You’ll lose a lot of sleep . . .
Ralph does. At first he starts waking up earlier. And earlier. Then the hallucinations start – the colours, shapes and strange auras. Not to mention the bald doctors who always turn up at the scene of a death.
That’s when Ralph begins to lose a lot more than sleep. When he begins to understand why his hitherto mild-mannered friend, Ed, is getting out of control – dangerously so. And why his home town is about to become the new Armageddon . . .
Insomnia is a relentless waking nightmare in which the master of horror and suspense guarantees you sure won’t rest in peace.
Author: Stephen King
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 760 (the copy I have. Amazon claims 900+ and Goodreads claims 800+).
Release Date: 1994
My Chosen Format: Paperback
My Rating of ‘Insomnia’: 5 out of 5
Despite the frequent let downs when it comes to endings in Stephen King books, I always get incredibly excited at the thought of starting another one. Insomnia is a book I’ve had sat on my shelf for years now and I feel like a fool for not having started it sooner.
I’ts probably one of the most enjoyable books I’ve ever read. It’s not a horror, despite that being the genre assigned to it. I feel Insomnia is more of an adventure novel with a supernatural element to it. But horror? Not a chance.
Ralph begins losing a lot of sleep after the passing of his wife. So much that he’s starting to count three hours a good, solid night. With this loss of sleep comes an awakening of something else. He begins to see auras that surround people and strange ‘balloon strings’ that float up from their heads.
With these new abilities also comes the realisation that other people/beings operate beyond the sight of mankind.
Ralph finds himself struggling to figure out whether he’s been thrust into a new, unexplainable world or if he’s just going insane. And it’s one heck of an enjoyable ride. Especially when you stop and think how strange everything he’s doing would look to someone who couldn’t see the things he sees.
As ever, King’s main strength is the work he puts into his characters. Few authors, in my opinion, can reach the lofty height of Stephen King as far as character creation goes.
As with a fair few of his works, Insomnia takes place in Derry and there are connections to other happenings in the King-iverse.
As I mentioned at the start of this review, the very real fear I have when reading King is that he will hook you in with a wonderful story and characters so real you swear they could be real … only for him to write himself into a corner and scream ALIENS DID IT!!! In a way that makes no sense whatsoever and has you thinking the men in white coats need to come and separate him from his laptop.
That DOES NOT happen in Insomnia. King writes a beautifully addictive story from the first word to the last. In fact, I’d go as far as saying he outdid himself where the ending was concerned. And not just the ending, but in setting the ending up.
All in all, this is, without a doubt, one of my favourite reads in recent memory and possibly my favourite Stephen King book. There are parts where you’ll start to feel like the wheels are about to come off and he’s going to go full-on weird, but stick with it. It’s worth it.