Book Review: “The Mist”

This week was a doozy for me! Monday started the final week of my semester (which is 16 weeks of school shoved into 8 weeks of time), and I had to complete the final exams and essays for these three classes. My Sociology class had me doing a final exam that had 7 “short essay” questions, my Astronomy final forced me to do algebra (which is one of my biggest weaknesses!), and my English class saw me spend all week writing a 20-page paper analyzing Sophocles’ play Antigone. I feel super accomplished that I got it all done today – one day ahead of time – but these assignments took up the bulk of my week. I was up until about midnight last night trying to make my way through the last 100 pages of Stephen King’s “The Mist” so I could post my review today, and stay on track with my “one book per week” challenge.

Now that I’m done complaining…

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“The Mist” is a survival story of people facing supernatural forces that are bent on not only destruction, but mass extinction of the human race. The story begins following a man – David – as he heads to the local grocery store of his small town in Maine after a huge summer storm. David and his son Billy arrive in the store just with a huge, eerie fog comes rolling into town – a fog that isn’t really a fog at all. David, Billy and about 70 townspeople get locked down in the store, and fight for survival as unnatural forces (tentacled monsters, prehistoric bugs and birds) come out of the mist and kill everyone they come into contact with. David fights to save his five-year-old son, and has to try to figure out how to get away when going outside means certain death.

I might be jaded from obsessively watching the (much better) survival story “The Walking Dead,” but I found “The Mist” to be disjointed, boring and a little confusing. The pages turned quickly, but I never felt there was really a climax to the story, and the everlasting “tension” wasn’t really all that exciting. I felt the lack of excitement was hidden behind lots of foul language and bloody violence. I didn’t think the story was scary at any point, and the lack of a solid ending enraged me (seriously – it’s such a cop out to just leave the ending wide open for the reader’s interpretation like that). Sorry, Mr. King, but I just feel like this book was a waste of my time, and not a very good introduction to Stephen King books.

The whole time I was reading the book, I kept thinking King was just pulling ideas out of a hat and adding them into his story. First it’s the scary mist that is intimidating – then suddenly it’s an octopus? That’s where my “suspended belief” turned into eye rolling, and from then on the creatures coming out of the mist were laughable rather than terrifying. King did a great job with the characterization of the different people in his book – they felt very human and multidimensional, but most of them weren’t very likable. At the end of the book, I should have been worrying about their fates – instead I was just glad it was over.

Well… there had to be a time when I didn’t enjoy the chosen reading, and this was the week. My apologies to the Stephen King fans out there, but I’m not impressed. Maybe one day when I have the time I’ll pick up one of his more celebrated novels, but for now, King will have to wait. Hopefully the other books in our Halloween theme for October will get me more into the Halloween spirit!

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Book Review: “The Mist”

  1. Haley

    I did not hate this one but this being the third of his books I’ve read, I probably will never pick up another. The Mist was definitely better than IT or Salem’s Lot but that probably has to do with the length. Being a novella, The Mist didn’t have the same ADHD quality the others did. King goes on and on about things and people that don’t propel the plot in the least. If you’re going to get me invested in a character that much, then shouldn’t he have some sort of change or growth? I don’t need to know their entire backstory if they are just going to deliver one line or be cannon fodder. Why say anything at all about the army guys? They weren’t necessary.

    I’ve already seen the movie (MUCH better ending) and had a preconceived idea of what the monsters looked like but King really did take you out of it and make them less scary by comparing them to birds and octopus so that’s what I see. I also hate little things like the brand names that are no longer active… I really enjoy his movies but do not see the hype over his books.

    • So glad I wasn’t the only one who didn’t like it! Like you, I felt he spent a ridiculous amount of time creating a story that really could have been explained in about half the words.

      I do like the movies, but I think maybe it’s because the directors take some creative license and change some of the unnecessary stuff… guess I’ll have to watch this movie and see how I feel about it!

      Thanks for your comments! I think you hit the nail on the head with what you had to say!!

  2. Kathleen Werner

    I can’t believe this was written by the same person who wrote THE SHINING and THE STAND. This book felt like the screenplay for a bad 50’s monster movie to me. It was a tough act to follow FRANKENSTEIN, but Mr. King could have done better.

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