Sleeping Beauties

A collaboration between Stephen King and his son Owen, Sleeping Beauties is another of the horror master's works where the supernatural incites and exacerbates the violence innate in men. After the arrival of a mysterious stranger, Evie, in a small Appalachian town, women across the world start falling asleep and forming cocoons, becoming violent if they are awoken. As women go under, one by one, the world falls into chaos. Only Evie seems immune, and the town's men soon begin to turn on one another--some believing she's the key to bringing the women back, others that she must be destroyed.

While there are truly villainous characters, and Evie's actions run the gamut from noble to profane, the Kings are more interested in regular people, neither perfectly good nor bad, who begin to crack under the weight of what's occurring in this small town. Evie is an expert manipulator, creating situations that pit the remaining residents against each other in an experiment to see whether men can maintain order without the opposite sex. Sleeping Beauties is at its most horrifying when that order falls, and characters that the reader has grown to like or respect begin to commit acts of atrocity. There are no true sides to root for, which makes the story all the more compelling.

Fans of either King will thoroughly enjoy Sleeping Beauties, but it should also serve as a good entry point for new readers as well. The novel is fast-paced, thrilling and the right amount of scary. --Noah Cruickshank, adult engagement manager, the Field Museum, Chicago, Ill.

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