Pet Semetary by Stephen King – An Audiobook Review

Pet Semetary

Blurb:

The house looked right, felt right to Dr Louis Creed. Rambling, old, unsmart and comfortable. A place where the family could settle, the children grow and play and explore. The rolling hills and meadows of Maine seemed a world away from the fume-choked dangers of Chicago. 

Only the occasional big truck out on the two-lane highway, grinding up through the gears, hammering down the long gradients, growled out an intrusive threat. But behind the house and far away from the road: that was safe. Just a carefully cleared path up into the woods where generations of local children have processed with the solemn innocence of the young, taking with them their dear departed pets for burial. 

A sad place maybe, but safe. Surely a safe place. Not a place to seep into your dreams, to wake you, sweating with fear and foreboding.

Author: Stephen King

Narrator: Michael C. Hall

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Genre: Horror

Audio Release Date: 27/03/2018

Running Time: 15hrs 41mins

My Rating of ‘Pet Semetary’: 4 out of 5

Purchase: Audible, Amazon

Review:

Pet Semetary is THAT Stephen King book that every Stephen King fan has either read or keeps telling themselves ‘I’ll get to that one. I have to get to that one’. I finally got around to it and had that feeling of ‘I hope I haven’t built this up to be more than King can deliver’ purely because, the guy has a tough enough time selling me most of his endings. 

This one, however, was incredibly satisfying from start to finish. As a book it was enjoyable, and as subject matter it had that uneasy vibe running through it the whole time. In the author intro, King himself said, of all the things he’s written he views this as the most frightening. More so for the personal experience he had that gave rise to the idea and, having heard of the experience, you can totally tell why he thinks that.

The character work, as ever, was pretty damn flawless by King. As was the story building. My main negative is that it’s close to sixteen hours long and most of those sixteen hours is slow-burn story building. When stuff happens it take a long time to get to it and then a really long time to get to anything else happening after that. 

Another thing that, at first, I hated but soon grew to not care about was his habit of: ‘And little did <insert character name here> know, they had only three weeks to live.’ I hate spoilers. Hate them with a passion. So an author telling me that certain characters were going to die, didn’t sit well with me. Thankfully, his writing skills smoothed it over and I suppose being that told ahead of time actually softened the blow for when it really happened. It started as a negative, but ended as something I kind of enjoyed.

On the whole, as far as negatives go, neither were huge for me. His story building was just the sort of easy reading you can sink into and his mini-spoilers kind of worked really well. I do, however, feel that he could have cut parts out to make it shorter and not really lost anything from the overall story.

Still, on the whole, I really enjoyed it. The ending was also pretty good, something that I can’t always say with a King book.

I loved the narration for this one, especially the way the narrator voices Judd. He gets the New England drawl down to a tee. I could have listened to Judd and his stories for hours. Well, I suppose I did. But I could have listened to that character for far longer and not got bored.

9 thoughts on “Pet Semetary by Stephen King – An Audiobook Review

  1. I hate the way he spoils things in his own books. I would rather not know ahead of time what is going to happen to a character because it takes away the emotional reaction for me. He does that in pretty much every book he writes and I hate it. Great review!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a Stephen King book, so naturally, it takes place in Maine.

    I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with putting self-spoilers in the narrative. I’ve even seen a few instances where the story will set up what appears to be a foregone conclusion only for it to subvert things when they get back to that moment, and it can be pretty effective when done well. That said, when there is no higher purpose to them, then yes, it’s annoying. It generally doesn’t work well in horror because if you already know how things will end up, then there’s no suspense. That’s exactly the problem I had with Alex Garland’s mediocre adaptation of Annihilation.

    I’ve never read Pet Semetary, but I did see the 2019 film, and… it wasn’t very good. At all. It wasn’t quite what I would call a bad film, but it seems to continue making that case that Stephen King stories are difficult to translate to the silver screen. Interestingly, it fared well during its South by Southwest debut, but then it proceeded to tank with audiences. After that, it turned out mainstream critics weren’t any more charitable to the film, so it was interesting watching its Rotten Tomatoes score rapidly drop from 90% to around 59%. I know the folks at SXSW are notoriously unreliable, but they really messed that one up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t seen it. It was one of those that I wanted to get through the book before watching the film. I think I’ll relegate it to ‘one of those films I watch if other people in the room are desperate’.

      I just hate spoilers as it takes away enjoyment for me. If someone had said ‘oh, it was horrible when so and so died’ before I start reading, then I just don’t read. I didn’t mind it as much in this one but it’s still something that I’m not a massive fan of. For plot events its not bad, I just tend to be against it for character deaths

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is one I’m looking forward to trying, so I’m glad it worked out for you… I’m a little scared since King thinks of this as one of his most frightening ones.

    Liked by 1 person

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