I just finished reading The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Stephen King’s new collection.
A King fan since I read Carrie, I am sorry to say the short stories in this book are not up to King’s best work. None of the stories are truly awful, but none are memorable, either; except for the last story – Summer Thunder.
It’s a melancholy piece about the end of the world; somewhat reminiscent of the early pages of The Stand, but with a tighter focus. Stuart Redman and Glen Bateman come to mind, as King relates the last few days of two men and a dog, and although the ending is expected it still carries quite a punch.
Just before King, I read George R.R. Martin’s A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.
Although it’s novel length, it’s really a collection of three connected novellas set in Westeros two hundred years before the Starks and Lannisters and Baratheons went at it, toe to toe.
I was drawn into the lives of Ser Duncan the Tall, a hedge knight who is far too honest and noble for his own good, and his squire, Egg, who is really a prince-to-be, Aegon Targaryen. Although the stories were previously published in 1998, 2003 and 2010, I had never read them. The first one, The Sworn Sword, is the best, but I enjoyed all three tales. If you’re a fan of Martin, the book is well worth the read.
Now if we can just get George to finish the next A Song of Ice and Fire novel …