The Long Walk by Stephen King seriously impressed me. Every time I pick up a book by Stephen King, some piece of the book always reiterates why he is basically the storytelling master. The Long Walk is absolutely no exception. You guys – this book is brilliant.
Brilliant it might be, but it also redefines the word bleak. It is a dystopian, so that is mostly to be expected. However – with most dystopians circulating these days, there is some form of hope. There is someone fighting for a cause they believe is right – readers devour the pages in hopes of seeing the protagonist succeed.
In this book, you can forget about it. Just check out the synopsis:
On the first day of May, 100 teenage boys meet for a race known as “The Long Walk”. If you break the rules, you get three warnings. If you exceed your limit, what happens is absolutely terrifying.
The book never pretends to be something it isn’t. We meet all these teenage boys – including Garraty, the MC – and we know from the beginning that most (if not all) of them will die. This is where the Stephen King magic touch comes in – because who would really want to read a book like this? Why get to know all these characters knowing they will die? Only one author I can think of could ever make me want to pick this book up.
From page one, I couldn’t put it down. Every single person introduced in the story is compelling – all of them in completely different ways. I was so torn when I found myself caring for some of them, because I knew I’d most likely be watching them die at some point. As the pages kept turning and I watched a hundred pairs of shoes start to fall apart and starvation and exhaustion set in – I was riveted. The rules of the walk say that it will only end when one person is left – so who was that person going to be? Or was there going to be a twist of some kind saving more than one of the boys?
If you know Stephen King, you know things are never as simple as they seem. The end will surprise you.
So, even though the entire book is overwhelmed with hopelessness, pain, exhaustion and cruelty – I can’t help but recommend you pick it up. It is storytelling at its very best, and is definitely a book I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.