To name a few categories, Stephen King is an iconic sci-fi, horror, and fantasy writer. Although, there is a time when a writer isn't necessarily putting out their best work. Not to take anything away from the prolific author, of course. But here is a list of Stephen King's least-liked works of fiction.
1. Dreamcatcher (2001)
“Dreamcatcher!!! I've tried to get through it on a couple of different occasions and just can't!” one person replied. “This one! Some Stephen King books didn't hit the mark (From a Buick 8). Dreamcatcher is the only one I gave up on.” said a second person.
“It was a weird read because of the stylistic departure from Stephen's other books. I think his prose was slowly changing through the nineties — it drastically changed with Dreamcatcher.” the final user said.
2. Cell (2006)
“Cell is by far the worst. So bad I didn't read King's newer stuff for years because of it.” replied one person. “He wrote a handful of subpar books, but Cell was the only one where I felt he was checked out, just going through the motions,” a second said. “It's probably the worst book I've ever read. It was almost a parody. It was so bad.” a third person added.
3. Bag of Bones (1998)
“Reading Bag of Bones was a slog, but I can't start a book and not finish it. I finally got through it, threw it across my room, and promptly forgot about it. From a Buick 8 and Insomnia are some of my faves, but I love anything to do with other/alien dimensions.” one person said.
“I just forced myself to finish Bag of Bones, and I feel so free! I didn't vibe with that book.” a second person stated. “Agreed. From a Buick 8 was my first Stephen King book, and I loved it. Bag of Bones was so hard to get through; everything about it was silly and weird.” said the third user.
4. Elevation (2018)
“I feel the same way… I love Twilight Zone-type stuff. I liked the movie Us which is based loosely on a Twilight Zone episode. But I just found this one corny. I know many of his novels have ridiculous stuff, so I don't know why this is my line in the sand, but if I had to pick my least favorite book, it's got to be this.”
“King definitely has his cheesy moments, but it's like he decided to cheese this whole book, and it just felt super low effort. No interesting or nuanced moral dilemmas are ever presented. Just a perfect protagonist put in black-and-white moral situations where he can make the perfect decision.” the second user said.
5. Insomnia (1994)
“Maybe an unpopular opinion, but Insomnia was tough to get through. I haven't read quite a few being named here, though, so apparently, it could be worse.” said the first person. “Insomnia reads like it views its protagonists with smug condescension. They're heroes doing things on a meta-versal level, but aren't they cute?”
“It was like when someone says of a dog. They think they're people, only unironically, and of humans, just because they're elderly. So maybe I just had a bad attitude when reading it, but that's how I still remember it even now, years later.” a second added.
6. It (1986)
“This'll be a hot take! But, IT. The first and only time I tried to read it was about four years ago: I made it about 400 pages in, and the pace was so slow that I couldn't bring myself to continue. I've seen spoilers, and I agree that the story is awesome. IT just felt like I wasn't getting anywhere after about a third of the book,” one said.
“I'm 900 pages in, and I've read two other books since I started IT, lol. It's a slog. The good parts are seriously epic, though. The chapter about Patrick Hockstetter is terrifying, brilliant, horrible, and sad. Like, you name it. It was probably the most memorable chapter of King's work for me. I need to take breaks from IT,” a second person replied.
7. The Stand (1978)
“I think a large part of that is because the protagonists are uninteresting to me. They are so boring, fake Frannie Sue and faux Gary Stu. Don't get me started on Abigail and her backstory that has driven many readers to quit the book.”
“I'd have preferred to go to Vegas, except the main villain was like a deflated balloon–boring too, and pointless, you realize. The book was like a hodgepodge of people who don't matter. It feels like a book he didn't know where he was going with and wrote a terrible ending to be done with it.” one person admitted.
8. Revival (2014)
“So, for me, it's Revival. It wasn't bad, but it felt dreadfully slow until the end. I read it in paperback years ago and listened to the audiobook a month ago, hoping I'd like it more now that I've read more Stephen King and still can't get into it.”
“It was not great, but still entertaining, even if it felt pretty cheesy. Worth a read, but don't expect the same quality as some of the top-ranked books,” someone confessed.
9. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (2004)
“I wasn't a huge fan of The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. I felt it was outside his typical style. Of course, any author, artist, or creator should never be bound to one subject or style, but this book wasn't for me. It was very predictable.”
“I love King's books because they haunt (no pun intended) my mind for a while. Leave me thinking about the ending and reflecting on my own life. Maybe I didn't get it. If this is your favorite, feel free to tell me why because maybe I'm missing something.” said one person.
10. The Institute (2019)
“Partly because of the huge intro dedicated to the Night Knocker followed by an even longer chunk in which he disappears completely. But mainly because aside from the kids with psychic powers premise, it's a little too realistic for my taste (basically Zimbardo experiments in a mildly speculative setting),” one replied.
“I adore the first quarter of the book. The intro section and the Dupray stuff are vintage Kings writing small-town life like a boss. But once we get to the Institute, it all bogs down.”
“It's not terrible, but after a while, I keep waiting for it to jump back and forth to check in on Tim back in town in contrast to the things the kids are going through, and it doesn't. I don't hate the book, but I do hate the structure.” said another person.
We've all been there – sitting through a movie that we can't help but cringe at, but somehow it still manages to hold a special place in our hearts.
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