some horrific never ending torturous eternity!

  51. As usual, I flew through this book. I could not put it down. I was expecting something different in the ending, but was not surprised at the ending. This is Stephen King’s world and when you enter, expect anything, even alternate worlds. The feeling I had when I finished was dark and unsettling. I had never thought of the afterlife as anything but something wonderful, and I think I will keep thinking that way. That is my world. Anything is possible, nobody really knows what happens. Its not for us to know. I loved the Mary-Shelley-Victor reference, and I love how characters referenced from other novels appear. It wasn’t scary, more disturbing than anything. I’m waiting for another 1200 page novel, something that will take me at least a week to read. Keep this up, Mr. King. I will read anything you write, and have for the past 40 years.

  52. Revival was a good read until the ending. A horrible walking dead filled world with giant ant guards all serving some giant spider like or is a queen ant like creature? This is the real world and our world is an illusion? Look, I get Stephen King most of the time but he lost me on this ending. I understand that King doesn’t always leave his readers in nice friendly places and I’m good with that.
    I got the other world King took us to in “Leslies Story”. That alternate world was very interesting and believable with its monster hidden behind the beauty of the world. I got the other world King took us to in “Rose Madder”. That alternate world was very interesting with the scary Rose Madder- like character whose true face can’t be seen without dire consequences. I can’t put my finger on it but something was missing in the Revival other world and the way things pretty much ended with just a glimpse of it.
    There was something about the ending that was just wrong. I don’t mean that it was too scary wrong (it really wasn’t.) And I don’t mean the ending was sad wrong or anything like that. The ending was something that you were brought to with a big build up then it sizzled out. It was like ridding up the tallest hill on a roller coaster to find yourself costing to a slow smooth stop at the top of the hill where the ride actually ends.
    For me, I think the story took a wrong turn when Astrid exited the story before the ending with the vision of the other side. How about this; Astrid, the true love of Jamie’s life is the dead girl that Jacobs uses as a window to the other side. Instead of a window Astrid becomes a doorway that opens up the other side where Jamie must go to rescue Astrid’s soul!
    So that’s my unauthorized fantasy alternate ending that I’m going with. But who am I to question the greatest writer of my generation? You are the best Stephen King. I’m not kidding about that. I guess you just wrote a bit over my head with the Revival ending.

  53. Although I anticipated this read for quite some time, I felt somewhat let down. I was hoping for something new to chew on. This book provides a similar look at Stephen Kings’ internal musings, seen before in many of his other stories. Thinner, the Stand, The Shinning, Misery, the Dead Zone, Needful things, The Dark Half and bits of others, condensed and refined. Addiction, Intentions, choices, selfish acts, random evil, death, beyond, sight, and single quiet moments that change the course of each life. I love the statement “This is how we bring about our own damnation, you know- by ignoring the voice that begs us to stop. To stop while there is still time.” To me this summarizes my love for all his stories. He always investigates the ideas that we hold, driving our actions, and wonders what that will bring us to, whether our intentions are malignant or not, will darkness wander in, or was it always there, in control? I relate to most of his ideas, and curious of our intentions devour most of his “what ifs?” But where we differ is, the other side, death does not scare me, I do not wonder about the other side. In the end I worry about his nightmares and hope he can find peace. We do not know the other side, as we may not know this side on the other, and from there he may wonder what will be next to come. He is wired that way! The beauty of the other side is that it will probably seem completely normal as does this side. He will still have questions then, I am sure, and I am grateful for all the thought he inspires because of it. Thanks for Sharing Stephan King!

  54. I thought Revival was a good story but it didn’t affect me emotionally or spiritually. I’m going to continue spreading poison around fire ant mounds. I hope that doesn’t make me a dumb frog in a pot :(

  55. Amazing book! ! I was the frog in the warm water and when it boiled, WOW, it hit me right between the eyes and I never saw it coming! Explores the deepest parts of the human psyche and flips them on their head! It is a horror novel, but it goes way beyond that. ..When I finished reading it, I felt like my guts had been grabbed, shaken up and returned. Definitely struck lots of emotions with this one. The master of horror at his finest!

  56. I finished with silent sobs and unshakable shuddering.
    The novel, from the beginning, had a very shaded and dark undertone to it. I mean, come on, the themes of addiction, grief, losing faith, etc. THAT’S DARK. And as the story progressed, and the creepy level intensified, I was eager to see how Jaimie Morton was going to escape from Reverend Jacob’s malignant grasp. At the same time, I felt sorry for Reverend Jacobs because he was grief-stricken and obsessed with finding out the unknowable. And, man, when he finally gets to KNOW it, and we’re all there for the ride, I was eviscerated.
    King is KING for a reason. This was absolutely brilliant.

