Brett's Reviews > The Talisman

The Talisman by Stephen King
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Sep 09, 12

bookshelves: fantasy, popular-fiction
Read from July 22 to September 09, 2012

This book was a disappointment. I've never read Peter Straub outside of this collaboration, but I've read plenty of Stephen King over the years, and long been a defender of his work from those that believe they are above reading his stuff. I think his novels are often truly scary, and have a way of twanging a certain nostalgic small town feeling that reminds me of my own upbringing.

This one just didn't do it for me. I was excited first of all from the blurbs inside the cover, telling me this one of the most terrifying books of the 20th century, etc. Well, it more properly belongs on the fantasy shelf than horror. Nothing wrong with that of course, but King has been a much more effective fantasy writer in the Dark Tower series than he is here.

The happenings that take place in the Territories just don't work for me. There's not much tension, the monsters are not especially surprising or original, and characters like Osmond seem much more comic than a source of dread. The best sequences happen in our world--the Oatley tap section and the sequence at Sunlight Gardener's school are the most memorable parts of the book. Ordinary humans do a fine job of scaring us in these sections.

On the whole, the book never shakes the feeling of a fairy tale. It never genuinely feels like reality is coming through, and the final conclusion is never in doubt. It has some good moments, and some memorable characters (I mean Wolf, of course), and even is not badly written. But if you can't make me feel over the course of a 750+ page book, we've got a problem.

There's lots of good Stephen King out there, but this ain't it.

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