Title: The Mist
Author: Stephen King
Publication Date: Oct 2007
Classification: Adult Novel
Summary from Goodreads:
It’s a hot, lazy day, perfect for a cookout, until you see those strange dark clouds. Suddenly a violent storm sweeps across the lake and ends as abruptly and unexpectedly as it had begun. Then comes the mist…creeping slowly, inexorably into town, where it settles and waits, trapping you in the supermarket with dozens of others, cut off from your families and the world. The mist is alive, seething with unearthly sounds and movements. What unleashed this terror? Was it the Arrowhead Project—the top secret government operation that everyone has noticed but no one quite understands? And what happens when the provisions have run out and you’re forced to make your escape, edging blindly through the dim light?
In the world of writing, often times, especially now, novels are translated into visual format i.e. the big screen (a movie). For what once used to be saved for only a certain few books that merited such noble distinction, it would seem that most movies were first transcribed in written form. People argue amongst themselves which is better; the book or the movie? Some prefer the vivid descriptions which a book supplies while others enjoy the visual presentation which a movie consists of. Stephen King is of course no stranger in the literary world and neither is he in the cinematic world. Many of his books have been turned into movies: Pet Semetary, Cujo, The Green Mile, just to name a few. However, one book in particular ranks amongst my favorites of his work; The Mist. I must admit, I watched the movie first and was instantly hooked. Perhaps it was the solid performance demonstrated by Thomas Jane and Maricia Gay Harden or maybe it was the awe inspiring visuals and the unique way in which it was filmed. Acclaimed filmmaker, Frank Darabont, now widely known for his work on the hit television show ‘The Walking Dead, directed this film and it now proudly has a place in my blu-ray collection. But that is all neither here nor there. I happen to be in a predicament; book or movie? Which happened to be better of the two? The book…..or the movie?
Some people that side with how the books are better than the movies cite on reason in particular; the loss of crucial plot elements in its transition from pages to cinema. Thankfully, this was not the case in regards to this book. I even watched the movie while reading the book for some scenes because it happened to be that spot on. If one requires such an example, one need not look any further than the expiation scene. Trust me, you will know what I am talking about once you read the book. It is a critical point in the book as it seems to generate more of a conflict than just the mist alone.
How could I be so dense?! THE MIST! Of course! That is one of the main points of the book, obviously. I am unsure of what gave that away. Maybe it was the title of the book. I’m not sure. Either way, in addition to the strong lead character of David Drayton and the intense and often times maligned moral views of Mrs. Carmody, The Mist itself is as big a character as any. The Mist comes to symbolize the end of days to some, as foretold in the book of Genesis, while to some it represents a new and haunting threat, perhaps something alien in nature. The Mist puzzles the characters at first, but once the first drop of blood is shed, it begins to frighten them until even the most rational of human beings resort to irrational measures. Desperate times, desperate measures; that sort of thing. The religious theme which might seem to be subtle at first eventually comes out in full force, but not in an overbearing sort of way. It does so in a very well executed fashion.
As I mentioned, there are two other main characters of importance but I only wish to go into detail about one of them. David Drayton is perhaps the main character of the novel. He and his son Bill are trapped in the convenience store throughout most of the novel. Although David is one of the main characters, he is not the most crucial of characters in my estimation. That dubious honor would go to Mrs. Carmody, the false prophet as some might call her. At first she is just viewed as being just another character but quickly into the reading once the Mist happens to claim its first victim, she begins to take on a whole new role. She becomes the books antagonist and acts as a catalyst for the dramatic turn of events which plague David
Drayton and many of the other trapped patrons of the convenience store. She slowly begins to warp the minds of many inside the store, calling for repentance for the end is near and eventually, a blood sacrifice. One sacrifice is not enough for poor Mrs. Carmody, as more blood is to be spilled due to her incessant preaching of ‘the word of God’. She is my favorite character in the book because she is critical to shaping the events outside of the Mist itself. Evil lives outside in the Mist and within the vulnerable walls of the convenience store, no one is safe from the persecution of Mrs Carmody. She is a real delight.
The book is visually captivating and vivid in detail but not so vivid and graphic that it becomes annoying. The imagery is kept in check by the sharp dialogue and the random bouts of dramatic action and suspense. I was not happy with a certain part of the book which involved David Drayton cheating on his wife with another woman as I felt that severely weakened the moral integrity of the character. I was able to look past that and perhaps the ending of the book made up for it. The ending to the movie pissed me off, for lack of a better word. Well it either pissed me off or left saying, “No f’n way did that just happen!” I guess it depends on my mood. The ending to the book left things ambiguous as to the fate of the characters. To some that might annoy them; to me that is more poetic as I am left wondering quietly (our aloud, again depending on my mood), “What happens next?”.
I would rate this book a 4. Its just right, but its short length and hurried scenes left a bit to be desired. I would recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a good, quick thrill.