  57. It’s been several days and I can’t shake this one off. The most unsettling thing was that I kept waiting for the good, the light, the Turtle to show up… I can’t describe the feeling of flipping to the last page and realizing that he wasn’t coming.

  58. Another great piece of work that only could come from the mind of Stephen King. A very dark ending that, I would prefer not to think about anymore. Like all King novels, I felt a bond with the characters as they are placed in real life situations. I often wanted to turn away but like Jamie I had to know.

  59. As always, I devoured the book in two days. I so anticipated it! After reading all of THE KING’ S novels I felt a bit let down. Don’t mistake that this isn’t a great read, it is, it just isn’t the best. This is the dilemma one faces once you have had the best of something. I will definitely continue to scoop up everything SK puts out there, hoping that the next one will be another masterpiece.
    Revival is good enough. Lacked the usual depth and width of Kings past masters, really not scary and felt rushed, not lush.

  60. This book straddled most of the life of one man: Jamie Morton. From his earliest years of autonomy, as a six year old child, he had lived in the shadow (at first, quite literally!) of a man who’s innate decency quickly became scarred by grief. Grief so powerful that it drove him past the limits of reason. And the horrifying conclusion demonstrated a universal truth: the answers we are looking for might not be the ones we want to know.

    The entire book was masterful, the naturalistic weaving of Jamie’s life taking on weight and dimension as the pages piled up. Like gathering thunderclouds, you knew the ending was coming and it would blow away everything that came before. But nothing could have prepared me for the dark secrets lurking beyond the ‘Secret Electricity,’ on the other side of the ivy covered door.

    I’m seeing all too many people who felt that the ending of the novel was the weakest part. Not a majority, but a loud and vocal subset of the readers. I feel for these readers. I really, sincerely do.

    Their imaginative muscles were not strong enough to accept the incursion of so much cosmic terror into what had been a story relatively couched in realism until that point. What I don’t feel they understand is that: that is precisely the POINT of ‘Revival.’ The door to the ordinary had been forcibly ripped open by a man driven mad with grief, a grief that festered for decades. What was glimpsed on the other side collapsed my emotions into a dense black hole for almost a week.

    I’m not just not a religious man, I’m a science-minded atheist. After reading the end of Revival, I’m grateful for that. Because it shook me to my core, and I can only imagine being more horrified if I believed in an Afterlife. The stomach-sinking, jaw-dropping shock of imagining what endless abominations might well claim our souls after death rattled me in a way no other conclusion ever has.

    Too many people have settled for saying this book ‘isn’t King’s best.’ So what if it’s not? He has 60+ novels. Not all of them are going to be his very best. Several of his last few HAVE been among his greatest achievements. This is one of his finest works, because it affected so many people so profoundly. The story was rich, the characters breathed on the page, the agony of their suffering was palpable, and the conclusion rattled you right out of your complacency and put you, however momentarily, in touch with the kind of cosmic horrors that are at the very limits of humankind’s imaginative power to comprehend even in part.

    I’m not surprised many readers didn’t ‘get’ the ending. It’s big, it’s terrible, and it’s hard. Not just hard to deal with, but hard to consider. No need to be a snob about having a ‘strong imagination,’ but those who couldn’t strap this book onto their mind’s dumbbell bar and hoist high should, at the very least, not chuckle about how ‘heavy’ the book was as though it was some kind of flaw.

    I appreciate that King will go out on this kind of limb for his readers who DO want, every now and then, to be given a challenge. Not just a challenge, but a rewarding one. And as bitter, grim, and desolate as the resolution to ‘Revival’ was, it was a pleasure to be presented with a real opportunity to peer beyond the bounds of the normal universe.

    And, if you didn’t like what we got to see, when the curtain was pulled back? As they say, ‘That’s YOUR little red wagon.’

  61. As far as I’m concerned, Stephen King has done it again. I absolutely loved this book. I’m still digesting it as I only finished it yesterday, so I’m not quite ready to share my thoughts. All I can say is, again, I LOVED IT!!! :)

  62. I would’ve liked for Jacob’s to find redemption in the end. Revival was a good read. The characters were very interesting, as always. The novel was a bit brief, and not particularly scary. But I don’t consider his books scary , in general. King is my favorite author. Time to re-read the Tower.

