Revival (2014) by Stephen King

Stephen King's Revival

Reverend Charles Jacobs is a man that has lost his faith. Jamie Morton is a young boy finding his way in the world. Their first meeting was marked by tragedy and a miracle. Over fifty years of history they will encounter each other as both rivals and allies in a quest that will probe the mysteries of the cosmos and the secrets of electricity.

Revival, Stephen King’s newest work paints a generation spanning tale of two people who have been united by fate and common experience. This book is written in the style of a first person memoir with the narrator relating the events. This allows the author to build suspense by mentioning events that will occur in the future in early parts of the book, then circling back to expand on these events at regular points. King has used this technique in several of his recent books, especially the recent Dr. Sleep.

The book focuses on two themes.  The first is addiction (a common theme of King’s work) and how to overcome it. The second deals with exploring and encountering the unknown, as well as attracting the attention of beings beyond human understanding.  Parts of this book harken back to weird fiction stories of the 1930s when new scientific forces (Electricity, Radiation, etc…) were ascribed all manner of strange powers and expand humanity’s knowledge, often with disastrous results. This book owes much to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and also appears to be greatly inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft.

I enjoyed this book, and I think fans of Stephen King will enjoy it. I think horror and science fiction fans will also find it interesting. The dust cover claims that the book features “Stephen King’s most terrifying conclusion ever”. In my opinion it did not live up to that boast.

Connections to Other Work

Stephen King’s books often share links that place them into various universes, most of which joined by the Dark Tower series. This book mentions events and locations from the story Joyland (2013) which means it shares a world with that book as well as The Colorado Kid (2005).

Related Works

“From Beyond” (1934) by H. P. Lovecraft – This short story relates the narrator’s encounter with Dr. Crawford Tillinghast whose discovery of Tillinghast Resonance allows him to access another dimension and observe its strange inhabitants. Of course this also allows those inhabitants to peer back into our dimension.

From Beyond (1986) Directed by Stuart Gordon and starring Jeffery Combs and Barbra Campton. Fresh from directing an adaptation of the another H.P. Lovecraft story (1985’s Re-Animator) Gordon turns the story into a tale of shape-shifters, body horror, and brightly colored gore. A decent re-telling of the Lovecraft story, but Gordon’s work can be an acquired taste.

Genre: Horror, Weird fiction

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