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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Book Review: Blaze by Stephen King/Richard Bachman

If you love Of Mice and Men, then this would be a great King to pick up! Both feature a couple of guys just trying to make ends meet, one of which is the “brains” of the two and the other is this 6 foot 7 gentle giant that isn’t too bright due to the beatings he took as a kid (poor Blaze!)

"It was a dirty world, and the longer you lived, the dirtier you got."

The story unfolds with two separate timelines: we have current day where Blaze is trying to kidnap a baby in order to make some money, and then we have the past which details Blaze’s childhood and friendship/partnership with George. Blaze has been dealt a bad hand in life, you can’t help but wonder what kind of life he might have had if things had been different. King does a terrific job of making you sympathise with this tragic character - I may have shed a few tears! I much preferred the flashbacks to Blaze’s past than the present events though. King is well known for his sprawling epic books that can really give your biceps a workout, but in Blaze he shows that he is capable of a wham-bam-thank-you-mam story. There's no real filler, the story moves along at a moderate pace and nothing feels wasted.

King issues an apology at the beginning in a little introduction and explains how he initially thought it wasn’t a great book. Apparently he wrote it around the same time as Carrie but it was left on the back burner until years later when he decided to realise it as Richard Bachman’s final novel. It fits into the Bachman style in terms of the ending (the Bachman books tend to have distinctively dark endings that lack any semblance of hope), but it also felt a lot like a King novel to me. We actually had a likeable character to root for! Blaze is great, he’s just like Lennie :(

All in all, one of the better Bachman books in my opinion. Probably second best after The Long Walk. Worth a read!

Johann
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