  63. I just finished Revival. I thought it was good. I prefer this type of “horror” because it speaks so much more of the human condition…in other words, this crap really could happen and that scares me to death…this book made me think about a lot of things…but mostly how life should be appreciated because we don’t know what comes next. We like to think that it’s good but the truth is, it could be hell…and the trivial things that bother us on this plane could be nothing compared to what is waiting for us…I think SK examines things in his books that a lot of us have thought about…for instance, what if when you die you are still consciously aware of what is going on around you, only you can do nothing about it? This type of horror is WAY scarier than some guy that comes into your dreams and kills you…or some crazy guy in a hockey mask killing kids at a cabin…blood and gore everywhere…to me, it takes way more talent to scare you by making you think.
    I have just started Full Dark, No Stars…the first story, 1922, was a nail biter and really creeped me out. I started Big Driver last night and literally had to put the book down several times because I was horrified…if that is the purpose, then SK nailed it because I am truly freaked out…

  64. As usual, I couldn’t make this book last more than a day or two. I chewed through it in no time at all.

    I could wax on for quite some time about the way the threads of tragedy, redemption, revenge, hopelessness and obsession weave themselves through the plotline and narrative, but I won’t. People have already made some excellent assessments. (Some I agree with, some I don’t; but that’s the beauty of literature. It’s personal. Your interpretation is essentially unique to YOU, and that’s what make these kinds of discussions so interesting for me.)

    I found parts of the book quite harrowing. The loss of the Pastors’ wife and child was very difficult for me to read (having a boy around that age myself). The ‘Terrible Sermon’ also affected me. As a Christian myself, these are the questions honestly I try not to ask. Am I deluding myself? Possibly. But like a lot of the human race, it’s mostly hope that pulls me through each day. The apparent pointlessness of existence is pretty much dealt with in my world by shoving my fingers in my ears and singing ‘LALALAAA!’ if anything challenges me too hard. As a whole, did the novel make me question my faith? Absolutely. I’m always questioning it.

    I see Jacobs as a tragic character. A bereft man who builds an obsession to fill the aching void in his life. I also think he genuinely believed in his own benevolence.

    I quite liked Jamie, our little protagonist who led us on our journey carefully through his life. Yes, I feel he has a tendency to self-pity, and possibly an inability to count his blessings, but that just makes him that not more human.

    As for the ending: well. Yes. ‘Dark’ is certainly one way of putting it. ‘Bleak’ is another equally good word. ‘Depressing’ works too! But what’s wrong with that? The ending certainly fitted the book, with all it’s dissatisfaction and it’s questions about the nature of existence and fabric of the universe. No, I don’t believe that when we die we go to a giant dead city to be tortured by ant overlords for all eternity.


    Bloody scary thought!!!

    (So absolutely perfect for a horror)

    I think the fact that you can see (and feel) the rich history of authors like Lovecraft & Shelley dotted throughout gives the narrative depth, and can only be viewed as having a positive impact.

    I could waffle on for hours, but I’m starting to lose my threads as it’s getting late.

    Overall, as another ‘Constant Reader’, I found ‘Revival’ beautifully written, although sometimes difficult to read. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Will it warrant a re-read? Yes. Was the ending dark? Dear god yes. Is ‘Revival’ another triumph for Mr King? Definitely.

  65. How the demons gather and take together those live we fought to hold together you would wonder if the he had gone to the wrong god hiding out the back door thinking he was doing something good

  66. I was hoping all those mothers who wronged us in this world wouldn’t be waiting there in the next and maybe we would be free so we could all have something better that scared me

  67. I have to admit that Revival affected me more than anything I can ever remember reading. I’ve read or listened to (via the Audible version) the last two chapters about a half a dozen times now, trying on some level I suppose to come to terms with the questions it raises.

    I’m a lifelong agnostic. I have no belief whatsoever that any of the organized religions have it even remotely correct. I’m a firm believer in science all the way, but I call myself an agnostic because there is a small part of me that wonders what pulled the trigger, lit the fuse, set it all in motion. Science explains the existence of everything we know pretty well, but it doesn’t explain how it got here. To put it simply – I’m good with the big bang – it makes perfect sense to me. But where did what banged come from, and what made it bang?

    As an agnostic, I have long viewed organized religion and it’s teachings as fairly benign – it doesn’t work for me but if it gets you through the night, that’s fine. I won’t get into the myriad negative aspects of organized religion – and there are many – because that’s not what this discussion is about. I’m just talking about the individual’s relationship with what they view as their creator, and what they believe as a result, i.e. god is benevolent and answers prayers, do good and get into heaven, etc.

