This may shock many people, but I've never read a Stephen King novel in my life *gaspofshockandtheatricalfainting* The reason for this is actually very simple, while Stephen King is a bestseller, I'm not a fan of horror. In fact, the thought of it fills me with, you've guessed it, horror.
But after reading about Stephen King writing about Carrie on Zite, I was very intrigued by it. I've always heard about the book/movie from various pop-culture references (so much intertextuality!), but I've always dismissed it, thinking it was standard horror fare.
But I was sadly wrong.
From the opening page, I was hooked by King's wonderful command of the language. He writes in such a vivid and poetic way that I know I have never written and can only hope to aspire to. One of the opening sentences is "Nobody was really surprised when it happened, not really, not at the subconscious level where savage things grow". The one sentence hints at the savage nature of the novel's contents, while introducing the element of psychology into the book.
Another thing that really garnered my attention was his surprising use of the narrative structure. I don't know if it will be considered radical (as Arundathi Roy's The God of Small Things apparently is), but I like how he uses court transcripts, magazine articles, or pseudo-factual books to interrupt the linear narrative and provide the reader with a sense of how much the event would have shocked America.
In addition, I really think that the narrative helps the reader to maintain a crucial emotional distance from the characters. I would have much more afraid if the book was entirely in first person narrative, but it the mix of articles and first-person point of view helped me stay emotionally engaged without completely losing it.
All in all, I deeply admire Carrie as a work of fiction (I'd really love to try and analyse the book). I feel the book isn't just horror, but probes into issues of bullying and the human psychology. Now, I might try his fantasy books (I'm still not going to read horror)