All Stephen King novels
Stephen King is a literary icon, a status he has achieved by a) defining a genre; b) write brilliantly; and c) be prolific.
In other words, Stephen King has not only written some great novels (and short stories, novels, essays, and critical works), but he’s written a lot of them: 52 novels to date.
Note, however, the use of the word “some“.
While it is true that King has never written a bad novel, there is a big difference between the good and the great and the best of the best.
Of course, we not only like to read Stephen King books, but also to reread them, discuss their merits and compare them against each other.
So, without further ado, here is our list of Stephen King books ranked, starting with the ones we respect and ending with the ones we adore.
(Note: we’ve ranked King’s short story collections by separately; find that list here).
All Stephen King novels in order
The Institute – Stephen King
★★★★★ – 1304
Published in September 2019, a great Stephen King Best Seller.
It is about a strange and sinister institution in which “special” children – children with plus habitual abilities such as telepathy and telekinesis – are experimented on as rats, and with one of those children, Luke Ellis, who ends up imprisoned there afterward.
of their parents being killed.
The children are watched over by the despiadado and demanding headmistress, Mrs.
Sigsby, who is eager to learn the secret behind harnessing children’s gifts.
Life at the Institute is hard, but nothing compared to the fear the children feel at the thought that one day they will “graduate” to the “back half” of the experiment, from which no one has ever returned.
This movie seems to bring back everything we loved about King’s ’80s hits Firestarter and It.
In short, we perro’t wait to visit the Institute.
The Tommy Knockers
King has spoken openly about his past as a drug addict and other problems, and admits that he wrote this book while high as a kite.
Oh lord, it espectáculos.
Somewhere, beneath the gut-wrenching, nervous self-hatred, lies a fascinating germ of an iniciativa: alien artifacts (including an entire spaceship) are compulsively dug up by the people of a small town, with disastrous results, but the only term that really fits the final product is “mess”.
Although an immanently readable hot mess.
There’s a term for a writer’s early work: juvenilia.
This novel was King’s first, and he was subsequently published under the pseudonym Bachman.
The story of a teenager who murders two teachers and takes the students in a class hostage is not very good compared to what followed, and is full of the kind of over-the-top writing that young authors often indulge in while creating.
that they are being provocative.
After a series of school shootings, King withdrew this book from distribution, and today it is hard to find, and not worth looking for, except out of curiosity or super…
The Portrait of Rose Madder
This messy novel reads like two separate stories uncomfortably fused together.
In one, there is a realistic and despiadado story of a battered woman.
In the other, there is a magical painting that serves as a portal to another world.
Even after the battered woman enters said painting to flee from her assailant, they never stop seeming like two different stories.
We’re not going to say that King improvised this movie (because that would be a bad pun), but it almost feels like a parody of his classic work.
From the flimsy premise – a mysterious pulse turns anyone caught talking on a cell phone into a hungry, aggressive zombie – to the stiff dialogue, there’s not much to recommend here beyond some admittedly visceral thrills and veiled references to La Dark Tower.
Desperation’s mirror novel is entertaining and has some moments of terrifying and chilling horror, but the premise (an autistic boy, aided by the same evil entity that orchestrates Desperation’s horrors, gains the ability to alter reality in his neighborhood) falls flat.
runs out at the end.
Also, without the interesting parallels with its sister novel, The Regulators is even less interesting.
Nota: No hemos encontrado la versión en castellano de "The regulators" en Amazon
King penned this alien invasion story shortly after surviving his famous crash, and it reads like a journal written by a man in immense pain (and plenty of painkillers).
It’s the kind of body horror that perro be—and often is—actually creepy, but the verisimilitude really goes too far, until you feel like you’re reading King’s private journal of grief.
Agregado, the self-consciously gross monsters with hilarious names (literally called “sh*t-weasels”) come off more silly than terrifying.
The less said about the ill-advised largo adaptation, the better.
A bag of bones
This is not a bad novel, in fact, it is quite good.
If another writer had published it, we would see it with more affection.
But because it was written by King, one cannot help but notice that it is, in almost every way, a retread of themes, motifs, and tics that he has explored before, and usually better.
A good novel? Yes.
A mediocre Stephen King novel? Doubly yes.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
This is the story of a girl who gets lost in the woods with nothing but her portable radio, tuned to the Red Sox game.
