I love reading about dystopian societies, but this book left me wanting. I was really unsure of whether I liked it enough to warrant giving it 3 stars or 4 stars, and I'm still not sure, so for the time being, it will be marked as 4, but in my mind its 3.5.
I really felt like the King (or Bachman, if you prefer) who wrote this story was just not the King that I know and love yet. One of the things that I love the most about King is that he creates a world that is tangible and real, and then people's it with characters that are real. This book was half there, but I didn't feel like it was done.
The world didn't feel 'complete' to me. I wanted to know more about how society got to the point of allowing 100 young men to essentially torture and sacrifice themselves every year. I wanted to know what the point was, aside from the prize, which to be honest, seemed too good to be true.
With the self-proclaimed expert regarding The Long Walk, Stebbins, offering up little tidbits here and there, I felt like King could have explained a bit more about the origins of The Long Walk, but maybe that's just a personal desire because I love knowing the origins of things.
I thought that the characters were pretty well developed, but I was disappointed that none of them know why they had signed up for The Long Walk. Maybe it was a teenage boy rebellion/pride/honor thing, I don't know. I would have liked to have an answer to that, at least in Garraty, since he's our man.
I did appreciate the parallels to life itself though. Sometimes, you just have to keep going, even if you don't know why you're doing it. That's what makes me undecided about the rating I should give this one. I also believe that there was a reference to the Crimson King in there, too- or maybe the spark of an idea of what the Crimson King would become? When Garraty is thinking about the Crowd, and how it "...claws its way out of the Augusta basin on scarlet spider-legs and devour[s:] them all alive..." it just reminded me of that.
Anyway, this was a bleak and unforgiving story, and I'm not sure I could recommend it exactly, but I did enjoy it, overall.