This is King’s children’s story found within the pages of “The Dark Tower” series. He wrote this under the name Beryl Evans. The story is good and the art by Ned Dameron is better, but having read most of it in “The Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands” already, the standalone story seems a bit pointless.
King wrote this poem when he was very young, and it is disturbing, but honestly the illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne are better than the poem. This is the basis for Randall Flagg though, so it is pretty cool.
61: “Roadwork” – 204 pages; 1981; 3/5
“Roadwork” is a Richard Bachman (King’s pseudonym) book about a man attempting to deal with the eventual loss of his home due to the construction of an overpass. The novel is sad but boring and I struggled to get through it. There were some interesting bits, but overall its just alright.
“The Running Man,” another Bachman book, is about a man who enters in a life or death game show. It was a very interesting concept and honestly it wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t good. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would and it could have been a lot better.
59: “Blaze” – 260 pages; 2007; 3/5
Yet another Bachman book (they’re not all bad I promise). This one is about a mentally challenged man who kidnaps a wealthy family’s baby for ransom. It was a bit like “Of Mice and Men,” but not nearly as good. This one did make me cry at one point, but overall it was dull.
Shit weasel aliens. Pretty much the most memorable part of this one for me. There were some aspects that hit your feels, and a return to Derry was nice too, but I couldn’t get into this one. I know a lot of people really enjoy it, but it just wasn’t for me.
Very cool concept about a car that is a portal to another dimension, but the whole thing is told in flashbacks until the very end. While each flashback was cool, the surrounding parts were so dull and aside from a few, most of the flashbacks were disappointing too. There were a couple tear-jerk moments but in the end, it fell flat.
King wrote this giant with his youngest son Owen. Before reading this, I was so excited. All the women around the world become covered in a sort of cocoon when they fall asleep, and they won’t wake up. Trying to open the cocoon results in violence. Sounds cool right? Well, it was… but it was also boring and so drawn out. The Kings got too artsy and didn’t focus enough on the good stuff. There were some awesome parts, but the boring outweighed the good.
“Full Dark, No Stars” is a collection of four novellas: “1922,” “Big Driver,” “Fair Extension,” and “A Good Marriage.” This collection wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. “1922” was the only real highlight and it was very good. “Big Driver” was just weird and very reminiscent of the movie “I Spit on Your Grave.” “Fair Extension” was cool but needed more. It felt too quick. In “A Good Marriage,” King writes about a very strong woman, but the story is just okay, and it is a little lengthy and slow.
A story about a little girl who gets lost in the woods of New England. This is a creepy tale and especially real but there is really only so much King could do with the subject matter. It wasn’t a bad story by any means and I did really enjoy it, but it was quick and ultimately not super exciting.
53: “Cell” – 350 pages; 2006; 3/5
A cellphone signals turns everyone who is on them into a zombie. This story was cool and started out with a huge punch, one so good you expect that the whole time… but no. The middle events of this novel are too quick. It could have been a lot better.
I actually really enjoyed this one. An aspiring journalist listens to two old newspaper editors tell her the story of an unsolved death. The story was intriguing but a bit slow and the ending leaves you with no answers. I liked it but would have liked it more if we had come to a resolution of sorts.
This is a quick graphic novel about a werewolf terrorizing a town for a year. The story is creepy and a good mystery, but I wanted more. The illustrations by the late Berni Wrightson are amazing. King should turn this into a novel because the concept and story are there waiting to be expanded.
This is a collection of 22 short stories. The collection is good but has a lot of stories I just couldn’t get into. There are a few like “The Mist,” “The Jaunt,” and “Survivor Type,” that are amazing, but in the end, the duds outweigh the studs, forcing “Skeleton Crew” to fall down the rankings.
“Dark Tower” 4.5. This story is about Roland telling the Ka-Tet a story from his youth where he tells a young boy a fairy tale. Its storyception… a story within a story within a story. I enjoyed this little tale (tales) though. It was tightly written, and the stories were interesting. This one falls just because everything else above it is better.
48: “Thinner” – 282 pages; 1984; 4/5
Another Bachman book. A gypsy curses a man to lose weight. Doesn’t sound like a curse does it? Well it is because the weight loss doesn’t stop. This book was chilling and an interesting idea. It wasn’t overly wordy but the subject matter was a little silly and not a lot happens before the ending (which is great).