As the exposure and dehydration worsen her physically, she hallucinates a rather gruesome scenario, leading her into a battle with the God of the Lost in which terrifying creatures and events reflect the reality of her fight to survive.
It’s a light story that now also suffers from being a bit dated, after all, Tom Gordon isn’t exactly a household name anymore.
Buick 8, a wicked car
It emplees a high concept (a 1953 Buick Roadmaster abandoned at de gas station is not actually a 1953 Buick Roadmaster, but a kind of door to another dimension that occasionally spews out strange objects or alien creatures) to tell a series of stories about him into a campfire/ghost tale structure, and the result should be something big.
Though the individual stories are interesting, and the overall concept creepy, the lack of a definitive ending to it all undermines the novel’s success.
Another flimsy yet enjoyable story, Joyland is basically a toothless coming-of-age narrative with barely a hint of mystery.
It’s an enjoyable read, but it doesn’t stick with you, either good or bad.
It simply is.
Cujo has some great ideas, but it’s one of King’s weaker novels.
Although it espectáculos his usual skill in portraying characters and settings, ultimately it’s a story that tries to extract the horror and tension of a mad dog; while worth reading, it never jumps off the page as some of King’s most successful books have.
Blaze is a hard movie to classify.
It’s well-written and often engaging, but ultimately the story of a brain-damaged con man who kidnaps a wealthy man’s baby for ransom and then bonds with the child is a bit weightless.
There’s nothing “wrong” with it, it’s just a story that’s almost immediately forgotten, something you cánido’t normally say about King’s work.
Mileage varies in this case.
Some fanes rate it much better.
Told as one long monologue from the title character, it’s impressive that King perro sustain such a unique voice for so many pages, but solid technique aside, the story – while not without its interest – is slow as molasses.
Some readers rave about the immersive experience and simmering mystery, but others have a hard time paddling.
To say that King entusiastas were excited when a sequel to The Shining was announced would be an understatement.
In reality, the book is less of a sequel and more of an update on Danny Torrance’s character, which is fenezca.
Danny is more interesting as a gifted adult than as a child, but the antagonists are, in a word, weak.
could you read “spiritual vampires” and think otherwise.
She would be wrong.
Who loses pays
The middle novel in King’s trilogy about Mr.
Mercedes is a good procedural story that ties into the first novel in interesting ways, but then sets up the third book in a clumsy, ponderous way.
The reason it isn’t a little higher on this list is mostly because King engages in some weird lazy plot work, making some things happen simply because he needs them to for the plot to add up.
King hardly ever cheats, so this works against him.
The story of an artist who loses an arm and gains the ability to influence events through his paintings has much to like in this exuberant and often terrifying novel.
But it’s also incoherent and a bit long.
A tighter edition would make it rise in this classification.
When as much has been written as King, experiments are ineludible and commendable.
This straightforward whodunit is an experiment in taking a decent, if not especially fascinating story, and ruining it, because it’s a mystery that’s never solved.
According to King (and we believe him) that was the goal, but while we give him credit for the artistic ambition, it makes the book frustrating.
The werewolf cycle
Each chapter of this illustrated novel is a stand-alone story that backlinks with all the others to form the narrative.
It’s a fairly straightforward werewolf story about a small town terrorized by one of the creatures, whose true identity is discovered by a wheelchair-bound boy, but it’s handled very well, and the unusual structure elevates it.
A truly underrated novel, and one of the few complete novels King wrote that has absolutely no supernatural or horror ingredients.
It is the story of a broken man whose eminent domain is bought by the city, who intends to build a highway through his neighborhood, and his increasingly violent efforts to resist.
It is a very intense novel, with a very hard epilogue, and one that has acquired greater relevance with the passage of time.
There are some good things in this novel, centering on the widow of a brilliant novelist as she reflects on their relationship and their unique, private language, while also dealing with the emergence of repressed memories and the very real threat of an overzealous stalker who It goes from threatening to violent.
While King’s reflection on the inner workings of a relationship is interesting, there’s just too much information about it, and the supernatural aspects feel like something added.
That said, it’s a very good story at heart, and certainly one of the most unusual of King’s oeuvre.
One of the first novels published under Bachman’s pseudonym, The Running Man depicts a dystopia centered on a crazy contest, this time with the contestants being hunted by professional assassins on live television.