    My view has always been that these beliefs are somewhat juvenile – if you are good, you’ll get a treat and daddy will think you’re a good little boy/girl – but nevertheless, I’ve always viewed the whole thing as pretty harmless. So while my own belief has always been 99% in nothingness/big dirt nap after death, that remaining 1% figured that if the religiously inclined were correct somehow, and heaven and an afterlife actually existed, it would just be a pleasant surprise. I have to admit that it NEVER occurred to me that “life after death” might literally be a living hell, and that no matter what you did, everybody went into the proverbial shitter. I find the concept, now imagined, to be disturbing and pretty much unforgettable.

    That tiny wondering part of my brain is going to be rolling that around in my head for a while, I think, whether I like it or not.

  68. The long slow tantalizing build up was great. I checked inside the covers for some sort of conductors that would explain the tingling in my hands and arms.
    The ending was fast and hard, and circled nicely back to the beginning.

    When I first finished, I felt a bit…let down…because the promotion for the book stressed that it was terrifying,
    and I wasn’t scared.

    Then, later that night, my thoughts kept returning to the book…
    The implications were terrifying…and it reminded me of IT. It will never be IT, but that nice shiver ran down my spine.

    I loved all the “Stephen King Fan” gems like the 19s, and I laughed at the clever naming of the Revival…victim.
    I hope there is more.

  69. Just noted here that the lines between good and evil were too blurred in the book. I happen to believe that there is a very fine line between good and evil. The lines are always blurred. I love my God but many “Christians” scare the crap out of me. I choose to see wonderment and love on the other side. It’s my choice.

  70. I was driven to finish this book as soon as I picked it up. The long and subtle build up to a bitter dark finish kept me entertained the entire time. He never kept you in a time period for too long. All in all (Something happened) this book (Something happened) really fri(something)ghtened me at points. And a particular line hasn’t left my head since I read it. (Something happened)

  71. I hogged up the book in two says as usual, which leaves my fiction itch unfulfilled until you write the next one. I kept smelling an electrical burning smell as I was reading. I couldn’t find the source and haven’t smelled it since I finished. I think the book says that there are always consequences when change comes easy.

  72. I can’t stop thinking about this book. I’m losing sleep because of it. I truly adore this novel.

  73. While I enjoyed the story, I wasn’t emotionally touched by it. There was some small bit of anger at the moronic antagonist, but I generally feel that way against idiots in books and realize books wouldn’t exist without them :)
    The themes were interesting, though not worthy of significant thought while reading the novel. I’ve known shysters in my life, and ignored them. While it isn’t to say I’ve never been caught unawares, I do try.
    And I realize that my faith in God and Christ likely make me a minority, I am not ever bothered when it is portrayed negatively in books. I’m aware that the image of Christians is tarnished by the highly vocal outspoken minority who make us all look like twatwaffles who would like nothing better than to observe whom we perceive to be evil doers fed to lions. I don’t think this way (dude, seriously, I don’t care what you believe as long as you don’t interfere with my life), but I’m quite aware it makes someone of my faith quite often a target. It’s cool though.

  74. I liked it. As always, tried to read slowly to keep it longer but could not. It made me sad and scared. What if that IS what it is like? Yikes. I have always thought that death would bring one of 2 things, either all the answers to all the questions I have ever had – which would be terrific – or nothing – like before I was born – also not too shabby. But, I had never imagined the possibility of this. More than anything, I love the SK books that make me think. Thanks Stephen!

  75. Another winner Stephen. I love your style or storytelling.

  76. I finished eating this novel last night. The themes in the novel were pretty dark as we were warned. This novel was for me, unfortunatley, like looking in the mirror, (and that’s scary right?). I know about addiction and have watched friends go through recovery. Not pretty. I consider myself a “functional” alcoholic, (if there really is such a thing). However, guess what? I am generally happy as shit too….is that wrong?

    As far a life after death I think we all want to assume it will be pleasurable in contrast to the novel. I think that humans would rather believe that there is nothing after death than to conceive it will not be better……no heaven, just hell…….what a concept!

    My critique of the book is this, I never cared too much for any of the characters. The lines between good and evil were blurred in the book, I could not find myself to hate Jacobs nor pity Morton. The ending was great but did not make me want to throw up like I felt after I finished Pet Sematary, (a compliment). Thanks Stephen King for another ride and thanks for coming to Austin, Texas, allowing meeting you to be scratched off my bucket list. Cheers!

