By: Stephen King
As Jamie Morton sits in the dirt at six years old playing with his toy soldiers, a shadow will fall over him and haunt him for the rest of his life. That shadow went by the name of Reverend Charles Jacobs, a young man with a likable smile and pleasant disposition. Three years after this innocent encounter, Jacobs is fired from the church for his Terrible Sermon, and Jamie says his final, emotional goodbye.
Except that goodbye doesn’t last. Destiny or some unknown force decided that Jamie and Charles’ lives would be bound together for another fifty years. In that time, the hobby Jacobs demonstrated to Jamie as a child has now become his life’s work and fanatical obsession.
However, that obsession will lead both men to a discovery more horrifying and unsettling than any religion could hope to suppress.
Ooof…where to start? This is going to be a strange review for me because, while I liked this book to a certain extent, it also irritated me because I kept waiting for the horror to come through. Most of this book is spent with Jamie as he goes through the struggles of his life with intermittent, and increasingly bazaar, interactions with Reverend Jacobs.
That ending though, oh that ending got me good. It was horrifying and creepy, and I kinda wished that I could forget it. Had that intensity been sprinkled throughout the whole book and lead to that big finish, Revival might have been as good as the Green Mile. But it failed in that regard. I know I finished it quickly because it was still Stephen King and it was still, for the most part, well written. However, it didn’t excite me except at the beginning and the end. It’s a book full of loss, illness, hardship, and drug abuse. There is also a lot of music jargon. The book had its moments of just sounding like some rockstar’s memoir, which brings me to my next point.
I think Stephen King did a little more in this book than just draw on research and some personal experience. Some of the biggest details sounded like stories ripped from his own life, and I knew, at least in those parts, that he was really writing about himself. As someone who has watched biographies and enjoys reading fun facts about him, I picked up on a couple things.
- There’s the rock-and-roll guitar player protagonist, Jamie Morton. Stephen King himself plays guitar in a band. You can find pictures online as well as in his author picture on some of his books.
- The main character has a motorcycle accident that throws him in a ditch, shattering his leg into 5 pieces and breaking his hip. If any of you know of the terrible car accident Stephen King was in, you know he too shattered his leg and have to have pins stuck in it for a very long time.
- He also became addicted to painkillers due to his injury. Oh look, so did Jamie Morton.
- Jamie also had a terrible addiction to heroin that lasted about a decade. King didn’t use heroin (to my knowledge) but he was an alcoholic and addicted to cocaine for several years of his life. He wrote Cujo while strung out. He admits he can’t remember writing that story.
Revival felt like a twisted King autobiography mixed with a demented acid trip where someone claimed to see the monsters lurking in the fourth dimension. There was also the really strong Frankenstein vibe mixed with that good old Lovecraftian Horror he cut his teeth on.
I will definitely remember that ending for a long time. It’s not really the kind of thing you forget, but I’m also not sure many people would like to read it. It’s pretty awful.
Overall, the suspense is so long and drawn out that it was mostly underwhelming until the last 50-100 pages. The main character on drugs is an asshole but otherwise a pretty down-to-Earth dude.
I give this book a solid…meh.