A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population Stephen King’s apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published.
A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world’s population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge—Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious “Dark Man,” who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them—and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.
The Stand took me 18 days to finish. I started it on October 1st and finished it on the 18th. Let me tell you that this was mentally exhausting as my anxiety went through the roof for these main characters. The stand is over 1100 pages and a hell of a ride.
You start out with a man escaping a testing facility. He thinks that he has avoided catching the disease but sadly he has it and takes off across the country infecting his wife and child along with the entire country. Some are immune though and as the disease spreads more and more they start to have dreams. They dream of Mother Abigail and The Dark Man. Some are drawn to Mother Abigail while others go to the dark man and his chaos.
Throughout this story you get to see so many characters and their stories, but sadly you end up down to 4-8 main characters going back and forth. What fascinated me the most was the first of the book where king goes through and describes the disease and how it spreads. He shows how people have infected each other and how they die. He then goes on to the immune showing that even if they survived some of them would die. He showed that with no doctors and people going chaotic, there were still some who were going to die. I was amazed at the detail as he went through all of these people showing their stories, it showed how bad the world had gotten in the face of disease and no law or government.
Now onto the Characters, i won’t go into detail about whether or not they die. This is spoiler free but i wanted to give a little info on each one.
Mother Abigail – A 108 year old woman who has faith in God beyond anyone i have ever met. She was Gods servant through and through. She lead the group in Boulder, Colorado and guided them through the hardships they faced. She’s a true saint in my Eyes.
The Dark Man – The Dark Man is basically Satans Puppet. He wants to have everyone bow down and serve him or they die where they stand. He is the type to enjoy watching the world burn.
Nick – A Deaf man who finds a place in Boulder and a leadership position he didn’t expect. He is the leader they all need with his common sense approach to decisions the group faces.
Tom Cullen – Tom is special. (I believe Tom is Retarded, not sure. I don’t think the book ever said). Everyone underestimates Tom and his ability to get things done. Tom is an amazing character and towards the end he is one of my favorite. He has a heart of Gold and is just amazing. His faith in God never gave out.
Frannie – Frannie is a young girl from Maine who finding out she’s pregnant as the plague begins is left alone after her parents both pass. For being so young and pregnant Frannie pulls no punches and says what she believes right or wrong.
Harold – I genuinely dislike him throughout the entire book. Harold lives in the same town as Frannie and they set off to hopefully find surviors. He thinks because he loves Frannie he has some sort of control over her, that she belongs to him.
Stu – Stu is just a good ole Texas guy that has somehow found himself among survivors, immune no less. He is hard headed and wants somewhere safe. He does what needs to be done and takes charge when needed. The world may have fallen apart but it put Stu together.
Larry – Larry was a musician in the world before, but now he finds himself alone after the plague has taken everyone around him. Larry has always been told he takes and never gives anything. He uses people for everything there worth and then some. I personally hated watching him beat himself up. He was a hero.
Glen – Glen is a sociologist that helps the group gain order and he knows how to work a crowd. He helps the others where needed to get them back to a somewhat normal society. He gives them Guidance like Mother Abigail, but from more of a psychological point of view rather than faith.
Trashcan Man – He has somewhat of a mental problem, you can tell from his chapters. When he was young he set fire to things eventually burning down a church and being sent away where he received shock treatments that did his mind in worse.
Naide – She drove me nuts throughout the whole book. She has had dreams since she was young saying she should stay pure. She was reserved for the dark man. She is probably the stupidest character I have read about. Every Decision and thing she did was against what she wanted, but she did it anyway.
I fell in love with some of the characters. They turned out to be the unsung hero’s we needed. The whole book is Good vs Evil, God vs Satan. You had people who’s faith was inspiring and they never faulted, even in the face of death. You see the battle between them and it is teeth chattering anxiety wondering who will prevail.
I gave this 4.5 instead of 5 because of one aspect and I don’t see it as a spoiler but some do, so skip this paragraph. There is the whole aspect of being pure for the dark man and throughout the book it just became a bit obsessive and repetitive. I get why it was in the book, but to get that repetitive and have to read about it over and over became really annoying.
There are a bunch of triggers for this book that I will list below at the end of the review. This isn’t a light read by any means, it is super dark and chaotic at times. There are a few descriptive scenes of murder, dead bodies, suicide and rape. So I highly recommend going into this one cautious if you don’t want to read about these topics.
Overall I wasn’t expecting this one to be a favorite, but it is. I went into it knowing nothing more than it was about the super-flu and the majority of the population dying. I finding that i love apocalyptic books and the world falling apart. There’s just a part of me that wants to see the good guys win and see their journey doing it. Kings writing and explaining everything about the disease made it come all together. At the beginning i thought this is so long this could easily be shortened, but by the end it all had a purpose and place in the story. King truly is the King.