Insomnia by Stephen King – A Book Review



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

Purchase: Amazon UK, Amazon US


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.

30 thoughts on “Insomnia by Stephen King – A Book Review

  1. I’ve read a fair few Stephen King books, but not this one. I do recall starting it a few years ago, but I didn’t get very far. After reading such a glowing review, I think I’ll have to go back to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amazing review. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ I’m a new Stephen King fan like I only started reading his works last year so this year, I’m planning to have a month-long Stephen King readathon. I’ll add this one to my TBR.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ve only read few of King’s works but so far, Pet Sematary is the only one that made me really satisfied with the story. Hope you like it too. πŸ™‚

        By the way, I already emailed you about your book. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Strangely enough, this was the book where my enthusiasm for Stephen King’s works started to ebb, and although I don’t remember much about it (it’s been a long, long time), I remember not finishing it and abandoning it mostly for its overall feeling of sadness and unacknowledged despair – but maybe it was just me in that moment…
    Now that I see a glowing, 5-star review, I might have to reconsider and see if the years have changed my point of view.
    Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen a fair few mixed reviews on this one. I must just be on the lucky side of the fence that really enjoyed it. I think what sold it most was the fact that he doesn’t give a half-arsed ending for a change that spoils the good work of the build up

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Exciting to see a good review of a Stephen King book I haven’t seen before πŸ˜€ Definitely agree with his endings, haven’t picked up his books in a while, but this sounds like a good one to give a chance to.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am a huge Stephen king fan and I just can’t imagine any universe where this book is 5/5! In fairness, must be over 10 years since I read it so maybe I need to give it another go, but I’m struggling with this idea.
    His endings are so shocking bad though 🀣


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