A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.
In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.
Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.
This novel made inner science me so happy. I loved it!
First of all, can we just talk about Stephen King’s writing style? It’s so beautiful and unique; I could pick out his writing from a stack of random books. I particularly enjoyed how the ending of the novel was framed, it was incredibly intense. He wields words in a simple yet deep and disturbing way. I’m a definite fan.
King also creates shockingly relatable characters. Despite the fact that I’ve never gone through the events of either Jamie or Charlie, I found myself empathizing with them quite frequently. Their responses to the events in their lives were realistic and understandable even though they weren’t choices I would make. Frequently the choices characters make are obviously just a ploy to get to the actual plot and aren’t actually choices an average human being would make, but King made every decision feel realistic.
The novel does a wonderful job of displaying how interests and fascinations can quickly spiral into obsessions. Although we don’t follow Charles descent into obsession directly, the moments we do spend with him show a variety of stages. King handled a delicate situation in, again, a very realistic manner that furthered the plot of the story very well. There were times where I wanted King to explore this issue more. I think, if we had the perspectives of both Charles and Jamie, the novel would have been that much more interesting and human.
If you can’t tell, the novel deals a lot with electricity and how it functions. It’s set in the 60s, so there isn’t all that much scientific knowledge on the subject and, instead, there are myths and (dubious) hypotheses. King takes this fact and carefully weaves it into the plot, subtly bringing us closer and closer to the frighting climax that is the end. It’s a testament to the manner in which King drags the reader into the story. Instead of scaring readers at the beginning, King makes you feel almost safe while keeping ominous undertones throughout the novel and only then does he frighten you.
If you’re looking for a novel with an intricate buildup, phenomenal writing, and a wonderful scare factor, then Revival is the book for you. This is one novel that you really won’t want to put down.