Stephen King, and his son, Owen, created something so unique and so refreshingly new with Sleeping Beauties. Although this book can be defined as horror (and the factor of the supernatural is DEFINITELY there), I found it to be more psychologically/socially thrilling than actually horrific. Now, the basis of the story is horrific, yes.
Out of nowhere, all of the women in the world become shrouded in a cocoon and go into a deep sleep. A world without women…and just men?! Horrific indeed! But Sleeping Beauties possessed the essence of being psychologically captivating, rather than nightmare-inducing. The Kings’ story takes place in a time that is obviously our current present day. There are mentions of the same political issues, technological devices, and media that we currently possess. Once the women go to sleep, some men attempt to release them from the cocoon— to which they find extremely violent women. So what will the men do? How will they prevail? Oh, and there is one slight technicality. There is one woman who is still awake.
So like formerly stated, a world *almost* completely devoid of women is horrific. But the very core of this novel is more socially encompassing. It will have you asking questions about social ideologies today. It will definitely have you reflecting on the roles of gender in current society. It will also have you linking this obviously supernatural story to our very real current political realm. So Stephen and Owen King do something so amazingly special— they place you in this supernatural world that makes you reflect on actual life. This is not a novel devoid of all educational aspects.
I absolutely adored this novel from start to finish. At first, I was wary of the lengthy character list that precedes the first chapter. However, I soon became enthralled with every single character, flaws and all. They were so extremely real to me. Despite the supernatural aspects, everything about this novel was almost too real. It shocked me how similar some characters were to people I knew, yet at the same time, they were completely unique. The story itself kept me awake at night because I literally could not put it down. Sleeping Beauties was definitely the highlight of the days that I spent with it.
This novel was culturally significant in so many different ways. Not only did it address so many issues regarding gender, but it also highlighted other social issues of our time. These were not limited to the social and ideological structuring of class, sexuality, and race. Honestly, not many horror novels can do that in such a well-done manner. I had never experienced anything like Sleeping Beauties before…and this experience was one that I had no idea I was needing.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars