I'm lost. Destroyed. Utterly exhausted. I don't think a work of fiction has ever affected me so entirely. I was there. And I wish I hadn't been, yet I do not regret reading it.
Forget Cujo and Pet Sematary, or any of his other dark and dreary novels. Revival is Stephen King's bleakest work to date. Mainly because it gives you hope. So much hope. And then it rips that hope, still beating, from your chest.
The title of this novel is literal in several ways. It's a revival of old school King, the King many of us miss. It's about numerous revivals, but naming those would be spoilers, and I refuse to spoil anything about this book. And, last but not least, It has a tent revival within its pages. But I cannot feel as if something inside me has died. Like a fire has been extinguished. I'm sure this feeling will pass. At least I hope it will.
The mastery of language showcased in Revival is simply breathtaking. There are hundreds of quotable lines herein, but one of my personal favorites is quite simple. "Home is where they want you to stay longer." And it's funny, folks, because, for the first time in my life, I wanted a Stephen King book to be longer, so that quote is damn apt. I wanted more time with Jaime before the final descent into darkness. I wanted him to have more time period. Because I knew something terrible awaited this poor man. I wish Jaime Morton could unsee, could unfeel, everything he goes through. But the damage is irrevocable.
If you have any humanity, the ending of Revival will bother you deeply. It's not the final scene, it's not any one event, it's the concept. The idea. The unflinching finality. It's not an exclamation point or a question mark, but a precise period. Where many authors will leave the afterlife to the reader's imagination, Stephen King delivers on his promise. There is no what-if. He draws the conclusion in black detail, and you can only sit back, mouth agape, and swallow what he feeds you.
In summation: Revival is a creature born of despair. It nests inside you and breeds. It's insidious. I'm glad to be done with it, but wouldn't have missed the journey.