Length: 373 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Jamie Morton was only six years old when he first met Charles Jacobs, the new Reverand of the church in the little town of Harlow. Handsome, charismatic, and warm, Jacobs easily gained the attention of all the young women in town. And his wife had the same effect on the young boys of Harlow. Jacobs and his family were loved by everyone, and he had a special bond with Jamie, one that was made stronger through the experiments with electricity that they carried out in his workshop. But everything changed the day a horrific accident claimed the lives of Jacobs’ wife and child. The preacher who’d once spoke of heaven and peace shunned God. And he was sent away from the town by its shocked residents.
Jamie has his own struggles and demons when he meets Jacobs years later. He’s addicted to heroin and is stranded and homeless – a price he paid for being a rock and roll guitarist with a growing addiction. But Jacobs is nothing like the Reverand he’d met. He’s a showman at a carnival, creating portraits of lightening. And yet, he helps Jamie, an action that has consequences for years to come. And Jamie discovers that his revival has a price, one that might cost him more than he could ever afford. But pay it he must… because for Jamie, there is no escape.
It isn’t easy to review Revival, simply because it evokes so many emotions, not all of them good. But as a whole package, it is a really good book. It’s written in the first person and is something of a mix between a coming of age story and a diary. I don’t often care for that, but this book managed to get past that prejudice without even trying. It moves back and forth between the present and past, giving you glimpses of things that are yet to unfold. The irritating part is that a lot of the book is simply the telling of Jamie’s adolescence, things that might make you say, “Okay, move on. Get back to the story.”
And yet, the book keeps you hooked.
You can’t help but turn the pages, lapping up the details of Jamie’s life. The thing is that you know something is going to happen to him, something that he hints at all along; and you can tell that every little bit of his life leads to that point. So you keep going. Most of the book is harmless enough, but there are these small sections that sneak up on you and make you cringe. And then, of course, there’s the conclusion.
Revival has one of the most bizarre conclusions I’ve ever read. It isn’t just that it is scary – that it definitely is – but it is a different kind of scary. King’s writing paints an excessively vivid image, one that plays out right in front of you. And the description, the words, that image, gets right under your skin. I felt my neck tingle with discomfort and I had that image warping everything I saw or heard for days after. Then there’s that thought that you’re stuck with – what if it’s true? And that is a painful question to ponder.
In short, Revival is calm for the most part, but it is the calm before the storm. And the storm will leave you fumbling to make sense of what happened, and hoping that you’ll get over it. I would recommend Revival to anyone who likes Stephen King – you will probably love it – and anyone who likes supernatural/psychological thrillers. And if you have never read King’s work before, Revival is a great place to begin. But, be prepared to become a junkie for his books – like I ended up becoming!