Minor spoilers ahead.
There are plenty of books on my shelves I’m yet to start reading, but as is my habit, I went in search of more reading material at my local library. After reading On Writing, I decided I’d give some of Stephen King’s other novels a try, and in the K section, there were the usual suspects- Carrie, It, etc- but 11.22.63 caught my attention because it took up so much space and I knew if I finished that in the borrow period, I’d be pleased with myself, so I decided it would be my next pick.
Author: Stephen King
Genres: Alternative history. Time travel. Fiction.
Blurb: WHAT IF you could go back in time and change the course of history? WHAT IF the watershed moment you could change was the JFK assassination? 11.22.63, the date that Kennedy was shot – unless . . .
Intriguing, I’ll give it that. I’ve never actually read a book which features time travel before, but it’s incredibly popular in films and fanfiction, so I was interested as to what Stephen King’s take on it was going to be.
The main character, Jake, was writing a book on his adventures, and that’s what form 11.22.63 takes. It was a bit odd at times, but it wasn’t off-putting.
Not the most obnoxious characters I’ve ever come across, and they were realistic enough for when the story’s set, but Jake’s constant ignoring of ‘the universe harmonising’ annoyed me after a while; he knew something was going to happen because it had happened before, but when it mattered he ignored it, and near the end, his predictions worked too well in his favour.
That being said, I was rooting for him and Sadie to save the day as soon as they met.
Not too meandering, but not too fast-paced either. There’s enough world-building for it to make sense to those of us who don’t know everything that’s ever happened in American history, but not too much that it makes the book a history textbook.
Plus, Jake was just the right amount of sceptical and curious when he’s first told that there’s a wormhole in his friend’s cafe that will allow him to travel back to 1958, and his initial concern when he decides that he wants to go back in time isn’t to save JFK but to prevent one of his students from becoming a victim of a horrifying attack, which greatly improved my outlook on where the story was heading.
A downside, however, is the lack of concern for the so-called butterfly effect every time-traveller in every book ever is always so worried about, although that does make this book a little bit different from the others. It’s mentioned at the beginning, but only given the occasional reference after that, and I know everything Jake did made me wonder about what was going to happen to the future he’d left behind.
I can’t give the ending 5 stars because it kind of made the whole story moot, but the last scene was cute so it still gets 4 stars.
Recommend: If you want to read a time-travel novel with high stakes, luurrvvee and a hell of a lot of swing dancing.
(Also if you’ve read the popular Stephen King novels and want to try something a bit different.)
The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine only. I have not been paid for this review.