Revival

Revival

3.6 226
by Stephen King, David Morse
     
 

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A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church

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Overview

A dark and electrifying novel about addiction, fanaticism, and what might exist on the other side of life.

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of thirteen, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Audio
02/02/2015
King’s new thriller begins in Maine the summer of 1962, when its narrator, Jamie Morton, at age six, meets a charismatic young minister named Charles Jacobs, who soon becomes something of a mentor. Years later, as Jamie pursues a career as an itinerant rock musician, he crosses paths with Jacobs, who is now working his way from carnival huckster to wealthy faith healer and has developed an obsession with the curative powers of electricity. Jacobs, aged, ill, and more than a little crazed, convinces a skeptical but curious Jaime to assist him in his ultimate experiment with a “secret” form of electricity that he believes will allow him to “tap into the secrets of the universe.” Screen actor Morse (The Green Mile) has a natural, down-to-earth delivery. His middle-aged Jamie narrates with a soft, knowing yet wistful voice as he recalls the happier days of smalltown life, his first paid job as a musician, his first romance. We hear his hope that Jacobs’s “secret electricity” will heal his addiction to heroin, and the fear and uncertainty prompted by the experiment’s nightmarish effects. Morse’s Jacobs, who initially sounds bright and witty and filled with charm, becomes a man distracted and unemotional. By the novel’s end, age and infirmity have slurred his speech. A Scribner hardcover. (Nov.)
Library Journal - Audio
04/01/2015
When the new preacher, Rev. Charles Jacobs, comes to a small Maine town, six-year-old Jaimie Morton is the first to meet him. Their relationship will span decades and define much of Jaimie's life. King's juvenile characters and family relationships are always well defined, and the early chapters set during Jaime's childhood are especially compelling. The later parts incorporate King's love of music and revisit his recurring themes of obsession, mortality, and life after death. A chilling conclusion finishes off another fine tale, narrated in an effective performance by David Morse. VERDICT King fans will be delighted, and, despite supernatural elements, those who think of King as just a horror writer will be pleasantly surprised. ["King fans will rejoice that the horror master is back in fine form," read the starred review of the Scribner hc, LJ 10/15/14.]—Janet Martin, Southern Pines P.L., NC
The New York Times Book Review - Danielle Trussoni
Revival is pure Stephen King. Like many of King's novels, it is filled with cultural allusions both high and low: In addition to the Bible and Frankenstein, there are references to Thomas Edison's work at Menlo Park, Dan Brown, The X Files, the "Forbidden Books" (that is, grimoires banned and burned by the Catholic Church) and particularly Ludvig Prinn's The Mysteries of the Worm…As the Kingian references pile up, and become layered into the events of the fictional world, you fall deeper and deeper under the story's spell, almost believing that Jamie's nightmarish experiences actually happened…Reading Revival is experiencing a master storyteller having the time of his life. All of his favorite fictional elements are at play—small-town Maine, the supernatural, the evil genius, the obsessive addict, the power of belief to transform a life.
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
…tenderly realistic despite its roots in horror and science fiction…Revival…finds [King] writing with the infectious glee that has always been at the heart of his popular success…[it] is a well-built book that unfolds on a big canvas…Revival winds up with the idea that to be human, you must know what it is to be inhuman—and to know that only this thin partition separates that horror from ordinary life. So it's not just a book that delivers its share of jolts and then lets the reader walk away unscathed. Older and wiser each time he writes, Mr. King has moved on from the physical fear that haunted him after he was struck by a van while out walking to a more metaphysical, universal terror. He writes about things so inevitable that he speaks to us all.
Associated Press Staff
“King fans won’t find anything to complain about here. At just over 400 pages it’s one of his quicker reads and any hint of the supernatural is blended with tender moments that ground the characters….If this is your first King novel, it’s not a bad choice. You don’t need to know anything about his oeuvre coming in, and if you like the writing style, there are dozens of other King books you’ll probably enjoy.”
The New York Times
Revival finds King writing with the infectious glee that has always been at the heart of his popular success… Older and wiser each time he writes, Mr. King has moved on from the physical fear that haunted him after he was struck by a van while out walking to a more metaphysical, universal terror. He writes about things so inevitable that he speaks to us all.”
Washington Post
“Stephen King’s splendid new novel offers the atavistic pleasure of drawing closer to a campfire in the dark to hear a tale recounted by someone who knows exactly how to make every listener’s flesh crawl."
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Revival is dark, disquieting and pretty horrifying, revealing a mind (the narrator’s, for sure; King’s, perhaps) searching for answers to life’s age-old questions about life and death.”
New York Daily News
Revival is among King’s very best…tender, moving and terrifying.”
USA Today
“Worshippers at the Universal Church of Stephen King have a lot to rejoice about with his latest literary sermon. Revival is a dark and haunting tale about old-time religion and one man's search for a mythic ‘secret electricity.’ At the same time it's an emotional and spectacular coming-of-age tale that spans 50 years of horrific tragedy and human redemption… Revival is often heartfelt, as characters deal with painful loss, and the author invests you wholly in the separate journeys of Jamie and Charlie as they arrive at their inevitable crossroads and a voltaic endgame. Say hallelujah, for the King has risen to the occasion once again.”
