Stephen King's new novel 'Revival' is garnering strong reviews – with a few exceptions

Critics are calling 'Revival' 'spellbinding' and 'dark and haunting,' though the Monitor's own reviewer said the novel is not as fun as recent King work 'Mr. Mercedes' and one critic called the book's ending 'rushed and unbalanced.'

'Revival' is by Stephen King.

Stephen King’s new novel “Revival” is receiving mostly positive reviews.

The new book by the legendary author, which was released on Nov. 11, centers on Jamie Morton, who first meets Methodist minister Charles Jacobs as a child. After Charles’s family is affected by tragedy, Charles says he no longer believes in God and is forced to leave town. But Jamie encounters Charles again years later. 

Monitor critic Erik Spanberg wrote that he thinks the work compares unfavorably to the author’s recent book “Mr. Mercedes” although he still finds it satisfying.

“This book isn’t as much fun as ‘Mr. Mercedes,’” he wrote. “But King fans won’t lose any faith in his powers while breezing through “Revival.” 

Meanwhile, Amazon named the title as one of its best books of November.

“He's such a great storyteller," Amazon editorial director Sara Nelson said of the book. "[There are] universal themes of good and evil and 'Is there a God?’” 

Publishers Weekly gave the book a starred review, calling it a “spellbinding supernatural thriller.”

“King (‘Mr. Mercedes’) is a master at invoking the supernatural through the powerful emotions of his characters, and his depiction of Jacobs as a man unhinged by grief but driven by insatiable scientific curiosity is as believable as it is frightening,” PW wrote. “The novel’s ending – one of King’s best – stuns like lightning.”

Washington Post critic Elizabeth Hand called the new book “splendid" saying that it "offers the atavistic pleasure of drawing closer to a campfire in the dark to hear a tale recounted by someone who knows exactly how to make every listener’s flesh crawl.” Brian Truitt of USA Today predicted that "Revival" will have readers “singing King’s praises.”

“Worshippers at the Universal Church of Stephen King have a lot to rejoice about with his latest literary sermon,” he wrote. “Revival is a dark and haunting tale…. At the same time it's an emotional and spectacular coming-of-age tale.”

However, James Kidd of The Independent had problems with the book’s ending.

“Where 'Revival' falls down, if not quite apart, is in its climax,” he wrote. “But after Revival’s finely judged first 5/6ths, the conclusion feels rushed and unbalanced…. 'Revival' is fine if not vintage King, but that still makes it tastier than most bestsellers out there.”

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