Tag: Mothers

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.

 


Agatha Christie – Nemesis | Review

Title: Nemesis

Author: Agatha Christie

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 368

Rating: 3.5*/5

 

Agatha Christie - Nemesis

Agatha Christie – Nemesis

 

I should preface this review by saying that my mum went to great lengths to tell me how bad this book is, and so perhaps I was a little biased going into it. But actually, it wasn’t too bad, although it was also far from her best. I also think that it helps that I read A Caribbean Mystery not too long ago and this one basically follows on from it.

What I didn’t like here was that Christie forced a bunch of her own beliefs into the narrative and the dialogue, and I’m not too sure I agreed with her. For example, she basically said that young women at the time (the 1970s ish) kept accusing men of rape after their mothers found out that they’d had sex. Come to think of it, she spent a lot of time also complaining about how times had changed and she came across as a bitter old woman. It was kind of sad.

Still, I did enjoy the actual mystery, despite the fact that I also predicted both who the killer was and where the body was buried. I also found that, at the beginning at least, the plot was happening to Miss Marple rather than because of her. She’s basically just getting letters from a dead dude and following his instructions.

 

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

 

I read the entire second half of this in one sitting on the train back from my mum’s house, and that probably helped me to get a little more enjoyment from it. I managed to get all the characters straight in my head, which can sometimes be a problem, and I also had a pretty good idea in my head of what the environment looked like.

All in all then, this is far from Christie’s best but I’ve always loved Miss Marple and so it was fun to investigate a case with her here, towards the end of her career. Ultimately, it’s worth reading this because it’s worth reading all of Christie’s work. But I wouldn’t go out of your way for it, and you should read A Caribbean Mystery first.

 

Agatha Christie Quote

Agatha Christie Quote

 

Click here to buy Nemesis.