Stephen King has hit another home run with “Revival”. The story follows Jamie Morton’s relationship with Charles Jacobs. But the story is about much more than their friendship; the story is about other relationships as well. The families and friends of these characters are woven throughout the tale, each playing a role and setting down a stepping stone to the finale. Even when you think someone has left the story he is apt to turn up again later on; not like “Pet Semetary” but in more concrete ways.
Revival addresses the age old battle man wages to become God-like. Rather like Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” there is a drive to go where only God should be allowed. King even uses Shelley’s catalyst, electricity, to stimulate his characters. Don’t misunderstand; there are no reanimated dead body parts. That would be far too easy for King. He goes a step further and shows the reader a different kind of horror. This is a subtle story where the scares are so underplayed at the beginning I wasn’t sure I should be frightened. However knowing the way King writes I thought I was prepared. I wasn’t.
There is a definite dig at religion in this story. Perhaps the author’s own experiences with religion leak through. I won’t second guess his motivations. I will say it works. Watching the deterioration of characters as they face demons that are overwhelming in their impact certainly gave me pause. What would I do? How would I feel? Of course King is good at putting his readers in the shaky shoes of his characters. He holds up the mirror we look into with trepidation.
Is “Revival” a horror story? Yes, but it is so much more. The characters are rich, the story comfortable except for those warning bumps in the road, and the ending leaves the reader thinking things CAN get worse.