Just finished a Bachman (King) two-fer Rage and The Long Walk. Both are sort of pulpy type stories from King. Rage is the story of a young man who takes over his class with a gun and then proceeds to make the class argue if they should live or die. The Long Walk is the story of 100 young men who for the prize of having anything they want for the rest of their life walk till 99 of them die.
The Long Walk really was an enjoyable story, it had decent characterization so that you knew who was who. My biggest complaint of Battle Royale is that you really couldn't tell most of the cast apart, for this story everyone who is named has a decent backstory, personality and name. I liked how the death order wasn't predictable, the antagonists went fairly quickly and I was a little surprised at the final four. The biggest knock I have with the book is that very little actually happens during the walk. I felt like their were opportunities to add some better action and every time King just pulled back.
Rage on the other hand started off great but then just got ridiculous and dull. The idea of a kid taking over a class seems ripe for a thriller. The problem is King doesn't want to tell the story of a student killing and traumatizing his fellow classmates. He just decides to make the character into the archetypical 70's anti-hero. He's all damn the man as he kills the teachers but then becomes almost heroic to his fellow classmates. While the hero is exposed as a fraud. Really the whole thing was just an awful misstep, it didn't help that half the story is told in flashback about the leads horrible childhood...shocker he has an abusive father
Long Walk B+