  77. My thoughts are very rapid, so I will be brief and to the point; this book inspired great loathing in me, but in the end it didn’t disappoint. It went perfectly, and I feel that it drew very near to the truth. It struck like lightning.

  78. I find Revival to be an interesting entry in the universe Stephen King has created. Before diving into other comments, I do want to quickly state that I took some small issue to some of the PR that attempts to directly frame this within the tradition of Poe and Hawthorne. Perhaps it has just been a while since reading either author, but I believe the more correct association (as we all know by now from having finished) should be Lovecraft and company, which then leads to thoughts on the novel itself. The limits of human understanding that diffuse throughout Morton and Jacobs’s decades-long dance, the nearly insanity-inducing “world behind the world” that defies logic, replete with the piping howls of Outer Gods, are trademarks of their universe. The progression and development of plot at times recall Herbert West-Reanimator, in fact: itself owing a debt to Frankenstein, part of the horror to be found in the characters of West and Jacobs is the reader’s slow-burning dread (as compared to straight-ahead) with each costly human pricetag and step closer to ultimate forbidden knowledge.

    Truthfully, I am among the crowd that finds this to be an incredibly dark ending. I think there is a clamor to compare it to some real whammies in the catalog, such as the big reveal of Dark Tower VII, the final pages of Black House, or the cataclymic finale of It. On the face of it they are often crushing and bittersweet, but ultimately reach a sort of resolution or point of redemption. Revival’s cosmic terror revelation entirely denies both the protagonist and the audience a sense of salvation or reprieve from its inevitable approach. There is no emergency exit; there is not even the occasional warning we sometimes come across in the novels that tempts us not to read the remaining pages. Its darkness comes in its inescapability, and that is the midwife of human fear.

    One of the themes that King implied before the release was that, to paraphrase, “you must know what the inhuman is in order to discover what is human”. Rev. Jacobs as a character is a great exercise in trying to tease out those qualities, a task that personally was challenging. Do we define “inhuman” in the language and guise of monsters, such as the ant-creatures below the howling stars? The obscene acts of despicable human beings across the tapestry of history? This is the easy and immediate approach. But what if to be “inhuman” is not such a clear-cut denouncement of the world’s evils? Perhaps it is one that lacks sinister purpose. The brilliance in Lovecraft’s execution was always in preventing the reader from lumping his strange creatures into neatly organized boxes. The fallen minister is a tragic figure because he falls into this mysterious realm – his very nature as the “fifth business”, laid out from the start as the joker in the deck, defies heroic or villainous categorization. King does bestow Jacobs with purpose, but the character eventually dons the mantle of being beyond comprehension, as inexplicable as the unfortunate reality he briefly encounters in his final moments.

    Revival does an admirable job in exposing the flaws of the organized religious base, not just of the familiar Christian faith, but all others who jostle for the right to save some and damn others. Describing the world of death as one where we are all shoulder-to-shoulder in misery is a great means of underscoring this point, an apt reflection of the world we have built and the path we continue to march down should the state of affairs remain the same. This happens to be the type of thought that I ruminate on frequently, and so on a personal, emotional level, the text spoke to me in a certain way that previous stories have not.

    While it has not overthrown my favorite of King’s novels, I definitely would rank this highly. It certainly will be one I return to again in the future.

  79. The book was a good, fast read and I give it a 3.5 out of 5. However, it was kind of like bad sex in the way that it started out good and stayed that way for awhile, but the ending just didn’t do anything for me. Not scary, not terrifying, didn’t make me question my beliefs, must have missed the climax.

  80. I guess my question is, who’s decision was it to hype this story as having “the darkest ending Stephen King ever wrote?” My expectations were way too high for this interesting little short story, and I feel I would have probably enjoyed it for what it was, had I not been expecting so much more.

    Perhaps it’s time for a new marketing team, Mr. King. Your books do not need hype to sell, trust me. Just write ‘em and we’ll come.

  81. I get why Stephen King, my favorite writer of all time and a fellow traveler along the road, has written a story addressing all the things that I myself think about, as we both reach the third and last stage of our Earthly lives.

    What I don’t get is why Stephen King took these heavy topics and rolled them all up into a short story with a cheesy ending. Even if the truth of The Other Side is horrible, it still has to make some kind of sense within the bigger picture. This book seems like only an outline of a bigger story – and possibly we will see that bigger story unfold as Mr. King continues to face all the years of the rest of his life.

  82. I waited to be scared all the way through until the end. Holy “Them!”, Batman!

  83. Revival is a horror story. Pastor Dan/Charlie was obsessed and lost himself along the way. The Story doesn’t change my beliefs. It was just a story.

