Tag: Pam Elise Harris

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.

 


Pam Elise Harris – Oblivion | Review

Title: Oblivion

Author: Pam Elise Harris

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 478

Rating: 7/10

 

Pam Elise Harris - Oblivion

Pam Elise Harris – Oblivion

 

Disclaimer: While I am to be unbiased and purchased this book with my own money, Pam is also my editor. Full disclosure!

This review is going to be a tough one, because I have a lot of respect for Pam because I’ve worked with her on my own books and her input is invaluable. In fact, that brings us onto the first positive – the book is impeccably copy edited, as you might expect from her, and much more professionally so than most of the indie books you’ll find on the market.

At first, I found it difficult to get into it, but once I stuck with it and started to get an idea of who was who, I got into the swing of things. We follow the stories of six students at Highgarden Academy, a leading New York theatre school, as they try to get their careers on track. And it’s clear that the world of theatre (as well as Doctor Who, which gets referenced throughout) is important to the author, with the level of description clearly coming from someone who’s writing from the heart and drawing on a wealth of knowledge of how things are done in the theatre biz.

I found it hard to relate to some of the characters, but perhaps that’s because it’s such a different world to the one I live in, and it’s not that they weren’t believable – if anything, they were too believable, but they just weren’t my kind of people. That’s with the exception of Chris and Leanna, of course – but I won’t say any more than that because I don’t want to spoil the story line.

 

Pam Elise Harris

Pam Elise Harris

 

There’s a fair amount of romance here – more so than is typical for the books I usually read – but it all works and is believable, and it’s a nice little compliment to the overarching story line which follows each of the actors as they they spend their careers in oblivion, which you’ll learn more about when you read it. The formatting was strange, though – there were spaces between each of the paragraphs which seemed unusual and threw me off a little, but that’s more of an aesthetic preference than any problem with the book as a whole.

Overall then, this maybe isn’t the right book for everyone, but it doesn’t have to be. If you fancy a cheap trip to New York or have an interest in theatre, or even if you just like a contemporary read with a smattering of romance and a heap of interplay between the different characters, then maybe this is your book. Plus Pam is an indie author and sales are always appreciated, so check it out or tell a friend. Oh, and say hi to Hope for me.

 

Pam Elise Harris

Pam Elise Harris

 

Click here to buy Oblivion.