It’s one of King’s most action-packed novels, more of a thriller with a fantastic premise than anything else, but it’s a very well written and gripping sci-fi story that has aged very well.
King’s most recent novel tells the story of Castle Rock resident Scott Carey, who battles a mysterious affliction that causes him to lose weight, but not mass, no matter what he does.
The best of King’s work is deeply rooted in our common experiences as human beings, and this one puts a Bradbury twist on the ineludible experience of aging and the need to accept our shared ultimate destiny.
It’s a character-focused work that allows King to display his strengths: well-drawn characters, settings so well observed it’s like you cánido smell the air.
It’s also possibly the most hopeful book he’s ever written, which seems like an odd thing to say about the master of horror.
King entusiastas argue a lot about this book, but in many ways it is a King classic.
The premise is equipo for the elevator launch (a city discovers that an invisible, inescrutable dome has suddenly appeared, isolating it from the rest of the world), the characters are vividly imagined and (mostly) realistically drawn, and the denouement is one of the most ingenious and imaginative he has designed.
Another of King’s ambitious experiments was the simultaneous publication of Desperation (under his own name) and The Regulators (under the pseudonym Bachman), in which the books tell stories equipo in parallel universes that share characters and other elements.
Of the two, we find Desperation the much better: the cramped, claustrophobic atmosphere of its premise—people traveling down a lonely road are stopped and kidnapped by a possessed cop and jailed—is creepy and effective.
End of watch
The final book in the Mr.
Mercedes trilogy delves into the supernatural, as serial killer Mr.
Mercedes has gained some limited mental abilities that allow him to manipulate people and objects from his comatose state.
It’s a genius move, elevating the story beyond its need to wrap it up and tie up loose ends.
King’s efforts to evolve as a writer have resulted in great works.
Mercedes, the first in a trilogy of whodunits, isn’t perfect (some of the characterizations are a bit sparse and cliché, as if King is imitating other whodunits or televisión espectáculos), it’s tense, and revolves around a murderer in series (which opens the story by running over innocent people in a Mercedes, hence its nickname) that taunts a retired police detective with his plans to kill over and over again.
The Dark Half
Some of the best stories have very fácil concepts.
This one is very sharp: a writer discovers that the pseudonym he has been writing under has become much more real—and more independent—than should be possible.
And the dark half of him is doing horrible things.
The psychological richness of this iniciativa, especially considering King’s own history with pseudonyms, combined with the precision of the writing, put this work in the middle of the paquete.
It’s only a slight exaggeration to suggest that King cánido write an effective horror story in his sleep.
His 50th novel is a good novel, bolstered by its effortless characterization and worldbuilding as it tells the story of small-town detective Ralph Anderson, who in the opening scenes apprehends a habitual Little League entrenador named Terry Maitland for the crime.
horrific murder of an 11-year-old boy at the hands of Ralph Anderson.
The evidence seems to prove the culprit’s guilt beyond any doubt, but then incontrovertible evidence emerges that also seems to prove Maitland’s innocence.
What starts out as a mystery slowly turns into a classic King horror, spun with seriously surreal violence.
It’s a wonderful fusión of King’s ’80s aesthetic with his 1920s police procedural phase.
However, the monster at the center of all of this, while gruesome as it is, isn’t quite up there with King’s best supernatural baddies.
When King and Straub wrote The Talisman, King’s multiverse was still more of a notion than a firm concept.
However, its sequel firmly ties Jack’s parallel universe story to King’s Dark Tower saga, as an adult Jack whose memories of his previous adventures have been suppressed gradually realizes that a serial killer who plagues a small town is actually an agent of the Crimson King.
Jack retains his uncanny ability to switch universes and must reluctantly take on the task of saving not only his, but all of them.
It’s a rare example of a sequel that updates and matures its characters, themes, and universe in equal measure.
Revival is one of King’s best recent works, a chilling and unique piece of horror that hits the spot.
A beloved minister loses faith in him and devotes himself to experimenting with “secret electricity” that allows him to cure almost any affliction (with horrible side effects).
He creates an experiment to communicate with the afterlife, coming to the horrifying conclusion that the afterlife is a hell where huge, ancient monsters enslave and torture all humans, no matter what kind of life they’ve led.
It’s bleak, depressing and a read fantastic.