  84. “Revival” was a great book, but it did not terrify me. I had great pity for the Rev, and for Jamie. I believe there is something after this life. And while I may get ridiculed for my beliefs, I believe there is a heaven for those who have put their trust in Jesus as Saviour, and a hell for those who have made the choice not to. God is loving, and does not want anyone to perish…that’s why He sent His only Son to pay the price for us. However, God is also just, and cannot allow sin into His heaven. As I have said in another comment, faith is a choice, either yes or no. I look forward to heaven with all my heart!

  85. There is Blakes ‘mind forged manacles’ the hell we create for ourselves. King is a horror writer, but I think he could broaden his material considerably, he does cherry pick for an infernal ending, yet I think a real study of the material on supernatural phenomena would take him other places but I don’t know if it would sell books.

    Mary Shelly’s Frankestein fingerprints are all over this work but if you go to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstien you see the creature has deep moral questions, a truly tormented soul – sometimes in this work I think King is lazy or obtuse, he needs to open those doors to powerful questions, not close them for the convince of a horrible denouncement which is not convincing. For a man who thinks more of that thinking should be evident in the works.
    If you take a massive question about life after death, it cant de concluded on tiny puff of smoke and mirrors.

  86. King takes some of the questions that interest us most and asks them- what if whats on the other side is worse, what if the person who cures you in a miraculous way gets a straight hold on your soul – and you will come when they summon you (my life which they murder by means of my hands)- what if you are controlled rather than control and not mistress of your fate at all. The end vision of the book is like visions of hell or visions of Infernal beings taking hapless generations to a Null nothing wilderness in which they serve Infernal beings in a Void.
    Many mystics describe the stages of the soul from infernal places to limbos to heavenly states. Swedenburgh says the exteriors which we hide our intent behind are open after death and we are show in our true state, like he says gravitates to like, nobody is pushed into ‘hellish worlds’ but their inclination their desire is to be with others of their own kind. In other words what you are means you gravitate by choice to those like yourself , there is no compulsion – but your own inner state decides. Your inclinations your karmic imprint . What you have developed. And chosen.

    These are big themes, for me a work of fiction cannot take in the complete dimensions of a human soul and what actually might happen in encounters of evil (deceiving or taking control of a soul), it supposed there is no other dimension that the light is no match for the dark. I think while the light of a human mind or spirit can be harmed the eternal flame of spirit cannot be quenched. You cannot put out God.
    The problem for me with this work is that it supposes evil to have tremendous power, not to be what it more properly is banal and a failure of development. Real supernatural evil called Satan in Christianity, is something that we n are weak before unless we are living in the spirit of Christ.
    By ourselves we are no match for that kind of force, that we don’t many of us believe in it makes us more susceptible. The thing that King seems to feel in this work or his protagonist feels that he he was in the guise of a miracle deceived and actually in death is already committed drawn irresistibly and inevitable into the maws of evil supernatural beings. What it does’t allow for is the dimension of the soul, the power of God before forces of evil, and that God knows the trials of his creatures and his love is infinite mercy.

  87. The Other side

    It is a terrifying concept to be presented with the knowledge that the afterlife, or other side, is hell and just hell.

    I do not believe there is just “Hell” on the other side “for everybody”; I believe Charles Jacob manifested what he saw on the other side. After the loss of his wife and son, Charles Jacobs spent several decades of his life doing terrible things; betraying god: claiming to heal in god’s name, experimenting on people with supernatural energy, continuing to experiment on people with the knowledge that the experiments had harmful effects on people, harvesting secret electricity (a power that belongs to the gods?) to transcend the boundary of life and death.

    It is interesting psychology that my mind has manufactured a reason for what Charles Jacobs saw on the other side. I derived a deduction that Charles Jacobs must have seen hell on the other side because he did sinful acts. In consistent philosophy that bad befalls bad would be the ideology that good befalls good:the faithful and innocent would be rewarded with peace and salvation.

    What if the afterlife is “Hell for everybody”, maybe how we act in life and what we believe in life has no effect on death and what’s on the other side.

  88. I must say I felt misled. This was not the darkest novel of King, not by a long shot. Good story, but didn’t even change or make me think of the afterworld at all. If anything, made me sad that perhaps Stephen has no hope whatsoever himself and we just got a glimpse of what he sees after this life. The climax was way too short and the “mother” character just seemed silly and lame to me. Definitely a readable story no doubt, but I just think the hype was very unwarrented. I literally was chomping the bit waiting for this book, and just think at this point reviewers applaud anything by Stephen King. I best his grocery list would be a best seller.

