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Thread: A Definitive Ranking of Every Stephen King Novel Ever

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    A Definitive Ranking of Every Stephen King Novel Ever

    This is from Barnes and Noble. While I do not agree with a lot of the rankings I think many of the comments on individual books are pretty good.

    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/...g-book-ranked/

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement mhatchett's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing! I skew so much towards the older stuff because that was "my" stuff. I haven't read King in years, other than Joyland, which is lite fare for sure, but really enjoyed it. Maybe I'll start dabbling again.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhatchett View Post
    Thanks for sharing! I skew so much towards the older stuff because that was "my" stuff. I haven't read King in years, other than Joyland, which is lite fare for sure, but really enjoyed it. Maybe I'll start dabbling again.
    I enjoyed Joyland and felt he rated it too low but I agreed with his assessment of the book. Rage was rated way to low for me but I have not read it in many years. I may need to re-read it to see if I still feel the same. King has some new work that is fantastic although very different than his early work. 11.22.63 is great, The Outsider is great for the first 75% and then really drops off. I also really enjoyed Mr. Mercedes.

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    I think his classic works are beyond reproach, but the later stuff...well...

    Post the turn of the century (from DREAMCATCHER (2001) on), I'd only put 11/22/63 and JOYLAND as recommended reading...UNDER THE DOME gets an honorable mention. Everything else, I'd put 'em all in the latter half of Definitive Ranking of Every Novel. I've not yet THE OUTSIDER (or REVIVAL or the Hodges trilogy), but from what I understand the last quarter of the book really disappoints. So everything from CARRIE to 1990 in the first half of ranking, everything else from the '90s and from 2000 on in the latter half, save for THE GREEN MILE, which also goes in the first half.

    I see King's career / body of work in thirds: the first third ('74 - '90) is phenomenal (though I see '90's NEEDFUL THINGS as somewhat disappointing, and as such an apparent transition to the even-more disappointing second stage), while the second ('91 to '00) and last thirds ('01 to present) are disappointing with a few noteable exceptions, e.g. THE GREEN MILE, 11/22/63, and JOYLAND (and UNDER THE DOME if I'm in a good, lax mood).

    Guess this explains why when the rest of the world seems to be get in an annual tizzy over an upcoming new King release, I typically find myself tizzyless...too many disappointments to keep that fire of anticipation burning any longer. If a good one comes along that people seem to love, I'll give a shot...his work has been too impactful in my life and maturation as a genre fan to refuse it outright. But I certainly won't be first in line at the bookstore.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement jeffingoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    I think his classic works are beyond reproach, but the later stuff...well...

    Post the turn of the century (from DREAMCATCHER (2001) on), I'd only put 11/22/63 and JOYLAND as recommended reading...UNDER THE DOME gets an honorable mention. Everything else, I'd put 'em all in the latter half of Definitive Ranking of Every Novel. I've not yet THE OUTSIDER (or REVIVAL or the Hodges trilogy), but from what I understand the last quarter of the book really disappoints. So everything from CARRIE to 1990 in the first half of ranking, everything else from the '90s and from 2000 on in the latter half, save for THE GREEN MILE, which also goes in the first half.

    I see King's career / body of work in thirds: the first third ('74 - '90) is phenomenal (though I see '90's NEEDFUL THINGS as somewhat disappointing, and as such an apparent transition to the even-more disappointing second stage), while the second ('91 to '00) and last thirds ('01 to present) are disappointing with a few noteable exceptions, e.g. THE GREEN MILE, 11/22/63, and JOYLAND (and UNDER THE DOME if I'm in a good, lax mood).

    Guess this explains why when the rest of the world seems to be get in an annual tizzy over an upcoming new King release, I typically find myself tizzyless...too many disappointments to keep that fire of anticipation burning any longer. If a good one comes along that people seem to love, I'll give a shot...his work has been too impactful in my life and maturation as a genre fan to refuse it outright. But I certainly won't be first in line at the bookstore.
    Don't read REVIVAL. I've never cared less about King's characters. It would have been an awesome novella.

    The Hodges trilogy was OK. The last one was meh.

    I haven't read THE OUTSIDER. I didn't even buy it. Odd for me. And I'm trying to get around to reading SLEEPING BEAUTIES. But I'm in the grip of impatience that borders on madness waiting for CD's editions of THE STAND. And I know I'll be waiting a long time.

    So I completely agree with you on your overall assessment. Though I might disagree with some of your thoughts on individual books. I really liked CELL and I have a soft spot for BAG of BONES.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeffingoff View Post
    Don't read REVIVAL. I've never cared less about King's characters. It would have been an awesome novella.

