In keeping with the theme of firsts, this was the first time I’d actually read a Stephen King novel. I wasn’t disappointed. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fast reader, but I devoured Revival within a weekend. That in itself would probably be enough for me to recommend it.

As any good blurb-reading monkey can tell you, the novel spans 50 years, and tells of the entwined lives of a boy and a preacher amid electrical shenanigans, music, and addiction. The viewpoint character, Jamie Morton, is a rock guitarist by trade, and I’ll admit that at times the novel stirred up the desire to pause my reading and wield my own axe a little. The Reverend Charles Jacobs’ fascination with electricity didn’t have the same effect— although after finishing the book that’s probably a good thing.

On actually reading it, you’ll find a whole heap of themes have been explored. Tales of growing up and aging are prevalent; which is probably to be expected, given the time span of the novel (King’s stages of life are Youth, Middle Age, and How The Fuck Did I Get So Old?). Religion and cult followings are given a bit of a hard time, and devout Christians may want to steer clear, especially when it comes to the Terrible Sermon. There are also hints of the coming-of-age story and the horror King is generally popularly known for, although for the most part, the horror takes a back seat.

This mix made me wonder whether the novel could have managed to successfully pull it off by focusing on just one of those themes, but I’m not going to argue when they’re all done well.

Best bit: Jamie’s musing on ‘home’. Line up the ‘something in my eye’ excuses.

Worst bit: The bleak aftermath.

Daniel Hu’s inability to read quickly has come back to bite him in his English degree.

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