ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Stephen King's 'Full Dark, No Stars': A Review

Updated on August 24, 2013
Full Dark, No Stars: Stories
Full Dark, No Stars: Stories

Stephen King's latest entry into his impressive repertoire.

 

Full Dark, No Stars

Pages: 560

Rating: ***

I'm very aware of who Stephen King is and what he's all about. I've seen the film adaptations of his best works: 'Thinner', 'Carrie', 'Christine', 'It', 'Pet Cemetery', etc. but never got the opportunity to read the book versions. I thought picking up the newest offering from Mr. King would be a great introduction into the story telling supremacy that he brings to the literary table. What I didn't realize is 'Full Dark, No Stars' is actually a collection of new short stories. I'm wondering if King was pleased with this work or if it was a novel he used to fill a contractual obligation. The title says a lot about the novel, the stories are good, but nothing special can be found between the covers. I'm not questioning King's writing talent by any means, but the ball was dropped somewhere along the line.

The book opens up with '1922'. Wilfred James, a corn farmer, lives a very simple life with his wife, Arnette, and son, Hank. Despite Wilfred's content with the simple life, Arnette dreams of something more than her contrary country life. When she's awarded a good chunk of land from her father's will, she thinks that her prayers have been answered. Dollar signs appear in her eyes when a pig butchery offers to pay top dollar for the prime property. Hoping to preserve the farm community and prevent the land from being contaminated by the butchery, Wilfred begins lobbying against his wife. One night, after a drunken argument, Wilfred convinces Hank that Arnette needs to be dealt with. Permanently. Working together, they make sure Arnette meets a rather violent end. As if cursed, Wilfred's life begins to descend into ruin. His crops wither and his livestock slowly dies. The farm collapses on top of him. Hank runs off in search of a lost love. Left penniless and distraught, Wilfred contemplates suicide until Arnette's phantom and army of rats decide to take matters into their own hands. Revenge is truly the sweetest dish when served cold.

'Big Driver' is next in line. While this story stands out as not only the most intriguing, it is also the most well written of the group. Easily the most believable piece of the bunch and the characters are incredibly lifelike. In this story, you'll meet Tessa Jean. Tess is a young mystery writer doing her best to earn a living selling her novels and through making public appearances. On her way home from a speaking engagement, she runs into a bit of car trouble. A trucker stops, but instead of assisting Tess with her dilemma, he assaults her sexually. Where the story really sucks the reader in is with the emotional and psychological trauma she is fighting to overcome.The attack is all that Tess can think about, tormenting her every thought. Deciding her fate lies in stopping her attacker from claiming any more victims, she goes on the offensive. Returning to the scene of the assault, Tess is determined to end the truckers reign of terror he holds over her life. While it's fairly unlikely, I can see something similar on a headline somewhere. The only real snag in this story is the ending. I'm left wondering what happens to Tess, since the story ends abruptly.

'Fair Extension' is next in line. Definitely a story that will grab your attention, but will also leave you wondering what you would do in a similar situation. Dave Streeter, a terminally ill cancer patient, is driving home from work when a strange street vendor catches his attention. This vendor isn't offering newspapers or food wares, but offers various types of extensions. Life extensions, memory extensions, beauty extensions, wealth extension, 'appendage' extensions... you get the idea. Hoping to stay with his family a little longer, Dave accepts a life extension but must choose another person to suffer extreme misfortune in return. After he's made his difficult decision, he is forced to watch as the life of his replacement crumbles. Streeter transforms from a character that you'll sympathize with into one that you'll loathe. Especially since he sits back and enjoys watching the suffering that he's caused. While the characters are drawn well, I find myself wanting more and feeling very unsatisfied.

'All Dark, No Stars' closes with 'A Good Marriage'. This story really makes you wonder if your partner is who they say they are. Do you really know someone? Can someone ever be 100% trustworthy? Darcy thought she knew her husband, Bob, better than he knew himself. After being married for twenty-seven years, a chance find in her husband's work station turns her world upside down. This find makes Darcy question everything that she ever knew about her husband. Bob Anderson, devoted husband and father, accountant, boy scout leader, avid coin collector... schizophrenic serial killer? Can Darcy overlook Bob's new identity? Or can she get to the bottom of the mystery before she finds herself as the next victim.

The stories in 'All Dark, No Stars' all seem half baked and incomplete. While King excelled at developing characters, he needed a little bit more meat and finesse in the bodies of each story. A lot of people say that King has lost his touch... his spark, but I don't necessarily agree. With a little bit of inspiration, he could go back to his seat at the head of the horror writers table. I haven't been deterred from Stephen King as a novelist and I already have more of his novels on order. Despite this misstep, King has the kind of longevity in his career that three quarters of today's writers wished they could have. I'll give this novel three stars, what is presented to us is written well, I just wish there was a little more in some places. The pace is great and there isn't much hesitation at the start of each story. With each tale easily read in as little as a single sitting, you'll fly through this book in no time.

Have you read the book? Which story was your favorite?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Esmeowl12 profile image

      Cindy A Johnson 

      6 years ago from Sevierville, TN

      I have to agree with you. This book of short stories is not my favorite of King's works (and I'm a huge fan). The stories were disturbing in a weird way. Thanks for the review.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)