    The Hodges trilogy was OK. The last one was meh.

    I haven't read THE OUTSIDER. I didn't even buy it. Odd for me. And I'm trying to get around to reading SLEEPING BEAUTIES. But I'm in the grip of impatience that borders on madness waiting for CD's editions of THE STAND. And I know I'll be waiting a long time.

    So I completely agree with you on your overall assessment. Though I might disagree with some of your thoughts on individual books. I really liked CELL and I have a soft spot for BAG of BONES.
    Your thoughts on Revival basically natch my thoughts on Rose Madder. I enjoyed but did not love Revival. Rose Madder was just a waste of my time. Cell was just OK for me and I enjoyed Bag of Bones. Sleeping Beauties is worth reading but could have been a shorter story.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement jeffingoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin View Post
    Your thoughts on Revival basically natch my thoughts on Rose Madder. I enjoyed but did not love Revival. Rose Madder was just a waste of my time. Cell was just OK for me and I enjoyed Bag of Bones. Sleeping Beauties is worth reading but could have been a shorter story.
    I couldn't even finish Rose Madder.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed Marmaduke Grigsby's Avatar
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    Interesting list. Too often these lists will intentionally contain a very contentious entry just to spark debate and drive up hits on the site. I don't really see that here, however there are some entries towards the bottom of the list that I would place higher.

    Am I the only person who liked DREAMCATCHER? I enjoyed that book a lot and I would put it solidly in the middle of that list instead of near the bottom. It is WAY better than FROM A BUICK 8 in my opinion.

    I loved CUJO as well and I would put it much higher than #39.

    I'm not sure that I would put CARRIE as high as #7 but it should probably be in the top third of the list.

    Other than that I don't see anything that is more than 4-5 positions out of place if I were to construct my own list.

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    Senior Member Involuntarily Committed St. Troy's Avatar
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    I enjoyed Revival (it has a bit of bite, and I did like the characters), although I kind of wish the first 2/3 of it had only taken 1/3 of the pages. He did spread the whole "woe to us, these terrible things that would come to befall us" thing on a bit thick, but not enough to ruin it for me.

    I liked Rose Madder, but I would call it interesting and not great.

    I wanted to like Dreamcatcher (especially given the Derry angle), but it had too many things that struck me as just plain silly (shit weasels, Duddits, I could go on).

    From A Buick 8 was no classic, but it was fun and succeeded at what it did.
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    Senior Member Hearing Voices Tommy's Avatar
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    I am happy to see Thinner at such a high spot. I think it's one of his most underrated works.

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    Jeffingoff: "And I'm trying to get around to reading SLEEPING BEAUTIES."

    My suggestion -- don't. I tried reading that book, and gave up 10 or 20 percent of the way in. Godawful.

    Marmaduke: "Am I the only person who liked DREAMCATCHER?"

    Yes. But then again, I used to think I was one of the few people around who had a generally favorable view of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS, and that turned out to not be quite the case...so there's hope for you. Maybe...

    Tommy: "I am happy to see Thinner at such a high spot. I think it's one of his most underrated works."

    Agreed -- I really like THINNER...he did his Bachman pseudonym proud with that one.

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    Administrator Totally Insane Dan Hocker's Avatar
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    This sort of thing is so subject. I don't think it's possible to make a definitive ranking of anything, let alone Kings work.
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    Member Part-timer JasonUK's Avatar
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    I loved Dreamcatcher, it would definitely appear in the top half of my list. On the other hand I re-read Carrie a couple of years back and it was just as bad as I remembered, great idea of course but very poorly written. The movie made a much better job of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonUK View Post
    I loved Dreamcatcher, it would definitely appear in the top half of my list. On the other hand I re-read Carrie a couple of years back and it was just as bad as I remembered, great idea of course but very poorly written. The movie made a much better job of it.
    I read CARRIE for the very first time two, three years ago (just one of those books that I never got around to, figuing the movie was burned enough into my brain that I didn't need to read the book), and it was not as good as I'd imagined. It was okay (and I agree, the film does seem to tell the story better), but certainly not up to the level of the other early Kings ('SALEM'S LOT, THE SHINING, et al). I was kind of surprised, actually.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    Jeffingoff: "And I'm trying to get around to reading SLEEPING BEAUTIES."

    My suggestion -- don't. I tried reading that book, and gave up 10 or 20 percent of the way in. Godawful.

    Marmaduke: "Am I the only person who liked DREAMCATCHER?"

    Yes. But then again, I used to think I was one of the few people around who had a generally favorable view of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS, and that turned out to not be quite the case...so there's hope for you. Maybe...