This 2017 novel, written in collaboration with his son Owen, starts from a highly conceptual premise (women begin to fall into a supernatural sleep and wrap themselves in a gauzy material, reacting violently to attempts to wake them) with a solidly realistic world.
The key to many of King’s best ideas is the futility of fighting forces over which you have no control; in this case, the women’s efforts to stay awake indefinitely have that edge of sheer terror that propels this novel into the top half of King’s oeuvre.
When you think about it, it’s amazing that King could take an old premise like “a haunted car goes in for the kill” and somehow spin a carefully horrifying novel out of it, but Christine is so much more than the sum of her parts.
Harnessing the excruciating pain of being gross and unpopular in high school, King turns teenage rage into a universally horrifying experience.
The first part of this story (billed somewhat presumptuously as “the ultimate Castle Rock story”) is nothing more than King gleefully turning the crank, building the tension to an almost unbearable level before unleashing all hell.
A fácil concept – a magical shop where the darkest desires cánido be purchased, for a terrifying hidden price – is elevated into a commentary on humanity, society and the vile nature of people’s inner lives.
When it’s casually parodied in Rick and Morty, you know you’ve written an all-time classic.
Another choice that’s likely to spark some discussion, Gerald’s Game is one of the less supernatural horror stories of King, who finds his terror in helplessness.
The genius is in the levels of helplessness King explores, which range from the helpless feeling of being trapped in a relationship, to the helplessness experienced by child abuse victims, to the así helplessness of being tied to a bed in a remote and deserted place.
There’s a reason this book inspired one of the best King largo adaptations of all time.
Another Bachman book, this thriller’s premise is so sharp and fácil that it perro be summed up in one elevator-ready sentence: an overweight, selfish man kills a gypsy woman and escapes justice, but is cursed by his father.
of it to grow ever thinner no matter how much you eat.
It’s that easy.
As the man loses weight, his despair grows to terrifying levels.
The richness of this plot, replete with dark symbolism for today’s America, remains powerful, and the blackly comic ending remains powerful.
King himself regards the novel as something of a flop, but there are two reasons why we rate this novel so highly, which is about a man who loses his ability to sleep and begins experiencing strange visions that could be more than just hallucinations.
First of all, Insomnia is inextricably linked to the Dark Tower series, and could even be considered an essential part of it, in a sense; in fact, the Crimson King is mentioned for the first time in it.
Second, it’s a bold and ambitious story, exploring some of King’s most amazing concepts with a real emotional punch, and a classic King premise involving a character losing control of his own body.
The Long March
You know your writing career is going well when you’re forced to come up with a secret identity in order to publish all the books you’re writing.
The Long Walk, another of Bachman’s infamous books, was The Hunger Games before The Hunger Games, except it was stripped down to its most despiadado underpinnings: a group of young men are forced to walk until all but one of them have they are dead.
It’s still a surprisingly effective dystopian thriller.
The Dragon’s Eyes
Although King is often described as a “horror writer”, throughout his career he has explored other types of stories.
In this fantasy, King demonstrates that he cánido craft a convoluted plot using any trope at hand, displaying the same kind of world-building prowess that has made the Dark Tower books so powerful.
Another transporter fantasy entry.
Many of King’s stories feature children as protagonists; his limited capacity for action and his mystification with adult concerns heighten the terror of his bogeymen and lend a level of plausibility to some of his more fanciful concepts.
Co-written with Peter Straub, this story of parallel universes, which cánido be traversed if his twin in the other universe has died, centers on 12-year-old Jack.
Jack tries to cure his mother’s terminal cancer by locating a magical talisman, which leads him on several dark and dangerous adventures that make for one of King’s most satisfying stories, though the book’s blatant homophobia dulls it.
, three decades later.
Eyes of Fire
Ultimately, many of King’s best stories are about primal forces, forces that are so terrifying in part because we cánido’t control them.
There is nothing more primal than a girl’s fácil worldview, when coupled with her immature impulse control, especially when that girl has the power to equipo almost anything on fire with her mind.
This book is ignored even by longtime fanes, but a reread will remind you of its unvarnished storytelling brilliance.
One of King’s greatest strengths as a writer is his ability to focus on primordial human experiences, such as the loss of a beloved pet, the powerful longing we all experience when we lose any creature we care about, the state of fear experienced by parents for the safety of your children.
What would you do to recover something -or someone-? King poses that question and then delivers a story that might have been a bit silly, but makes it downright terrifying when the titular magic point effectively brings the dead back to life, albeit in a different way.