Miami Herald
“This is King’s darkest novel in quite a while… King retains his aw-shucks accessibility and writes about addiction and shattered bones with the insight of personal experience… Revival is a wrestling match between faith and science, and watching King throw himself into that eternal theological debate within the context of a horror novel is fascinating. This is the sort of book he couldn’t have written when he was younger; it’s the work of someone who has lived a long life and experienced its highs and lows.”
Raleigh News and Observer
“It’s a good, scary story, but it’s so much more. Every page is a treasure trove of detail about daily life in America, in the 1960s or whatever decade King’s story lights on. There are tiny stories within stories, and headlines, road signs, soapsuds, state fairs, storefronts … It’s pure poetry.”
Boston Herald
Revival is easily his best work in years…fresh…an excellent, simply written story…filled with suspense and curiosity, it’s a one-day read for King fans.”
Pittsburgh Post Gazette
“As with most of his work Mr. King excels at capturing the small moments of the real world, the things that are human and common to everyone. This is a world we all know and recognize. It makes the darkness that lies just beyond our perception seem more real as well.”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“All of the elements that have made King the preeminent American horror author come alive in this ultra-creepy tale of love, loss, evil and electricity…. Riveting.”
Tampa Bay Times
Revival buzzes with allusions to horror classics….Revival gives familiar themes—the relationship between science and religion, the fine line between grief and madness—new power. It’s King in electrifyingly fine form.”
New York Times Book Review
“As the Kingian references pile up, and become layered into the events of the fictional world, you fall deeper and deeper under the story’s spell, almost believing that Jamie’s nightmarish experiences actually happened…reading Revival is experiencing a master storyteller having the time of his life. All of his favorite elements are at play – small town Maine, the supernatural, the evil genius, the obsessive addict, the power of belief to transform a life…it is fun to map it all out, to experience King’s mind at work.”
People
“A fresh adrenaline rush of terror from Stephen King…Maine, rock and roll, engaging characters and a pounding build to a grisly end – this is vintage King.”
Library Journal
★ 10/15/2014
King's latest (after Doctor Sleep) is narrated by Jamie Morton, who is six years old when he meets Rev. Charles Jacobs. New to Harlow, ME, Jacobs, along with his pretty young wife and toddler, quickly become the local attraction. Jamie and his family discover that Jacobs has a love of electricity and is quite ingenious with his inventions. Soon, though, tragedy strikes the reverend, and the losses he endures cause him to give a sermon that gets him fired from the ministry and banished from town. Years later, Jamie, now in his 30s and addicted to heroin, meets Jacobs again. Noticing how Jacobs has changed, Jamie worries about the man's constant tinkering with what Jacobs calls "secret electricity." Jacobs begins to heal people using his knowledge of electricity, but Jamie finds that there are terrible side effects. VERDICT King (The Stand) fans will rejoice that the horror master is back in fine form. While there are fewer characters than in many of his other tomes, each character is well drawn and worth following. The ending is exquisitely horrific and will leave the reader hoping this is only a work of fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 5/19/14.]—Jason L. Steagall, Gateway Technical Coll. Lib., Elkhorn, WI
Kirkus Reviews
2014-10-02
In his second novel of 2014 (the other being Mr. Mercedes), veteran yarn spinner King continues to point out the unspeakably spooky weirdness that lies on the fringes of ordinary life. Think of two central meanings of the title—a religious awakening and bringing someone back to life—and you'll have King's latest in a nuthouse. Beg pardon, nutshell, though of course it's madness that motivates all his most memorable characters. In this instance, a preacher arrives in a small New England town—always a small New England town—with an attractive wife and small child. Soon enough, bad things happen: "The woman had a dripping bundle clasped to her breast with one arm. One arm was all Patsy Jacobs could use, because the other had been torn off at the elbow." And soon enough, the good reverend, broken by life, is off to other things, while our protagonist drinks deep of the choppy waters of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. "My belief had ended," Jamie Morton says, simply—that is, until Rev. Jacobs turns up in his life again, after having spent time at the horrifying North Carolina amusement park that is Joyland (for which see King's 2013 novel of the same name) and mastered not just the carney's trade, but also the mysterious workings of "secret electricity." Well, as Victor Frankenstein learned, electricity can sometimes get away from a fellow, and though young Jamie pleads with the bereaved pastor to get himself back on the good foot ("The newspapers would call you Josef Mengele." "Does anyone call a neurosurgeon Josef Mengele just because he loses some of his patients?"), once it sets to crackling, the secret electricity can't be put back into the bottle. Faith healing run amok: It's a theme that's exercised King since Carrie, and though this latest is less outright scary and more talky than that early touchstone, it compares well. No one does psychological terror better than King. Another spine-tingling pleasure for his fans.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442372764
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date:
11/11/2014
Edition description:
Unabridged
Pages:
520
Sales rank:
346,191
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 6.00(h) x 1.20(d)