A collection of four novellas: “The Langoliers,” “Secret Window, Secret Garden,” The Library Policeman,” and “The Sun Dog.” All four stories are good but not great. They all have a lot of good things but they all also have their issues and these issues cause this collection to fall.
This novel is crazy. King said he wrote this novel with bloody tissues hanging from his nostrils after doing too much cocaine… you can tell. The novel is fun and very intricate and intriguing, but it feels disorganized at times and some of the events are just so out there.
This book is great, Rolands backstory is truly tragic, but it was too slow at times. This was the one “Dark Tower” novel I had to push through. The beginning and end were great, but the middle build-up is too slow for me and it felt like a huge pause in Roland’s journey to the Tower.
The 6th volume in the “Dark Tower” series was fast paced and just a set-up for the grand finale. It was good, but at this point in the series, you are just waiting for the end. There wasn’t enough action and it ended too abruptly.
The 5th “Dark Tower” novel is a good one for sure, but it is a tad slow and another pause of sorts. There was an air of mystery throughout and a certain character from another novel appears and tells us where he has been for the last 30 years, vaulting this novel over “Song” and “Wizard.”
King wrote us a nice fairy tale here. he switched up his style and it almost feels like a bedtime or campfire story. It is really good, but the writing style makes everything seem light even though a lot of the subject matter was not.
The finale of the Hodges trilogy was very good, but king didn’t really stick to what made the first two so good. The first two were realistic while in this one, he reverted to the supernatural which normally is great, but just felt out of place in this series. There were still some great events and disturbing scenes and the ending was water-works worthy though.
This collection of 15 short stories is truly impressive. King went modern with a few and they were killer. He even drudged up some older subjects and works and put them in this collection and they were great. The few duds brought “Bazaar” down to 40, but the good ones are what keep it here.
39: “Revival” – 403 pages; 2014; 4/5
The title is the subject matter here and it’s a goodie. “Revival” is deep and sometimes overly religious and bashed religion some too but still a great and sad story. The ending is NUTS.
A woman is chained to her bed during sexual play when her husband dies. This novel is disturbing as hell. Sometimes it gets a bit uncomfortable, especially during the eclipse of 1963, but I really enjoyed this one. The Space Cowboy is one creepy figure too.
King delivers another strong female character. Dolores is a badass. Written like a testimony, this novel is only in Dolores’s voice and its still amazing. King never ceases to amaze.
This novella, co-written with Richard Chizmar, is the return to Castle Rock. A truly beautifully written novella that is too short. Seriously I finished it in two days, I want more!! The story was great, setting was great, characters were great, but it falls because it deserves a full-length novel.
The second novel in the Hodges Trilogy delivers. I really enjoyed this tale and loved the reminiscent feelings of “Misery.” Falls to its predecessor because Morris Bellamy, as creepy as he is, was no Brady.
34: “Desperation” – 690 pages; 1995; 4/5
I really enjoyed King’s messed up trip to the Nevada desert town of Desperation where we get to meet the creepy and disturbed force, Tak. The aspects of possession and the totally deserted town made this a great and creepy tale. It got preachy at times and the backstory was a bit drawn out, but I still liked this a lot more than I thought I would.
This was subtitled: The Last Castle Rock Story, and King definitely wrote it with that intention. I really enjoyed the slow build to a MAJOR bang finish. The huge cast of characters got a little confusing at times and the final showdown was super stupid. Other than that, this novel was fantastic and absolutely chaotic (in a good way).
King teamed up with Peter Straub to write this epic adventure about young Jack Sawyer who is in search of the mythic Talisman to help his dying mother. Concept, story, delivery, characters, setting: killer. All amazing. The antagonist is great and there are even some “Dark Tower” nods too. This only falls so low because it gets drawn out a bit at times.
31: “Black House” – 625 pages; 2001; 4/5
The sequel to “The Talisman,” again written with Peter Straub. The sequel beats out its predecessor because the novel is so dark and disturbing, and I got super excited when all the blatant “Dark Tower” ties were said. The novel falls to 31 because the narration at points is like a flyover. I had to force myself through the first 70 pages, but beyond that… WOW.
Written as Richard Bachman, this is the sister-novel to “Desperation.” The character names are all the same, but instead of the desert, we’re in perfect suburbia Ohio. Tak is our villain again, but the way he torments the protagonists in “Regulators” is just so damn cool.
