Even fans who have long adjusted to the more benign 21st-century King may be taken aback to find the former horror-meister penning a modern-day hagiography, and one that ends with a version of an apotheosis. Once out to make our flesh creep, he morphs here into a subtler writer, using fantasy to relate an ethical parable that, like its outwardly stereotypical hero, has a hidden complexity.
Who would’ve guessed that King would have new notes to strike nearly 45 years after emerging onto the scene, but he strikes them here, in a piece that’s thoughtful and even moving at times, without ever being particularly satisfying... If nothing else, you want a story to go along with the idea, or at least more ideas for your money. This one is for completists only, and devoted ones at that.
There’s more than a hint of the “holiday novella” — so popular in the romance genre — to “Elevation,” and I imagine many fans would be satisfied if King settled into a late career of one heavy meal and one amuse bouche every year. While the final pages are reminiscent of one of his son Joe Hill’s best short stories... there’s a sweetness that feels like something new for King. It’s heavy out there right now. Here’s something that’s not.