Book Review Video: A Pair of Kings: Sleeping Beauties and The Outsider, Plus Stephen King Book Recommendations

Today we’re talking about a pair of Kings and their books: Sleeping Beauties and The Outsider.

Owen and Stephen King, son and father, wrote Sleeping Beauties together. In it, women around the world mysteriously begin growing cocoons around them once they fall asleep. Except small children, anyone who tries to wake them is brutally murdered or beaten by the animalistic, zombie-like woman, who then promptly falls back into her slumber.

The men of the town don’t know what to do. Burn the women before they can hurt anyone else? Protect their sleeping cocoons? It comes down to a god-like (or demon-like) woman named Eve in a small-town prison.

Gender dynamics play an interesting role in Sleeping Beauties. What is a world without women like? Does it devolve into chaos? What is a world without men like?

The Outsider by Stephen King begins almost as a police procedural.

A young boy’s murdered body has been found. When it becomes clear that a well-respected boys’ baseball coach was the perpetrator, the detective makes sure that he is arrested in the most public, embarrassing way possible.

The supernatural element doesn’t even enter the book until a third of the way in, when the detective realized that the case wasn’t as straightforward as he initially thought. Perhaps a mysterious Outsider had something to do with it and other deaths.

Both books include several clever elements.

Meta namechecks

In both books, they namecheck real-life authors Dean Koontz and Harlan Coben. Since I enjoy reading these authors, too, it was delightful to see them mentioned.

Unlikely heroes

Jeanette in Sleeping Beauties and Holly in The Outsider are both unlikely heroes. One is a prisoner. The other is a quirky, matter-of-fact person who hates the limelight. While both had their struggles, watching their journeys was delightful.

Fallible heroes

Both books feature cops who do wrong. They make the wrong decision, capture the wrong person, take a wrong turn. They begin as the most visible and pure-hearted heroes, able to lead the masses and incite action. But when they make the wrong decisions, it ruins the perceptions they have of themselves.

My booktube friend, Robert of Barter Hordes, asked for my recommendations for Stephen King books. I’m by too means a King expert, but I’ve read enough to form an opinion or two. Here are my unofficial, biased, subjective picks. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or think I’m just plan wack in the comments.

Favorite Stephen King Novels

Man crashed into a snowbank. Crazed woman saves and implosions him.

The Shining
With his wife and son, man watches over an isolated, haunted lodge during the winter

Doctor Sleep
Sequel to The Shining; Jack’s adult, alcoholic son must fight more evil.

The Stand
Good guys fight against the bad guys in a post-apocalyptic world.

The Long Walk
In a dystopian world, 100 boys must walk until they drop…dead.

Honorable mention: The Plant
Damn Stephen King for dangling the tendrils of this half-finished novel under our noses, then which it away before it can grow roots.

Favorite Stephen King Short Stories

“Dolan’s Cadillac”
Man plans revenge against a mob boss who had murdered his wife.

“The End of the Whole Mess”
Genius tries to save the corrupted world. Things go awry.

Man stays in a haunted hotel room.

“The Raft”
Kids horseplay on a raft and get eaten by a haunted spot in the lake

“The Mangler”
A haunted laundry machine wreaks havoc on a small town.

“Gray Matter”
Alcoholic man drinks haunted beer and becomes a big, gray blob.

“10 O’Clock People”
People who smoke only a little bit can see killer aliens walking among them.

“Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut”
Homer recalls Mrs. Todd and the increasingly intricate shortcuts she takes.

Sleeping Beauties
Owen King and Stephen King
Published September 2017

The Outsider
Stephen King
Published May 2018

Check out Robert’s YouTube/booktube page at Barter Hordes.

Watch this book review of Sleeping Beauties and The Outsider, plus other bookish videos on my Read Remark booktube channel on YouTube.

Music credit: Wistia

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