King wrote a giant masterpiece here. Drop a semi-permeable dome over a small Maine town and see what happens. Shit hits the fan, as the saying goes. This novel is great in so many ways but falls here because the ending was just… just lame. If King could have put a better finish, this one would be higher.
28: “Firestarter” – 428 pages; 1980; 4/5
I really enjoyed this little chase story about a young girl and her father, both with powers, being chased by a secret government agency, The Shop. This story is intense for the most part and an awesome concept. It falls a bit due to some overly wordy explanations and a middle section that felt like it needed a push.
A man gets into a tragic car accident and is in a coma for five years. When he wakes up he discovers he has precognitive abilities. This novel was intense and extremely well written with great characters and a gripping story. There were some slow bits, but I loved this tragic tale. The politics are a solid aspect of the novel too.
This collection of 14 short stories is amazing. There were very few, if any, duds. All 14 were creepy and so good. We even got a mini Roland story and another tale, the title story, was about another “Dark Tower” character.
25: “Cujo” – 319 pages; 1981; 4/5
“Cujo” is about… well you know, who doesn’t know? Cujo is a good boy. This novel was surprisingly good for such a simple concept. The terror and realism in this novel make it extra chilling and the way King connects you to the characters makes it extra easy to become invested. That ending turned on the water works.
The first novel in the Bill Hodges Trilogy was fantastic. I fell in love with this novel within the first 10 pages. King wrote possibly one of his best villains ever and an amazing hero too. The story was fast paced and kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time.
23: “Night Shift” – 326 pages; 1977; 4/5
King’s first crack at a short story collection is his best. I think there were only one or two stories I didn’t enjoy. Aside from those, the collection was incredible. We got a prequel to “The Stand” as well as a prequel AND sequel to “Salem’s Lot.” King even managed to make me ball my eyes out with a 12-page story.
22: “Christine” – 471 pages; 1983; 4/5
This haunting coming of age story about a very strange love triangle was a lot better than the concept originally seems. A killer car… must be a joke, right? Oh no, Christine is quite chilling, and it is truly a great read.
The start of “The Dark Tower” saga was great. This quick and easy read gets you instantly sucked into the greatest literary series of all time. I was hooked from the famous opening line: “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.”
The sequel to “The Shining” was the perfect way to follow up the 1975 novel almost 40 years later. We get to see how Danny is as an adult, can you say nostalgia? This novel was beautiful in every way. King was able to make it original and touch on important aspects from its predecessor.
A Bachman book, this story is about a dystopia where teen boys must walk until they drop… and when they drop, they are shot. This novel is dark and suspenseful yet beautiful at the same time. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Great characters, great concept, well executed, and some nice twists too.
18: “Carrie” – 199 pages; 1974; 5/5
King’s first novel is a tragic tale about an awkward high school girl who discovers she has telekinetic abilities. This novel is so well written, and the way King subtly hints and mentions the ending throughout the novel was very clever and he still manages to amaze you once you get there.
This tragic tale about a man wrongly accused of murder and the guards in charge of watching him while on death row. The guards soon discover this man is very special. Originally released as a serial novel (one part each month for six months), this novel is beautiful. I’m sure you have seen the movie, but trust me, the book is better.
16: “Misery” – 338 pages; 1987; 5/5
Another novel that has an incredible film adaptation. This dark and disturbing novel is every author’s worst nightmare and is guaranteed to give you the creeps. Annie Wilkes “rescues” famous author Paul Sheldon from a car accident. To this day, 4 years later, this book still creeps me out.
15: “Joyland” – 300 pages; 2013; 5/5
This beautiful noir novel is about a college student who spends his summer, and then the following semester, working at an amusement park and attempting to solve a murder at the same time. King wrote this for Hard Case Crime and it is truly a work of art. I personally have never related to a character more than Devin Jones and this novel made me cry like a baby. I’ve said it already, but it is truly beautiful.
King wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman for a while, and that was the inspiration for this dark and violent novel. An author’s pseudonym comes to life and is on the hunt for its creator. I tore through this novel. It is fast paced, chilling, violent, and a fun read. People dislike this story because it gets a bit barbaric at times, but that is part of the appeal for me.
13: “Rage” – 124 pages; 1977; 5/5
Probably King’s most controversial novel, “Rage,” written under the Richard Bachman name, is about a boy who kills two teachers and holds a classroom full of students hostage. Understandably, King removed this novel from publication. As screwed up as the concept is, this novel and the story are actually really good. If you can get your hands on it, give it a read.
