First came the days of the plague. Then came the dreams. Dark dreams that warned of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil. His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms.
For hundreds of thousands of fans who read The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King’s gift. And those who are listening to The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival.
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Grover Gardner
Running Time: 47 hours, 47 minutes.
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Audio Release Date: 19/07/2012
My rating of ‘The Stand’: 5 out of 5
Purchase ‘The Stand’: Audible
All in all, the cover is very simple. A lone, shadow-figure walking down a deserted road in a barren landscape. At face value it seems dull and uninteresting, but, considering the subject matter of the manuscript, it works very well. Unlike some other ‘simple’ covers, this actually has something directly to do with the work as a whole.
Before this I had never tried any of Stephen King’s books. I had watched a film or two based on his novels, but never actually tried anything written by the man himself. At first I thought ‘The Stand’ was a little slow going, but as it progressed I started to think ‘if he didn’t do it slow to start with, the meat of the story would be far less appetizing and not as meaningful to the listener/reader’. Every slow section turns out to be a Stephen King masterfully crafting his characters. There are numerous pay-offs throughout the novel that make slugging through the slower parts all the more worth it. Much like other authors such as Robin Hobb, these parts add so much to a character that not having them would be detrimental to the story as a whole.
This is by far the best audio book I have in my library and, at the time of writing this I have 99 titles (so that’s saying something). King makes you get attached to each character, feel their fears and share in their triumphs. He makes the main plot points actually mean something and feel as natural as if it were happening for real rather than it was something birthed from one man’s imagination.
If you are contemplating buying the Stand but are unsure as to whether or not you should, I can honestly say you will be missing out on something truly great if you don’t. Grover Gardner’s narration is of the highest quality. It makes an already wonderful story so much better. His voice works well for every character and he gives each one a voice that truly fits with their overall presence. My favourite was his voicing of Tom Cullen, I genuinely think he got the character down to a tee. I’m not ashamed to say that, after listening to this a couple of years ago, I e-mailed Grover Gardner to say what a fantastic job he did and how much enjoyment I got from his work. He may hear it all the time, but I always get a special feeling inside whenever someone has read my novel and tells me how much they enjoy it. That feeling just never gets old, so I felt it was the very least I could do.
All in all, the only bad thing I have to say about The Stand is that it ended. Top quality from start to finish. Well deserved 5 star rating.
The ‘publisher’s summary’, which is audible’s version of a blurb by the looks of it, gives a very cryptic description (albeit short) of what to expect in ‘The Stand’. You get the immediate sense of the ‘good vs evil’ theme from the short blurb and, in my case, it was enough to interest me. I can’t say it sold me, however, as I already actively decided to seek this title out due to it being one I had wanted to read but never gotten round to. The publisher know they have a winner and a fan-favourite on their hands, the second part of the summary shows this. So, in all fairness, they didn’t really have to put anything. This would sell whether it had a blurb or not.