Tag: Ka-Tet

Stephen King and Peter Straub – The Talisman | Review

Title: The Talisman

Author: Stephen King and Peter Straub

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 774

Rating: 4*/5

 

Stephen King and Peter Straub - The Talisman

Stephen King and Peter Straub – The Talisman

 

When I picked this up, one of my friends said that this was one of King’s best, but I disagree. It’s pretty good though, and while it might not make it into my ranking of his top ten, it would make it into my top twenty. Still, I’m glad that I picked it up, and it was especially cool because I blazed through it in three days when I was on holiday in Berlin.

Still, it was a pretty good read, and I was surprised by how seamless it was in terms of having two authors but feeling like it only had one. In fact, it just felt like a Stephen King book, so I’m not too sure what role Peter Straub played in its creation. I’ve never read any of his stuff before, but I’m tempted to, especially after reading this.

The Talisman is basically a dimension-hopping road trip novel in which a young boy must make his way across America in search of a mysterious object that has the power to cure his mother’s cancer. I guess because of the age of the protagonist, it’s basically a YA book from a time before YA really existed, which is interesting. I still feel like it’s aimed more at adults than at children, though.

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

It’s worth noting that I picked up on a few things that my editor would have flagged if I’d written this. For example, there were a couple of places where there was a perspective shift and we hopped from one character’s head to another. I also found a few places where speech marks or full stops were missing, and there were a bunch of layout fails where certain pages were printed so close to the margin that they were almost cut off the end. It also ended two separate scenes at different points with “all hell broke loose”, which is something that I did in one of my short stories. Pam Elise Harris, my editor, told me to show and not tell, and she had a point.

Still, it was a decent read, just a pretty good adventure novel, and I’m actually looking forward to reading Black House, which is some sort of sequel. I actually picked that one up first and then realised that The Talisman came first, but most people on Goodreads seemed to think that Black House was nowhere near as good. I’ll probably save it until I go 0n another holiday.

All in all though, I thought it was a pretty good book. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good, and it’s definitely one to look out for if you’re a fan of either of the authors. For me, it’s also been a nice way to sort of cross-pollinate my reading tastes and to ease myself into Peter Straub’s work. I’ve heard quite a lot of good stuff about Straub and I’ve always suspected that I’d like his writing, and after this I kind of want to pick up one of his books to see if I can identify which parts of The Talisman came from him.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

I was also thinking about this afterwards and I started to notice some similarities between The Talisman and King’s Dark Tower series. There weren’t necessarily outright references that linked the two of them together, but you could argue that there’s a Ka-tet of sorts and both books basically deal with a long journey towards some some mysterious object, whether that’s The Talisman or whether it’s The Dark Tower itself. Both of them involve people hopping between two different worlds, too.

I also thought that the pacing was good, especially when you consider that it was over seven hundred pages with pretty small print. It maybe got a little faster at the end, but not to such an extent that it made the rest of the book feel slow, and it was interesting to see how the two worlds – and people’s Twinners – came together. If you’ve read King before then you’re probably familiar with how well-thought out his books are, and this is the perfect example. Everything is connected and nothing happens without a reason.

So if you’re wondering whether to read this or not, the answer is, “Yes, you should totally read it.” It’s a great little book and it’s a lot of fun, with elements of everything from horror to a classic adventure story thrown in there. It might not be King’s best, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t good. It’s definitely worth a read.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Click here to buy The Talisman.

 


Stephen King – The Dark Tower | Review

Title: The Dark Tower

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 710

Rating: 8/10

 

Stephen King - The Dark Tower

Stephen King – The Dark Tower

 

And so it ends. This book is the seventh and final book in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, although you could count The Wind Through the Keyhole as an eighth book if you were so inclined. Either way, this rounds off the series and reveals the end of the story, as well as what happens when Roland finally reaches the Dark Tower.

I’ve got to be honest, the first couple of hundred pages seemed to drag for me, and I found it difficult to get into the story line. But a little later on, it got good again, and we were soon rolling along the path of the Beam and towards the Tower and the Crimson King. It’s certainly true that a lot happens here – we get to learn more about Mordred, the anti-Roland, and we learn the ultimate fate of each of the characters that we’ve met along the way.

And so, of course, we have to deal with death – in a series like this, with so many characters, there’s no way that all of them are going to make it to the end. But don’t worry – I’m not going to tell you who dies, because that’s ka’s will, and you’ll find out all about it in your own time. That’ll be fun!

 

Stephen King

Stephen King

 

What I will say is that I saw the ending coming around 50 pages before it happened, which was a little annoying because the whole series was around 3,500 pages long. That said, it didn’t ruin it – if anything, it felt just right. It’s hard to explain it – if you’ve read the rest of your series then you’ll know what I mean, because it felt just like it was meant to be.

Another thing that I ought to mention is the size of the book, and the print. See, my copy doesn’t look as thick as some of the other books, and after the relatively slim size of Song of Susannah, the book that comes before this, I was expecting to blitz through this pretty quickly. But then I started reading it, and I realised that the print is so small that it’s actually difficult to focus on. It’s a book that you’ll need to read in the day, and not because it’s scary – it’s because it’s so damn difficult to see, and you’ll need good lighting if you want to be able to make out the print.

But other than that, I was happy with this – it was a great read, especially during the latter half of the book, and it forces you to keep reading until the end. As the reader, you feel like a part of Roland’s ka-tet, and when the ending rolls around, you feel like a part of the team. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll start to see the symbolism all over the place – roses, towers, and ka. After a while, it all starts to feel real, which made me want to call in sick because I figured that this ain’t Mid-World, so it doesn’t matter.

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Overall, then, I’d say that The Dark Tower is a satisfying conclusion to the series, but it’s far from the best one on the market. I can’t explain why, but The Drawing of the Three was my favourite of the lot so far. This one does a good job of continuing the series, but it’s far from exceptional – good, but not great.

But I’d still recommend it, especially to lovers of fantasy and science fiction, as well as people who just appreciate good storytelling. See, the thing with The Dark Tower is that it transcends genre, and for anyone who appreciates a good read, this is good stuff. Unfortunately, you do need to stick with it, and to spend a lot of time ploughing through the pages.

Luckily, it’s a pleasure – even despite the difficulties I faced throughout it, I’m glad that I stuck with it. In fact, I’ve already started reading The Wind Through the Keyhole, the final Dark Tower novel, which was written after the series was completed and which fits somewhere in the middle of it. I’d recommend it – this too!

 

Stephen King Quote

Stephen King Quote

 

Click here to buy The Dark Tower.

 


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