  89. Thank you Stephen for a good-ish book. I have to admit I was disappointed with this book, after reading all the hype on here and the main website. I can think of many other King novels that not only brought me to tears, but made me think about how I was living and want to change it. The first book that comes to mind is “Doctor Sleep”. That turned my world upside down because I was struggling with addiction at the time, trying to decide if I was true alcoholic, and making that leap to ask for help. It also helped me realize how afraid of death I really was and helped me start to deal with that. So, unfortunately, Revival didn’t stir thoughts of death, life, addiction, etc, but it was readable at least. Not sorry that I bought it and read it, will more than likely read again, but it didn’t strike that fear in me that so many of King’s other works have been able to do.

    Forever a Constant Reader,

  90. I loved Jamie’s story and was hooked most of the way through. I couldn’t wait to get to the ending described as “the most terrifying Stephen King has ever written”, but unfortunately I felt let down when the book ended. I admit King’s vision of the afterlife was bleak, but I was not scared like I have been while reading some of his other books. Compared to Pet Sematary, which is my favorite, this one fell flat for me. It wasn’t terrible, but was just okay.

  91. I tried reading The Shining when I was 13. That ended abruptly when, during broad daylight, I ran out of our empty house, all the way to my parents’ shop where they told me no more King until I was older. I’m now 45 and while finishing Revival today (also in broad daylight), I could easily picture running out of the house had I been home alone. Old-school, scare-the-crap-out-of-me fun. What’s always gotten me the most is how much I care about his poor characters. Loved the little hat-tip to Joyland and always happy to hear about Castle Rock. I’m rambling now because I prefer to block out the ending. Unbelievably awesome book.

  92. PS I laughed at the last character who had a relative named Shelley. Mary Shelley. Good tip of the hat.

  93. Fantastic read. I sure hope my vision and version of Eternal Life is not yours but I do wonder about all the ants we have killed who invaded our home. When I think of Mother, I think of a merciful, loving Mother not your Bosch-like creature. I didn’t like being in a Hieronymous Bosch painting not for a minute. Perhaps these were the wrathful dieties of the Tibetan kind but where were the Peaceful deities? Not in a King book, that is where. I found the end really disturbing but I enjoyed the book immensely and its characters. The ending was so bleak. I can understand the ending for those who made the choice to try to crack the mystery of the beyond without caring about those they sacrificed to get there, but the innocent did not deserve it…or were they really there?

  94. First things first, before I address the “Revival” experience let me rank it as requested. It was certainly not one of Stephen King’s best. I didn’t find it very dark or scary. I would say King’s scariest book is Pet Seminary, The Shinning and Salem’s Lot are good and there are many others. Stephen King’s best book by far and possibly the best book I have ever read is 11/22/63.

    Now, about Revival, first I did identify a little with Reverend Jacobs. I am a born again, I saw the light Atheist! I was once a committed fundamentalist Christian bible teacher and now I am an Atheist. Although it was my reading of the bible through the lens of reason that brought me to give up my faith not a tragedy like Reverend Jacobs experienced. I did agree with Reverend Jacob’s “terrible sermon”. I myself have written much the same themes as were found in the sermon many times.

    I also identified a little with Jamie. Jamie’s my age and I am a recovered alcoholic as he is a recovered drug addict although it wasn’t secret electricity that cured me. I quit drinking when the price both physicality and emotionally I paid for my drinking became too much.

    What I found most disappointing about Revival was the ending. I found the ending not the least bit scary, I just found it wrong. We are at the end introduced to a Mary Fay a new character who we do not get to know. If King wanted to bring someone back to life it should have been Astrid! “Astrid dies of her cancer and Jacobs brings her back to life! We are emotionally attached to both her and Jamie as they are to each other. What a final scene that would have made; the two formerly young lovers in each other’s arms! Forget the ants and walking dead!

    Here’s the problem with the book for me. It really didn’t try to turn dark and scary until the end and then I found it neither. I found it disappointing. But that’s ok Stephen King. You still have it! Over the last three years we’ve had Dr. Sleep which was good and 11/22/63 which was your best! KEEP WRITING UNTIL THE END where I’m quite sure you will not find giant ants! Only darkness…
    Phil Greer

  95. Wasn’t as dark as expected. I love the first person telling from Jaime’s perspective. That was cool. But I found the later parts of the story kinda ehh. I know it’s fiction folks, but just didn’t get this whole attachment Jaime had to Charlie, despite the Rev having cured him. Good book, not one of my favs.