    Tommy: "I am happy to see Thinner at such a high spot. I think it's one of his most underrated works."

    Agreed -- I really like THINNER...he did his Bachman pseudonym proud with that one.
    I feel Sleeping Beauties is worth reading. It is not a classic and could have been shorter but it was a good read.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasonUK View Post
    I loved Dreamcatcher, it would definitely appear in the top half of my list. On the other hand I re-read Carrie a couple of years back and it was just as bad as I remembered, great idea of course but very poorly written. The movie made a much better job of it.
    I enjoyed Dreamcatcher but is would probably be around the middle of the pack for me.

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    Senior Member Lobotomized Martin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Hocker View Post
    This sort of thing is so subject. I don't think it's possible to make a definitive ranking of anything, let alone Kings work.
    Agreed, I take it for what it is. Some ones opinion.

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    Senior Member 1st Electroshock Session Brian861's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    I think his classic works are beyond reproach, but the later stuff...well...

    Post the turn of the century (from DREAMCATCHER (2001) on), I'd only put 11/22/63 and JOYLAND as recommended reading...UNDER THE DOME gets an honorable mention. Everything else, I'd put 'em all in the latter half of Definitive Ranking of Every Novel. I've not yet THE OUTSIDER (or REVIVAL or the Hodges trilogy), but from what I understand the last quarter of the book really disappoints. So everything from CARRIE to 1990 in the first half of ranking, everything else from the '90s and from 2000 on in the latter half, save for THE GREEN MILE, which also goes in the first half.

    I see King's career / body of work in thirds: the first third ('74 - '90) is phenomenal (though I see '90's NEEDFUL THINGS as somewhat disappointing, and as such an apparent transition to the even-more disappointing second stage), while the second ('91 to '00) and last thirds ('01 to present) are disappointing with a few noteable exceptions, e.g. THE GREEN MILE, 11/22/63, and JOYLAND (and UNDER THE DOME if I'm in a good, lax mood).

    Guess this explains why when the rest of the world seems to be get in an annual tizzy over an upcoming new King release, I typically find myself tizzyless...too many disappointments to keep that fire of anticipation burning any longer. If a good one comes along that people seem to love, I'll give a shot...his work has been too impactful in my life and maturation as a genre fan to refuse it outright. But I certainly won't be first in line at the bookstore.
    I'm gonna agree with Ron for the most part (although Needful Things is a fav of mine) and completely agree with you, Jeff in regards to Revival. It was god awful to me and I didn't give a damn either about the folks in that one. I really enjoyed Doctor Sleep which most seemed to have not to. Mr. Mercedes was good but it didn't need to be stretched out into a trilogy. I felt Finders Keepers was just another Hodges' story and End of Watch was just plain silly. IMO, the best modern novel to day is Duma Key. I haven't enjoyed a King read as much as I did that one in a long time. I also enjoyed Gwendy's Button Box. Haven't gotten around to Sleeping Beauties or The Outsider yet but, those will be listens vs. reads. As pretty much all my reading these days is done via my ears.

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    Senior Member Receiving Daily Medication subie09lega's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonClinton View Post
    Yes. But then again, I used to think I was one of the few people around who had a generally favorable view of THE TOMMYKNOCKERS, and that turned out to not be quite the case...so there's hope for you. Maybe...
    I read The Tommyknockers when it was released my sophomore year, even did a book report on it in front of my English class. I think most of the kids were horrified I'd read something like that. I really enjoyed it. Reread it a few years ago and though my perspective had changed quite a bit, I still enjoyed it - more so than many that they ranked higher on the list. Very subjective type of list as mentioned.

    I've been planning to reread Thinner for a while now, haven't read that one for, well, decades now so it's probably time.

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    Senior Member 1st Rubber Room Confinement jeffingoff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subie09lega View Post
    I read The Tommyknockers when it was released my sophomore year, even did a book report on it in front of my English class. I think most of the kids were horrified I'd read something like that. I really enjoyed it. Reread it a few years ago and though my perspective had changed quite a bit, I still enjoyed it - more so than many that they ranked higher on the list. Very subjective type of list as mentioned.

    I've been planning to reread Thinner for a while now, haven't read that one for, well, decades now so it's probably time.
    I'm looking forward to re-reading The Tommyknockers once PS ships their edition. I remember one of the chapters was among the scariest I've ever read from King. I think it was "In the Garden Shed" or something. It struck me as even more terrifying than Room 217. Now It could have been the mood I was in, and maybe re-reading it will dispel the memory, but damn it was the best thing in an otherwise average book. Though I do think it deserved something better than last place on the list.

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