Jean, 39, lover of sci-fi, horror and fantasy, reader of comic books, conqueror of genre fiction.
This book has lately gained a rather favorable reputation, mostly because of its ties to the Dark Tower series. King himself named it among the ones he "tried to hard" with in On Writing, along with Rose Madder, a personal favorite of mine though undeniable more poorly written than his usual, still shorter and wildly imaginative. Insomnia has one of those two virtues: Wildly imaginative. Unfortunately, the length works against it. While it tries to ever evolve and give us new things to think about at a decent pace, it does tend to drag, especially in the first third. There's an enormous chunk of exposition right in the middle of the book--seriously, I read and read, and put it down for a couple of months, and still had quite a bit to read of the same scene when I again picked it up. Characters you think will come to the forefront, like Helen, stay frustratingly elusive. and one can say the same for the villain--or, one of the two villains--Ed, who seems strangely underdeveloped, and when he does give him something, tries to build on the character, it feels like he's trying to elicit too much sympathy for someone who beats his wife so badly she can barely stand.When it comes down to it, my biggest complaint was that it lacked a sort of... magic that King's other works have. The story was there, the characters were there, but the spark his prose usually ignites was not. Considering a very promising premise and sympathetic characters, it's a shame. The end is a killer though. If only he managed that level of emotion throughout the entire book!