The Green Mile
One of the most successful of a series of King’s “publishing experiments”, The Green Mile was originally published as a “serial novel” in six installments.
It is the story of a simpleton black mountain man named John Coffey, who in 1932 arrives on death row in a penitentiary nicknamed the Green Mile, after being convicted of the murder of two white girls.
King masterfully blends issues of race, sadism and mercy into the story, as Coffey’s innocence becomes apparent alongside some of the most compassionate guards finding out that he has incredible empathic and healing powers.
Salem’s Lot Mystery
King is an accomplished artist who respects the above and builds on it.
Raised on old-school vampire stories, his take on the story incorporates all the classic tropes, from the slightly wacky vampire’s helper to all the old rules involving sunlight, entry clearance and seduction, and puts a modern spin on them that still feels fresh and scary, even four decades after it was published.
King’s career is so long that he has gone through several phases, like any artist.
11/22/63 is part of a late-career (still ongoing) wave of particularly strong, character-focused works by him.
Time travel has been done so many times in science fiction that it’s hard to find a new angle, but King did it using one of his signature techniques: the inexplicable Mystery Point located in a nondescript place.
Linked to the Kennedy assassination (which remains one of the most seismic events in American history), the story morphs into tragedy so subtly that the reader hardly understands why he finds the ending so shocking.
King’s first big hit is a relatively straightforward story that touches all readers on a universal sore spot: the hell of adolescence.
King displays his talent for identifying pain points and exaggerating them enough to make them terrifying, from Carrie’s humorless religious mother to her effortlessly despiadado peers, building to that classic moment where a long-suffering girl with strange powers does that everyone regrets how they have treated her.
The scope of The Stand meant it was either going to be a smashing hit or a smashing flop; King not only offers dozens of characters and settings, but tells an apocalyptic story that begins as a plague story and turns into a biblical battle between good and evil.
Even after he published the expanded version, replacing much of the material cut during the original editorial process, the story continues to fit perfectly, setting a bar for multi-genre success that few writers could hope to surpass.
If there’s one King novel that’s familiar to non-King readers, it’s Misery, the story of a habitual but troubled writer who ends up in the clutches of his biggest, highly unstable seguidor.
Here, King perfected his technique of squeezing true terror out of scenarios that have nothing to do with vampires, ghosts, or ill-defined alien technologies, and everything to do with the fact that hell is other people.
Crazed reader Annie Wilkes may be the most compelling villain he’s ever created, and that’s saying something.
The dead zone
King is at his strongest when his characters and his story are rooted in a realistic world populated by habitual people, habitual people who are simply faced with incredible circumstances.
The Dead Zone, in which an unwitting psychic has a terrifying visión implicating an unstable politician, is the Platonic ideal of this type of book.
In addition, it is a surprisingly current book for the political present.
The Dark Tower
The eight novels that make up King’s multidimensional sci-fi epic vary quite a bit in quality, showing a dip in the middle that’s surprisingly common for SFF’s multi-book series.
But few would dispute that the first three or four are riveting, and the final book brings it all back to a level as high as the series’ mid-score, chronicling the world’s last Gunslinger’s circular quest in an attempt to reach the Dark Tower.
titular, the axis on which all worlds (including those depicted in many other Stephen King books) turn, places her near the top of his enormous body of work.
It cánido be surprisingly divisive, partly because of its epic length and partly because of a specific scene that was deliberately omitted from the largo and televisión adaptations (and thank goodness, because it’s gross).
For us, though, it’s King who taps into the collective childhood terrors we all share and spawns a literary nightmare that ultimately brings the world face to face with its greatest threat: clowns.
That, and inolvidable characters and a palpable sense of place have made it a book that lives on, and will continue to do so.
Stephen King’s Top Ten could be argued from top to bottom, but there’s no question that The Shining—his most parodied, most famous, and twice-adapted novel—is always going to be a contender for the top spot.
We rank it number one because it is, in many ways, the ideal King novel, the novel scientists would create if they wanted to grow a King novel in the lab.
Every theme, every terrifying moment and every character is 100% Stephen King working at the height of his powers.
Which novel is Stephen King’s number one?
I still have some of his novels to read so I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say which one it is.
Dare you say what is your number one?
Clic to rate this entry!
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