Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King and Owen King (2017)

Review by CJ

Page count:
718 [including Authors’ Note]




The women of the world are falling asleep and not waking up. Instead they grow a cocoon and fly into a zombie-like rage, killing anyone who tries to remove the wrapping.

There is one woman though who can awaken after sleep. It falls to the men of Dooling, West Virginia to work out what answers this Evie Black may hold to awaken their sleeping beauties.

Sleeping Beauties perfectly threads together aspects from the horror, fantasy and science fiction genres, while managing to not fit snugly into any of them. The Kings have created a brilliant literary exploration of what the world would be like if the genders were separated.

The characters in Sleeping Beauties are a good representation of society’s archetypes. There are people who are just trying to get by, some who do bad things but aren’t inherently evil, people who are just downright rotten, and ordinary people doing the extraordinary to survive and help others. They’re not all likeable but they all feel real and like people you may actually know in the real world.

I loved the story of Sleeping Beauties. It’s like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde but for the whole world. And if Mr Hyde had some redeeming aspects. The separation of the sexes brings some interesting questions to head and the way they play out in Sleeping Beauties is not always how I would have expected.

The fusion of Stephen King’s writing style with Owen King’s writing style makes for an interesting read. Having read work from both authors, I feel it’s fair to say that their writing styles are quite different. Yet in Sleeping Beauties they work together wonderfully to create an epic story, delightfully realistic characters and a world that is both brutal and beautiful.

Sleeping Beauties is a long novel but it never feels padded or bloated. If every story should be long enough to tell its tale and no longer, then Sleeping Beauties is the just porridge that’s just right. Highly recommended for fans of fantasy and horror or readers who just love a good story and don’t mind investing a bit of time.



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