Best Stephen King Books, Ranked

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Best Stephen King Books, Ranked

For over forty years, Stephen King has been cemented as one of the most iconic, influential horror authors of all time. His immense body of work consists of over sixty novels, scores of short stories, and numerous other works – cementing King’s reputation as the master of horror fiction.

Among his many works are some of the most terrifying and emotionally gripping stories ever told – leaving fans both horrified and mesmerized in equal measure. Whether they’re set on a remote island, in a literal “castle”, or in a smalltown America, Stephen King’s tales have captivated readers for generations.

Whether you’re a Stephen King fan looking for your next read to add to your list of classics, or you’re just getting started on your Stephen King journey – here’s a list of what we consider the best Stephen King books of all time, ranked.

  1. The Talisman

The Talisman is a fast-paced adventure book written as a joint venture between Stephen King and fellow horror author Peter Straub. The story follows a young boy named Jack Sawyer as he embarks on a quest to find a mysterious talisman that he believes can cure his ill mother. Along the way, Jack visits the world known as The Territories, a place where magic and mystery can both help, and hinder, his quest.

  1. 11/22/63

11/22/63 is a time-traveling, science-fiction-thriller that follows the life of Jake Epping, a high school English teacher who time-travels back to 1958 in an effort to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. The story follows Jake on both an adventure story, and an emotional journey as he’s faced with both danger and the difficult decision of sacrificing his own future happiness.

  1. The Shining

The Shining is arguably one of the most iconic and memorable of all Stephen King’s works. Set inside the imposing Overlook Hotel, the story follows Jack Torrance, a struggling writer and recovering alcoholic, and his family as they settle into the hotel for the winter season. Often regarded as a classic in both literature and horror, The Shining has been adapted numerous times and cemented itself as a staple of the horror genre.

  1. Needful Things

Needful Things is a horror mystery novel set in the small town of Castle Rock, Maine. The story follows the cast as a mysterious new shop opens up in town – offering townsfolk the chance to get whatever they want in exchange for a small favor. As the population of Castle Rock starts to take advantage of the shop’s offerings, dark secrets and grudges quickly come to the surface.

  1. Pet Sematary

Pet Sematary is arguably one of the most haunting tales that Stephen King has ever written. The story follows the Creed family as they move to a small town in Maine, only to discover that their new home is in close proximity to an ancient Indian burial ground with the power of resurrection. To make matters worse, the cursed burial ground isn’t limited to animals – as sad and terrifying consequences soon come to haunt the family.

  1. The Green Mile

The Green Mile is a six-volume serial novel, based on the experiences of a prisoner on death row in a southern prison during the 1930s. The story covers the life of John Coffey, a gentle inmate on death row, who has a miraculous power that brings relief and comfort to those around him. Characterized by a slow-burning narrative and emotional depth, The Green Mile will have you glued to the pages long after you’ve finished reading.

  1. Carrie

Carrie is widely considered to be the novel that cemented Stephen King’s name in the horror genre. The story follows the titular Carrie – an outcast teenager with remarkable telekinetic powers – and follows her as her revenge on her tormentors ultimately leads to fatal consequences. With its emotionally gripping themes and classic horror scenes, this timeless novel is a must-read for any Stephen King fan.

  1. The Stand

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror novel that follows the aftermath of a global pandemic, which claims the lives of nearly the entire population. In the wake of the plague, survivors must choose to join a community of good, or one of evil, leading to an epic stand-off between good and evil. Along the way, The Stand is packed with suspenseful confrontations, thrilling action, and emotional development that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

  1. It

It is an epic horror-thriller that follows a group of seven childhood friends as they battle an ancient evil entity known as “It” – an alien being that takes the form of a sinister clown. Referred to by many as “Steven King’s Magnum Opus”, It is an iconic novel of horror, suspense, and coming of age that’s both darkly terrifying and emotionally gripping from start to finish.

  1. Misery

Often referred to as one of the best Stephen King books ever written, Misery is a thrilling psychological horror story that centers around the abduction of a successful romance novelist, and his captor Annie Wilkes – an unhinged nurse who becomes obsessed with his work. Full of exciting suspense, Misery will keep you captivated until the very last page.

For four decades, Stephen King has been lending his unique voice and creativity to the world of horror fiction, spawning an impressive body of works across a variety of genres. From devious thrillers to slower-paced, character-driven stories – there is something for every type of reader on this list of the best Stephen King books of all time. Whether you’re a long time fan or just getting into horror, dive into the hauntingly thrilling world of Stephen King and discover horror like you’ve never seen.

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