READ THIS NOVEL
There, review done. Just kidding. Seriously though, read it. Preferably after you’ve read “IT” and “The Dark Tower” series.
“Insomnia” takes place in the fictional Maine town of Derry, where “IT” is set. “Insomnia” has a lot of references to the 1986 novel and it’s also pretty much a “Dark Tower” novel without having “The Dark Tower” in the title.
“In some ways – a lot of ways, actually – Derry wasn’t like other places.”
This novel quickly, slid itself into my top 5 King books (I will make a post about my King rankings soon). The “IT” and “Dark Tower” references alone made this an above average King book, but those weren’t even the half of it. After finishing, and wiping the tears off my face, I stared at my ceiling for a good ten minutes just digesting it.
Needless to say, I didn’t pick up my next read, “Cell,” until after a few days, and I still can’t stop thinking about “Insomnia.” The last time I had to do that with a King novel was after the “The Dark Tower” series finale.
“Insomnia” left me speechless. The book had EVERYTHING. King was like a witch throwing ingredients into a cauldron. He threw in a dash of horror, a little fantasy, a bit of drama, some politics, a touch of violence, a lot of emotion, a triple dose of excitement, and a whole lot of suspense. As usual, the characters and descriptions were superb.
This 787-page giant hit shelves in 1993. 787 pages seems like a lot, and there are a few instances where King seems to drone on or dialogue just crawls, but in all honesty, every word is necessary. Throughout the entire novel I never found myself anywhere close to boredom.
Quick synopsis: Ralph Roberts, the 70-year-old protagonist of the novel, begins to suffer from insomnia following the death of his wife. Ralph begins to see auras surrounding his neighbors. Little does he know these auras have a deeper meaning and they’re not just pretty colors
Alright, here’s where the real review comes in *insert sly smile emoji here.*
Like I said before, I can imagine King just pulling snippets from every genre and every book he has written and sprinkling pieces into “Insomnia.” Okay, maybe not every book, but a few of them.
King made me cry within the first 100 pages describing the death of, Ralph’s, wife, even though we as readers had little to no interaction with her. Seriously how does he do it? Pretty sure I cried three times throughout this novel, so we’re not done with the water works yet.
Later Ralph has a confrontation with a neighbor who is spouting nonsense about colors, little bald doctors and the Crimson King… YEAH, THE CRIMSON FREAKING KING!
Ralph starts suffering from insomnia and begins seeing auras (colors) around people. He soon discovers these colors correspond to moods or intentions. Each aura has what Ralph describes as a balloon string, attached to the head.
The descriptions King puts into Ralph’s visions are so vivid. I absolutely loved reading these. Some people who weren’t fans of the novel describe them as acid trips. Now, I’ve never done acid so I wouldn’t know, but I found these visions to be very cool and honestly beautiful.
Ralph sees three little bald guys (doctors) and had a lengthy 45+ page discussion with two of them. He names the doctors after the three Fates in Greek Mythology. Clotho and Lachesis, who serve The Purpose, and Atropos, who serves The Random.
The Purpose is where everyone has a designated time of death and Clotho and Lachesis will show up, cut your balloon string and send you to your death peacefully. Atropos on the other hand, slices the string and you die in some sort of random act of violence, tragedy or accident: The Random.
“We are all bound together by the Purpose. That’s ka-tet, which means one made of many.”
The Crimson King has been working on Ralph’s neighbor for years and influenced him to go against the Purpose and Random and fly a plane, with a bomb inside, into the Derry Civic Center where a pro-women’s rights activist is speaking to a crowd of 2000+.
King sprinkles in large amounts of pro/anti-abortion and pro/anti-women’s rights political arguments throughout “Insomnia.” The politics are often cited as an area of complaint for some, but to me, they made the novel feel grounded and real.
Anyway, the Crimson King doesn’t care about pro or anti-women’s rights. He cares about a 4-year-old boy who got dragged to the convention center with his mother. This boy is Patrick Danville. Patrick is destined to save the life of a man trying to get into the Dark Tower.
For “Dark Tower” fans, this is the same Patrick Danville from the 7th “Dark Tower”, and the man he is destined to save? Yeah, that’s Roland. Crazy right? I mean I was absolutely mind-blown.
Little Patrick sits inside the civic center drawing a picture while the activist is speaking. His picture is of Roland outside the Dark Tower with the Crimson King at the top. I can’t even express how excited I was reading that passage. OH MY GOD.
“His name is Roland, Mama. I dream about him, sometimes. Him’s a King, too.” – Patrick Danville.
Before the Civic Center we get a mini adventure into the depths of Derry through a little cave at the base of a tree: Atropos’ lair. Here we see a maze of all the trophies he collects from those he kills, one of which is little Gage Creed’s shoe… yeah I got a bit misty reading that passage.
Anyway, Ralph redirects the plane saving Patrick and defeating the Crimson King… for now. Ralph marries his neighbor and they live happily for a few more years… until Ralph gets hit by a car while saving a little girl. COME ON, KING, WHY?!?!?! Yeah, I bawled. I mean cried my freakin’ eyes out.
Sorry this review got a little lengthy but “Insomnia” is THAT good. All I want to do is talk about it, and I hope when you read it, you’ll feel the same way. King is incredible and once again delivers a beauty.
5 out of 5