Review: Bag of Bones by Stephen King

Title:  Bag of Bones 
Author:  Stephen King 
Series:  None 
Publisher:  Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Inc. 
Publication Date:  September 22, 1998 
Pages:  529 
Format/Source:  Hardback/Borrowed from Library

Age Group/Genre:  Adult/Horror

     Here is Stephen King’s most gripping and unforgettable novel — a tale of grief and lost love’s enduring bonds, of haunting secrets of the past, and of an innocent child caught in a terrible crossfire.
     Four years after the sudden death of his wife, forty-year-old bestselling novelist Mike Noonan is still grieving. Unable to write, and plagued by vivid nightmares set at the western Maine summerhouse he calls Sara Laughs, Mike reluctantly returns to the lakeside getaway. There, he finds his beloved Yankee town held in the grip of a powerful millionaire, Max Devore, whose vindictive purpose is to take his three-year-old granddaughter, Kyra, away from her widowed young mother, Mattie. As Mike is drawn into Mattie and Kyra’s struggle, as he falls in love with both of them, he is also drawn into the mystery of Sara Laughs, now the site of ghostly visitations and escalating terrors. What are the forces that have been unleashed here — and what do they want of Mike Noonan?
     It is no secret that King is one of our most mesmerizing storytellers. In Bag of Bones, he proves to be one of our most moving as well.  (From Goodreads.)

A Little Insight…

This book was January’s selection for my book club. I have to say that I went into it not really too enthused. I had never read any Stephen King before, but that doesn’t mean that I never wanted to read any of his books. I actually have a few of his books on my TBR list and I bought a copy of Under the Dome at the Borders closing sale near me. But I don’t think I would have picked this book to read myself. For one thing, I knew it was going to be super scary, because, after all, it’s a Horror novel written by Stephen King. Duh. And me and scary books and movies don’t mix.  But to me, the story just kind of sounded like a simple ghost story, and I wasn’t too interested in that. Now Under the Dome, on the other hand, sounds like my kind of story, and I’m looking forward to reading it.

My Thoughts…

I checked this book out from the library and it took me the entire three weeks I had it on loan to finish it. It was actually due the day before my book club met, and I got it finished with about two hours until the library closed. But the way this story was, I wasn’t sure if I was even going to finish. In fact, I had kind of resigned myself to the idea that I wasn’t going to finish. Which was kind of a big deal to me, because we’ve been doing this book club for two years now and I have finished every single book we’ve read for it.

But I finished, and I think there were several reasons as to why I took so long to read it.  Let’s do a list, shall we?

  1. I knew it was going to be scary, and that made me hesitant – I figured I’d get to a really scary part and have to put it down and never open it up again.  So when any creepy parts came up I was even slower to read them.
  2. The Fault in Our Stars came out in the middle of me reading this, and I had to read that right away!
  3. I was starting this book blog while reading this book, and I took a lot of time to get the blog started, find other blogs to read and follow, and to comment on a lot of other blogs.  Blogging really does take a lot of time, but I’m loving it!
  4. I just really wasn’t into the story.  One story line was more interesting than the whole ghost thing, and so that kept me going, but otherwise, I just really wasn’t invested in the characters and story.
All that said, I do think that Stephen King is a great writer, although he jumped back and forth a lot in the story, which was confusing at times.  And the book really wasn’t as scary as I thought it was going to be.  I mean, sure, if any of those things happened to me I’d be so scared I’d probably run away screaming like a five-year-old girl, but it wasn’t really all that frightening for me to read about.  Of course, that could be the fact that I refused to read the book at night…  But I’m glad that it wasn’t that scary, because I was actually able to finish it!

I think most of the girls in my book club seemed to feel similar to the way I did about the fact that this story was just kind of “meh.”  And we all really didn’t understand why some of the things happened the way they did in the book, and we all felt that it could have been a LOT shorter.  But then again, maybe it’s just not my kind of book.  I like to read Young Adult books more than adult books, and I love Science Fiction, whereas I’m not too keen on Horror stories.  But I’m really looking forward to reading Under the Dome, and I know that Stephen King will take me on a wild ride in the process.

My rating for Bag of Bones:

3 stars.  I didn’t hate it, but it wasn’t really my cup of tea.

Find it:  GoodreadsAmazon
Disclosure:  I loaned a copy of this book from my library, and although it was a pick for my book club, I was in no way compensated for this review.


  1. fakesteph

    January 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I've only ever read "On Writing", but have been meaning to check out some of his novels. Maybe I won't start with this one. :)

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm

      I want to read that, too! I think he's a great writer but this book just wasn't for me.

  2. Jac

    January 30, 2012 at 6:46 pm

    Bag of Bones is one that I think you have to be an established King fan to really appreciate. (A lot of his books are that way, unfortunately.)

    If you don't want scary – I'd go for his more tame books like Shawshank Redemption or Green Mile (which both books are pretty different from the movies) The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is a good starting point too.

    Jac @ For Love and Books

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:18 pm

      Thanks for the suggestions! I would like to read The Shawshank Redemption (love that movie), and I'll have to check out Green Mile, too (although I haven't seen that movie yet – shame on me, I know!). And I've never heard of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, so I'll look that one up! Thanks again!

  3. Andrea @ Cozy Up

    January 30, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    I haven't read this one of Stephen King's yet, but I absolutely love his books. I'm a big fan of horror which is why I love them. If you want some other Stephen King that isn't horror (to add on to Jac) hist Dark Tower series is really good as well!

    1. andreamantis

      January 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Oh, yeah, I've heard the Dark Tower series is really good! I want to read that, The Stand, and The Shining as well. And one of these days I'll get Under the Dome off my shelf and read it! Thanks for the suggestion!

  4. Ella

    January 31, 2012 at 1:02 am

    I absolutely need to read one of Stephen King's books o.o I think I'm going to end up putting it on my Bucket List. What other Stephen King books do you think you'll read besides Under the Dome?

    You got The Fault in Our Stars? Aghhh, I'm jealous. Love John Green <3

    1. andreamantis

      January 31, 2012 at 4:18 am

      I want to read The Shining, The Stand, and the Dark Tower series, too. But Bag of Bones was my first book to read by Stephen King, so I'm not the best person to give any recommendations. But Jac @ For Love and Books and Andrea @ Cozy Up (who both commented above) might be able to give you some suggestions.

      Have you entered my TFiOS giveaway? You totally should if you live in the US! Just go here: Birthday Giveaway: TWO SIGNED and HANKLERFISHED Copies of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green!

  5. Allison

    February 6, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    I haven't read very many of his horror novels – but if you want to check out SK and his awesome fantasy books, you should definitely read The Talisman! It is a fantastic read. Or The Stand, which is also brilliant.

    (In fact, the only "horror" book of his that I've read is The Shining I think.)

    1. andreamantis

      February 7, 2012 at 3:04 am

      Yeah, I've been wanting to read The Stand. But I'll definitely have to check out The Talisman! Thanks for stopping by!

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