Tag: Printed

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.


The Unsigned Guide | Review

Title: The Unsigned Guide

Author: –

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 864

Rating: 7/10


The Unsigned Guide

The Unsigned Guide


Boy, oh boy – I have 864 words to cover, and I’m not sure how to fill them up. I guess I should start out by explaining just exactly what the Unsigned Guide is – basically, it’s a website that’s designed as a database for unsigned musicians, and you can pay a certain amount of money each month to gain access to it. In return, if you sign up for at least a year, you get a paperback, printed copy of the guide, which is what I’m reviewing here.

Unfortunately, my copy is a couple of years out of date, but I don’t think I can let the recency of the data influence my review – after all, if I wanted the latest edition then I would have upgraded my membership, or I would have just used the website. As it is, I didn’t, but not because of the service that was provided – because I wasn’t doing many live music dates, and so I didn’t see much point continuing my membership. That’s not a complaint against their service, which was top notch, and a bargain for the price that I paid – I just didn’t have a use for it.

As a consequence, whilst I’d love to say great things about this, I think that needs to be tempered with the fact that it isn’t for everyone – it’s perfect for the manager of a touring band, but maybe not so much use to an indie singer/songwriter who’s looking for open mic nights. After all, most of the information that’s contained in the Unsigned Guide is available elsewhere as well – it’s just not as easy to get to. I say ‘most’ – organisations are able to submit themselves for inclusion, which usually works out to their benefit anyway, and so they do have access to a lot of stuff that you might not be able to get elsewhere, as well.


The Unsigned Guide

The Unsigned Guide


And it covers all sorts of areas, too – whatever you’re looking for, you’ll find it here, whether you’re trying to book some shows or whether you’re trying to connect with the press or to shoot a music video. Don’t get me wrong, you still need to do all of the hard work yourself, by sending out e-mails or picking up the telephone, but this will be a bit like your bible whilst you’re doing it. You’ll find yourself flicking through it on an almost daily basis, especially if you’re trying to go pro and you’re dedicating your full attention to your music.

When it comes to gaining access to the Unsigned Guide, you have a couple of options – you can either pay monthly, or you can take out a long-term subscription. The latter is usually the best value for money, and you have to do that if you want to own a physical copy of the directory. It’s worth doing, because you can carry it around with you and start looking through it on the train or on the bus, and then you can follow up with it next time you’re back at your computer.

One of the good things about having the physical copy is that it also contains plenty of bonus material, such as interviews and thought pieces on the state of the music industry, from the people who are in the know. Because of that, it’s worth reading through the introductions and the appendices, although it does take a while to make progress because the print is pretty small and the pages are thin due to the quality of the paper.


The Unsigned Guide

The Unsigned Guide


The best way to describe The Unsigned Guide, then, is as a musical equivalent of the Yellow Pages, created by musicians for musicians to give them all of the tools that they need to forge their careers. I’d be interested to know how many successful bands and musicians owe their success to the guide – even if you’re a manager, rather than an unsigned musician trying to make it on your own, then you’re going to find it useful.

So is it worth it? Yes, it is – for the price that you pay, you easily get your money back. After all, the monthly cost of it is just the same as a couple of pints, and less than a train ticket would cost if you had to travel somewhere. And if you pay monthly, like I ended up doing after my first year was up, it’s easy to cancel, too – you could always use it for a couple of months while you’re arranging a tour, then cancel your membership, and then sign back up again when you’re looking for somewhere to shoot a video.

And so there you have it – that’s how to write an 864 word long review of The Unsigned Guide. It’s been interesting, like a crossover of two different worlds – the music that I make and the books that I read. I already read a lot of stuff about writing and marketing, but music is under-represented in my bookcase. All of the pages I own about music seem to be in this one book. Hope this helps.


The Unsigned Guide

The Unsigned Guide


Click here to buy The Unsigned Guide.