Culture Magazine

Book Review – Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

By Manofyesterday


Full Dark, No Stars contains four stories. 1922 is about a man who is finally confessing to the murder of his wife. Big Driver follows a woman who tries to exact vengeance on the trucker who raped her. Fair Extension is about a man who is intensely jealous of his best friend, who seems to have had all the luck in the world, but that’s about to change. Finally, A Good Marriage is about a woman who discovers her husband harbors a deadly secret.

The collection starts off strongly with 1922. I liked the confession and how the story unfolded and developed. There’s a lot more to it than just him having murdered his wife. There was a lot of tragedy and I felt a surge of emotion for the characters and how they ended up, with a good ending that sheds a new light on some earlier events.

Big Driver was a come down after that. I didn’t enjoy this one at all. I felt the rape happened quite casually and it just didn’t ring true. I never got the sense that the protagonist was a real person and thus I found it difficult to become invested in her story.

Fair Extension has a good concept about the balance of luck. It does seem that some people have it easy while others struggle. It’s probably a fallacy of human perception but it is a common feeling that I’m sure we have all felt at some point. I liked how the story was presented as it went through different periods to show the changing fortunes between the families of the two men, although I do feel it could have been developed a little more. I would have loved it if this story was a little longer and Big Driver had been shorter.

The last story, A Good Marriage, was enjoyable. It was about the concept of marriage and whether you can truly know someone, even after years and years of spending your life together. I felt the narration was strong and again, unlike Big Driver the protagonist felt authentic.

Overall it’s a pretty good book, with three out of four of the stories being enjoyable. But I’ve read a number of King books now and for someone purported to be the master of horror I’m yet to read one that truly chills me.

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