Pet Sematary by Stephen King | Book Review

Sunday, 3 November 2019

I had read Pet Sematary when I was in elementary school and couldn’t remember a single thing about it. In all honesty my childish self may have skimmed the book being uninterested, at that time, by the character building in the first half. With the new movie coming out, it was time to revisit the sematary and reintroduce myself to the story before the movie came out. So what did I think of what is believed to be one of King’s scariest books? Here’s my review.
Look at the smug bastard. There’s a cat in the picture too.
Let me start by saying I really enjoyed this book. I think I liked it more than IT. That being said, Pet Sematary wasn’t scary. Not even a little. Maybe I’m just too used to horror. It’s a genre I enjoy a lot but find myself rarely scared by a film. The last film to actually scare me was Annabelle Creation. Of course the Conjuring-verse is probably the most solid group of horror films ever made. So since I’m so used to horror, maybe I’m a bit desensitized to it. I love Michael Myers, but he’s not scary. Freddy’s great. Not scary.
Even though I don’t believe this book is nearly as scary as people historically believe, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, this is probably one of Stephen Kings best examples of characterization, world building, and plot development. This is one of his best books, period.
The first act of the book is mostly getting to know the Creeds. Louis, Rachel, Ellie, and Gage all became very familiar as the book goes on so I got really invested in their story. I even felt like I knew their neighbors, Jud and Norma Crandall as well. I would have been happy if it was just a slice-of-life story about these two families. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. There’s a lot that does happen in the first act. Some moments that could be considered scary or tense happened but I read them with a sort of detached feeling. It was like when someone tells you a joke and you understand why it’s funny and you may even say “that’s funny” but you don’t laugh. We also get introduced to the Sematary in the first act and it’s power and, along with that, plenty of foreshadowing. So much foreshadowing that I almost consider it a six or sevenshadow… that joke working for anyone? No. Cool. Let’s move on.
Lea was a little harder to get a picture of
The second act is where things pick up, mostly. A big event happens and the story focuses on Louis and the power of the sematary. And I’m happy to report that the power of the sematary isn’t just what we all know it can already do. There’s more to it too. It’s a bigger power that slowly gets revealed as the story progresses. So even if you go into this book having watched one of the movies, don’t worry, there are still secrets left to find.
As a whole, it’s a well written and well fleshed out plot that has a whip-crack fast ending after the final mistake is made but our hero. Normally I would hate a story that ended so abruptly but it all worked and it was realistic… well… as realistic as a story about a sematary that can bring back the dead can be. It would have felt odd, like the pacing was off, had the ending been drawn out anymore. It had to be quick. But just because it’s quick doesn’t mean it’s anything less than the ending the book needed.
This was a really good story that’s only downfall is that it doesn’t live up to the horror hype, but that’s really it. This is a good general fiction book with mild supernatural and horror elements. If you’re looking to be scared, watch a movie. But if you want good book, then this is for you.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King gets a 10 out of 11

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