“The Stand” begins with a breach at one of these testing facilities. A strain of super-flu is out of containment and while the facility is being locked down, one of the workers escapes. He takes his family on the run and the super-flu spreads from there. Very few people are immune and they ban together into two major camps – Good and Evil. The “Good” survivors are drawn to Mother Abigail, an elderly African-American woman who knows that she is meant to lead them in their fight against evil. The “Evil” meet up in Las Vegas and are led by Randall Flagg (familiar to those who have read The Dark Tower series) a.k.a the “Dark Man”. The majority of the novel details the travels of the Good Guys to Colorado (where they settle) and their time preparing for the upcoming battle.
Stephen King created a believable world where people, faced with a horrible situation, make decisions that don’t always turn out for the best. I felt that I was travelling with Stu, Fran, Nick, Larry and all the others. People died, fell in love, tried to gain power, turned from good to evil and back to good again. These characters stuck with me and, for me, that is the sign of a successful novel.
I especially enjoyed Fran’s story. She is TOUGH. The only thing that was hard for me is that I couldn’t shake the image of Molly Ringwald. I’ve never watched the mini-series adaptation but I did see scenes while flipping channels one day. Look, I loved Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles and Pretty in Pink. BUT, she is not at all what I would have pictured for Fran. (Gary Sinise as Stu didn’t bother me as much.)
The Stand is classic Stephen King. A great story with great characters. A little scary, a lot smart and always entertaining. READ IT!! 5/5 stars.