Meet the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Drunken Fireworks, Finders Keepers, Revival, Mr. Mercedes, Doctor Sleep, and Under the Dome. His novel 11/22/63, adapted as a 2016 series on Hulu starring James Franco, was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. King is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and the 2014 National Medal of Arts. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Bangor, Maine
Date of Birth:
September 21, 1947
Place of Birth:
Portland, Maine
Education:
B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970
Website:
http://www.stephenking.com

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Revival 3.6 out of 5 based on 6 ratings. 226 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stephen King has been my favorite author for over 2 decades. I've read just about everything he's published, some novels multiple times. I've been wanting to read 'Revival' since I read a summary of it last spring. I purchased this the day it was published and before long I was totally engrossed in its story. The book starts by making the reader care about the characters and creates a need to know where their stories will lead. Unfortunately, the last few chapters become tedious and the ending feels thrown together. Almost like SK had something different in mind, but changed his mind at the last minute and just came up with this instead. I gave this novel 3 stars because (1) it's Stephen King and I'd read his grocery list if he published it and (2) the begining and middle of this story was just so well done. Bottom line: if you're an avid SK fan, give it a try just to say you did. Otherwise, skip this one.
JULIANN1 More than 1 year ago
This one was troubling, though perhaps not in the way King intended. As with so many others, I have been a fan forever, since 1981 and The Stand. While I think King's books are uneven, they are always a class act, and I would follow him anywhere. I was sure the reviews that gave the ending of Revival such a hard time were wrong this time, but having finished the book last night, I have to concur. Until the denouement, I loved the book and it's careful pacing. The great reveal at the end, however, was just sub-par. Not frightening, not fleshed out, not interesting, and certainly not convincing. I was hoping for something more Hieronymus Bosch—detailed and varied—instead of a sketch of a line of dead people not even brought into focus. I hate writing this. 98% of it was so good with great potential.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read every single word SK has written. This is the first time that I wanted to scream after finishing the book. The book starts with a promising and believable premise. I liked the characters and thought they were well developed. The story is interesting and compelling. But the ending was atrocious. It read like something my eleven year old might come up with. Completely ridculous and just awful. Can't really elaborate without revealing spoilers. It was like SK got stuck at the end and threw in some absurd idea from a bad dream. Very disappointing!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one wild ride! In the 60's I attended many tent revivals. Many times I've seen faith healing and was always surprised at the out come. I was a young child and was forced to attend. While reading this book I was once again a confused child praying that the devil didn't get me. Stephen King is the best and you're going to love this book!
hattyPG More than 1 year ago
I have read every book written by Stephen King and this is the first book that I can honestly say was disappointing. A terrible ending.
Turtlewoman1 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, and it flowed along nicely until the last couple chapters. The character development and dark humor are typical of King's writing style. I felt like I could really identify with the main character, Jamie. The Goodreads description states, "This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It's a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe." While I agree that Stephen King is a great American writer and should be considered as important and influential, if not more so in some cases, as many of the great classic writers in the English lit canon, but I hesitate to agree with the second half of the first sentence, namely that it contains the "most terrifying conclusion King has ever written". Yes, it was dark, and it was definitely creepy, but I felt that while I enjoyed it immensely, the ending didn't quite measure up to the terrifying conclusions of many of his previous works. As a huge King fan, I feel almost guilty saying this: It was creepy, but I kept waiting to be truly terrified and it didn't happen. Maybe I've just watched too many episodes of The Walking Dead so I'm not as easily terrified as I once was? I'm not sure... Don't get me wrong, it was a good book, especially if you're a King fan, but personally, I felt somewhat let down at the ending.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WTF2-great characters, great plot until it falls apart ....disappointing 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It started great, the middle was engrossing. We are all along for the ride to find what Jacobs has been seeking for 50+ years, with Jamie as our eyes. Then we get to the big reveal and it seems King gave in to his inner 13 year old.
chezwickNH More than 1 year ago
I didn't care for this book as much as I like Stephen King.
Triumvirate More than 1 year ago
