The story draws on several well established sci-fi themes – I’ll not tell you what they are for risk of spoiling the book. Sure, every story is a variation on a theme these days, but this just seems to be a load of ideas tossed together to form a crazy soup. It’s the same problem I had with his Insomnia – everything is just too wacky, and you never quite know where the boundaries of the story’s universe lie.
Usually the best thing about a King novel is the characters, and sadly the book fails somewhat here too. They’re interesting enough, but I found some of the heroes to be too similar, and I ended up mixing them up at times.
The best thing about the book is the relationship that the four teenage protagonists form with a down syndrome kid. And this actually saves the book, turning from a trashy sci-fi yarn into something special.
I’ve been very critical, but this is still a good book, make no mistake. It’s just that maybe expecting greatness with every King novel is a bit too much.