I'd heard wonders about this book, but at the same time I'd read lots of negative comments on the internet. Most people keep comparing this book to "It" by King and I do understand why - yet, I agree up to a certain point. I think that the two stories are only apparently similar and differ in what matters the most: development and structure.
I liked many details about this book: the description of a country village of Illinois (so old-fashioned and simple compared to the more "urban" city of Derry, Maine), the interactions between the kids, the athmosphere of real horror that the author can convey with his narration... What I loved the most is the cruelty Simmons can display when doing the right thing (like killing children, yes, and their allies, absolutely yes, in the most revolting way) and Duaine, one of the best portraits of a gifted child coming from a family of gifted men that I've ever read. Duaine was my favourite character, hands down.
However, there are some things that haven't thrilled me as much. Simmons is great at managing his talent as a narrator. He can handle the plot magnificently and keeps the reader wanting more. Yet, from a certain point on the mechanism became too clear, too predictable. I could tell who was going to die 2 chapters in advance. And then the "villains"... I know some people disliked the whole idea of mixing Italian historical gossip and ancient Egypt, but I found it quite good actually, as far as a horror novel with an actual "monster" can be any good. Well, the problem I felt here was more concerning the powers these creatures had. I felt like Simmons didn't really have a clear idea of the "monsters" that were being fought and went on tentatively, changing their supernatural powers as they went, according to need. That really left me wondering...
I would also like to point out that there are quite a few typos and blatant errors that any decent editor would have noticed. I'm appalled that such an important writer is printed with such poor editing.
Overall, I'd say I liked the novel but I didn't fall in love with it. There was something missing, something unconvincing. A good Halloween read but not a book to remember.