  96. Just finished this. Still on the fence. I did not think it was all that “deep and dark” – the theme has been done before and in this case maybe a bit better because it was done before. I did not find the climax climatic. The idea that the next when and where would be as described just read as “purgatory” to me. The best part of this book to me was finding the Gunslinger references. I am sooooooo sorry to say I was disappointed but I was – I had marked the day I could get the book and was truly excited for a “story” – but it just reminded me of others’ works and I get it the homage to Mr. Lovecraft – what I don’t get is WHY – you have your voice and it is YOURS – there is nothing new in the arts and that is a fact – however you take a thing and make it YOUR OWN and I didn’t sense that at all. AND I will agree after reading just about all of Sai King’s offerings I may be spoiled – the other works took me beyond the work – made me seek and search and especially with the Roland (with all his faults and virtues) story – the other works changed my life this introduced me to an aspect of Sci-fy I was aware of, appreciated and respected – but just not enough to take me past the story – the most it led me to is too look into Mr. Lovecraft and understand where he created from. I will guess it does depend upon the reader – I am a serious reader :) but if a story does not lead me to go somewhere else then I feel almost cheated. I don’t believe in “fiction” per se – I always have found that nugget that exposed a truth – that helped me to change and develop a living philosophy and this one didn’t. The climax was familiar – it reminded me of many short horror stories read before – the “after-affects” of the “healings” again there was no climax – this story being done before. I love you to death, Mr. King but was really saddened by this work. This work didn’t touch me deeply at all – AND I SO Desperately wanted it to I really did. I read some of the other comments and again apologize if I missed it.

  97. I enjoyed the book until the end, was disappointed, unsatisfied. Will read again in case I am missing something but just felt the ant coming out of the woman’s mouth was unbelievable if you can believe it lol. The book had me gripped until that point. I don’t quite know why I feel this way maybe I wasn’t scared enough, maybe if it had been less discriptive and been left more to my imagination it would have scared me more. Was caught up in the story as usual with Stephen Kings’ books and read it really quickly. Enjoyed the ride but not the ending will read again and would recommend it just the climax left me cold. Can’t wait for the next one lol.

  98. I loved it. Very scary and i think it goes up on the top ten list. I was shuddering after i finished it and had a lot of thoughts of a dark nature. Impossible to sleep. The books ending was lovecraftian in nature but was better because it was more believable. Therefore more scary. As always King is fantastic at child and youth parts of the story. It is a very dark story but it is more than a horror novel just because it deals with such themes as healing, faith, afterlife, addiction and so on. Probably thats the reason that it is so horrific. I would have liked a little more backstory on claire and her departure from life and how it affected the family. Looking back i’m astounded at how much King managed to put in on these 400 pages. As to how dark it is… Mostly there is some kind of hope but here there is none. You will end up with Mother and this Mother is something you really want to avoid. Excellently written and fastpaced. The ending was unputdownable. Then there was the winding down scenes with the psychiatrist that was ok. I’m not quite sure i get the reason to why he didn’t do some killings like so many others. Why does it make a difference that he was there and was the connection? Didn’t quite get that part. But it is just three hours since i finished it so it might sink in later.

  99. The book is wonderful. The last 100 pages terrify me beyond words. Despite the darkest ending I’ve ever read, I do feel that its message may be to live life to the fullest while you can NOW. ALL bets are off after death.

    “Nothingness” or even the classic vision of hell would seem like paradise compared to this particular vision. You got me, Steve. You got me.

  100. It did not make me feel I needed to change how I live, because this vision of an afterlife didn’t seem to care how the hell you lived your life. Sinner or saint, we would all be there rubbing shoulders.

  101. This is Stephen’s darkest work IMO. Fuck around with vampires and possessed cars all you want, but leave my little blue-skied, flower-blooming, peaceful family picnic afterlife alone!

    It made me feel so lost and drained. How would we avoid that? How do we save our people we love from that? It’s a helpless feeling.

    I think my face melted off like that Nazi guy in Indiana Jones. I looked into the abyss and it turned it’s damn ant head and fixed those eyes on me! I feel marked now!

  102. The book left me feeling hopeless and afraid. Such a bleak outlook! I don’t want to think of all these lovely, vibrant people wasting away in the pits of Null! I don’t want to go there. I honestly just put the book down and wanted to bawl. Thinking about that filled me with such sorrow. I had to quit thinking about it so I wouldn’t feel.