The finale of “The Dark Tower” series was everything a Tower Junkie could have asked for. It was truly an incredible and tragic wrap to an amazing series. Some people complain about the ending, but really it was the only way to end the story and if you look back, King hinted at it pretty early on. I cried multiple times throughout this giant and I loved every word of it.
The second installment in “The Dark Tower” series is where Roland really starts to get his ka-tet together and this is where the saga starts to get really good. The way King described certain aspects of this novel was truly incredible. Also, this is the book where we get to meet my all-time favorite King character: Eddie Dean.
A collection of four absolutely beautiful novellas. “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” “Apt Pupil,” “The Body” and “The Breathing Method.” All four of these stories are truly incredible. Three of which have been turned into amazing films, “Shawshank Redemption,” “Stand By Me” and “Apt Pupil.” The realism in these stories make them especially good.
The third, and my favorite installment in “The Dark Tower” series is where the journey to the Tower truly starts. The ka-tet is whole, and the journey rolls on. This novel is intense from the beginning and it explains a lot of the background info the first two novels were missing. From start to finish, “The Waste Lands” is a roller coaster.
King’s 3rd novel is creepy as hell. Jack Torrance, his son and his wife, stay alone in the Overlook Hotel in Sidewinder, Colorado during the winter months to take care of the place. The hotel is alive with past spirits and its haunting. Seriously this novel is so good. A slow build to a big bang, but the entirety is filled with creepiness that gives you permanent goosebumps.
7: “Salems Lot” – 478 pages; 1975; 5/5
King’s take on vampires is terrifying. He slowly builds the story and makes you feel like you are a part of the little Maine town, then slowly turns the place into Hell. It is truly incredible how subtly he does this and how good it is. Barlow is a great villain and Ben Mears is an awesome protagonist.
6: “11/22/63” – 842 pages; 2011; 5/5
A man goes back in time to stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The research, time and effort King put into this one is truly admirable, and it shows throughout the story. With such a singular topic, he somehow managed to add other plot developments that made the story roll along at a perfect pace. This is a masterpiece… much like the next 5 novels you will see.
5: “Insomnia” – 787 pages; 1994; 5/5
This giant novel is pretty much a “Dark Tower” novel that takes place in Derry and has a lot of “IT” mentions. It is truly a work of art. King went all in on this one and I absolutely adored it. I cried like a little baby at the end… no shame. Read my review to see how much I loved this one.
4: “Duma Key” – 609 pages; 2008; 5/5
Okay, this novel is amazing. After reading this I really felt like it made me a better person. Following along with Edgar Freemantle as he slowly reinvents himself was truly heartwarming. The way King slowly and easily inserts creepy and mysterious elements were amazing. Another tear jerker, “Duma Key” is one of those books that leaves a lasting impression.
3: “The Stand” – 1153 pages; 1978; 5/5
King’s longest and most epic novel is… well its EPIC. A virus known as Captain Tripps wipes out most of the population and the remaining people are split into two factions. A good vs evil story sprawled out across over 1000 pages of pure awesomeness. We are also introduced to the ultimate King bad-guy, Randall Flagg. This book has everything. The page count may seem daunting, but its worth it.
2: “IT” – 1138 pages; 1986; 5/5
King’s scariest novel to date, about a shape-shifting clown who terrorized a group of kids in Derry Maine is an amazing story. This group of kids, The Losers Club, stand up to the entity as kids and again as adults. The way King writes this novel, jumping from 1958 to 1986 is masterful. Not only is this story amazing, but it will scare the crap out of you too.
A seemingly perfect family moves into a new house and behind their new home, lies an ancient Indian burial ground where if the dead are buried there, they will come back. This novel is terrifying, beautiful, tragic, and amazing all wrapped into one. This is the perfect novel. The five previously mentioned novels have everything, and this one has everything… but better. I truly love this novel. It moved me in ways I didn’t think previously possible.
As a whole, “The Dark Tower” series belong here, at #1, but because I did each novel individually, its not. It is truly the greatest literary series ever created. “The Dark Tower” is known as King’s magnum opus and the center of his storybook universe.
Anyway, if you made it here, I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading my opinions and I hope you agree, but if you don’t, that’s fine, everyone feels differently, everyone sees things and interprets things differently. That is the true beauty of books. Again, thanks for reading and leave some comments!