Are you ready to float with me on one of those strange kind of reviews where I go off the beaten path a bit? Yep, IT, the King classic about seven childhood friends haunted by a interdimensional spider clown who vow to meet when the creature would inevitably would return in their hometown of Derry, Maine. So between Savior and I we covered It (1990) , It (2017) , and IT Chapter Two (Review) but neither of us covered the book until now. All seriousness, IT is a 1,163 page novel so it takes a bit of time to get through and you shouldn’t read this unless you are really in it for the long haul.
My biggest question going in was which iteration was the closest: the quirky melodrama of the 90’s, the super dark fright fest of 2017, or the WTF extravaganza of Chapter Two? Well, honestly all 3 but mostly the 90’s and Chapter Two are the closest in tone. I imagined Pennywise being way more Tim Curry than Bill Skarsgard; your personal fear of clowns weighs heavy on how much this book will freak you out. There’s a lot of different shapes Pennywise takes in the book than the movies but for the most part, they are B movie monsters ( he basically becomes mini Rhodan at one point as well as a mummy, werewolf, and a fucking dog at one point). Honestly, if I had to sum the book up, it’s a B movie epic combined with a drama.
For positives, the book is well written and you really do care about the characters. The first chunk of this book, about 300 pages, is actually pretty strong and Georgie’s Death is a well done intro. The book is strongest as a coming of age story and when it’s dealing with the trauma the adults must face going forward. As a horror story, this book is pretty damn subjective, even more so than most as I said before. Either you’ll shit your pants from fear or piss your pants laughing.
For the negatives, there’s 3 that royally kill the book. First, as I’m sure you’d surmise by the page count, this book is padded to hell. Easily there’s 300 pages that can be chopped out and not really make any difference.. Secondly, the last act, flipping constantly back and forth is jarring as hell; quite a few times I lost track of what was past and present. The last is the actual finale which just feels both anticlimactic but also insanely over the top at the same time. With this, I’m kinda obligated to mention the infamous Chud ritual towards the end of the kid half; it is pretty WTF, its as bad as you’ve heard, and I feel like King was on some pretty deep drugs during the Chud/ turtle moments- you’ve been warned.
So, I’m going to say IT isn’t a terrible book but holy shit its overrated much like The Shining . I’m disappointed but I can’t say its far from the worst books I’ve read. I can’t recommend reading it unless you are a very dedicated reader, super fan of the movies, or like myself, a writer studying the craft; for most of us, stick to the movies. May the gaming gods bring you glory.
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