I have read everything Mr. King has written and most but not all of his books are the best! I was really disappointed at the end of "Revival". He did such a good job developing the characters and the story. I was ready for an interesting and poignant ending to the story. Oh! The ending was so bad! It broke my heart to read the terrible hurried and pointless ending of the book! Stephen, why did you rush through the last few chapters and disappoint your loyal readers! Shame on you for ruining a very good book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts out interestingly and goes downhill quickly. If you insist on reading this, get it from the library. Disappointing plot, terrible, pointless ending. I've been a SK fan since I was 13, but his last few books have felt empty.
EdCas More than 1 year ago
I have read everything King has written this is OK at best. The protagonist was interesting but the antagonist was bland. To state it has the most terrifying ending is untrue. It was an H.P.Lovecraft story but in its defense easier to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is my least favorite Stephen King novel. It took forever to get to the real point of the story and the ending was ridiculous. Do not bother. I love Stephen King novels and have been reading them since he first came out. Don't read this one. Go back and re-read "The Stand".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sorry I purchased. Worst Steohen King book that I have read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Starts out well, then goes to total crap. Worst ever from SK. Struggled just to finish it, and only did because of the $ I spent.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Written in true Stephen King fashion, this is creeping horror. It starts a little slowly and kind of increases in intensity throughout till you get to the last few chapters where it is on the edge of your seat, nail biting horror where you just hope everyone gets out alive. While I will admit it was not a favorite, it was still very good. I have always enjoyed Mr. King's books. I love the way his words flow on a page. I love the way he weaves his story lines. I love the way he foreshadows events to come early on and continues to build the terror with little clues throughout. This particular story is about a god-fearing man who looses all that is of meaning to him, and how it twists hm. It is a look at how much knowledge is too much knowledge, and how maybe there are things we just were not meant to know. If you are a true Stephen fan, I think you will enjoy this read. If you have become bored with him, this is true Stephen King writing, and maybe not for you. I found it thought-provoking and a suspenseful terror ride that Mr. King is always so good at providing. Thanx Mr. King for another great read! Can't wait to see what you have in store for us next! -- SPeeD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought it was good until the ending!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Builds up to a disappointing ending
Susie_Kline More than 1 year ago
Huh, I don’t really know what to say about this book. I know I was excited about it. After reading Mr. Mercedes earlier this year, I was pumped up for more Stephen King. I read a review that said this was really scary. I kept waiting for the scary part. Waiting and waiting. I had a few pages left and I knew it wasn’t coming. I was disappointed. Revival is a decent story. Jamie is a likable character. Flawed, just like I like them. I enjoyed his life story. After all, Stephen King tells a tale better than anyone else. But this just lacked zip. I didn’t get the frisson of fear when I shut the book at night. I wasn’t afraid to turn out the lights. I didn’t look into the shadows wondering what was lurking. This isn’t the worst book or the best book. It wouldn’t be a total waste of your time to read it. Just don’t plan on being scared. Because this isn’t It caliber material.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
No way near his best but still a king fan. loved the review where they said they read his grocery list if he published it. I feel the same.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What happened to the genius who wrote "The Stand"? I paid $11.99 too much for this book. Come on Mr. King......put effort into your writing or retire and let King fans spend their money on something worthwhile!!!
Lea_Kelly More than 1 year ago
There was a lot of potential here but no follow through. Sorry Stephen...I've always been a fan of your books, but this one falls short.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Like most readers, King has become an icon with horror. I read this particular book not with my best expectations that King usually gives me. Started out fine, but lingered on the fact the character developed a drug problem. Miracle cures would be fantastic for many who have been caught in that situation. Hence, an answer for a quick recovery for the character that was to be our main character. Alas, the story was way drawn out and slow in making the final point. I myself have read Lovecraft and when that was brought up I thought "A-hh, maybe it might be worth the finish!" Again I was mistaken. Loved "Dr. Sleep", but this one was not worth the money I spent!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was disappointed with this book. The book was well written, but quite boring. The story line itself was intriguing but lacked any sort of thrill, suspense or real darkness. Perhaps if you're religious or have some sort of fascination/fear of the afterlife this might be very interesting. If you're looking for suspense, mystery, thriller, this is not it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Please help!I loved the first three quarters of this book but what happened at the end?Know Jamie loved rocknroll but  I got lost with mother and the ants.Can someone explain?