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The Talisman (The Talisman #1)

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4.12  ·  Rating details ·  88,033 Ratings  ·  2,402 Reviews
A stunning, reverberating epic of fantasy, adventure and odyssey, The Talisman is the story of a young and courageous boy searching for the talisman, the one thing that will save his dying mother. His quest takes him into the menacing Territories where violence, surprise and the titanic struggle between good and evil reach across a mythic landscape, in a novel as extraordi ...more
Paperback, 768 pages
Published 1985 by Penguin Books (first published November 8th 1984)
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Gordon Ralph all i can say is it depends on the 10 year old !...there's nothing particularly yucky or sexually explicit in it, but a bit of violence now and again…moreall i can say is it depends on the 10 year old !...there's nothing particularly yucky or sexually explicit in it, but a bit of violence now and again ! so if your child has read SK books before there shouldnt be a problem .....i was about this age when i read James Herbert (rip!) and SK ...no probs for me ! (less)
Evan The book is great a kid any age that can read well would like it. it does not have much of that stuff a ten year old can't read. but again it depends…moreThe book is great a kid any age that can read well would like it. it does not have much of that stuff a ten year old can't read. but again it depends on the ten year old.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Lisa
Nov 04, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My favorite book of all time! To me, it is just the perfect epic hero's journey story. I love that it takes place in the early 80s; I love the grittiness and ugliness of what happens to Jack as he travels back and forth between this world and The Territories, and I LOVE the character of Wolf.

The first few chapters are a little slow and not very exciting, but they are important and hold crucial story points that will come into play later, so to anyone reading this for the first time, I recommend
...more
Dan Schwent
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, 2017, 2017-books
Twelve year old Jack Sawyer's mother is dying of cancer and the only thing that can save her is The Talisman. Can Jack cross America and The Territories to claim it and save his mother?

I first read The Talisman while waiting for the last three Dark Tower books to be published. Thanks to the magic of getting older, I forgot 95% of what happened. When the ebook fell into my lap, I was ready for a reread.

Brief Side Bar: This book fell into my lap because Goodreads offered me an ebook of my choice
...more
Carol
4.5 Stars. Can't classify this one as horror, but THE TALISMAN is one wild and woolly action-packed fantasy ride!

"Traveling" Jack Sawyer is a good kid and 12 years old when he and his mother flee Los Angeles for New York ultimately ending up in an empty, creepy hotel in New Hampshire; and while Jack questions the moves, he knows deep down his mother is not well.

As the days pass and his mother's rest periods become more frequent, a worrisome Jack explores a closed amusement park nearby and is soo

...more
Dirk Grobbelaar
Tricksy Review

There is so much that happens in this novel, that any thoughts I can cram into one review will always be woefully inadequate.

Don't you sometimes think there's more to life than order?
Don't you want just a little magic?


It is perhaps a good thing to read this book three decades down the line, separated from the hype that so weighed it down when it was first published. 50% Horror; 50% Dark Fantasy. 50% Straub; 50% King, and yet not anything you would have expected from either.

The quo
...more
Dustin
Sep 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: I think everyone should read it, at least once
Shelves: favorites, classics


Recently, a good GR friend agreed that the word 'magical' is a great way of describing The Talisman. In turn, she shared a quote by Markus Zusak:

“Sometimes you read a book so special that you want to carry it around with you for months after you've finished just to stay near it.”

Only now can I not only fully agree, but appreciate the sentiment behind Zusak's words.. although it's uncertain if he was referring to this particular novel. It's incredibly profound, and they describe my feelings tow
...more
Becky
One of the things that I love the absolute best about Stephen King's books (most of them) is that they are immensely re-readable, and depending on where is in one's life, or how many of King's other books one has read, the experience could be completely different each time.

I have loved this book for a long time. It's a quest, it's a great story with great characters, but more than that, it's almost like a prototype of where The Dark Tower series would eventually go... An alt universe mini micro
...more
Lou
May 09, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-reads
Heartwarming journey of self discovery and triumph. Travelling Jack is on a quest to save his ailing mother through worlds within worlds. The story's playing within worlds reminds me of dr Seuss Horton hears a who movie, where actions in one world have repercussions in the other. Jack meets familiar faces and both worlds fate have an effect on each other. He is only 12 years old and he starts to embark on experiences that are painful and heartwarming that mold him into someone unique. He bonds w ...more
David - proud Gleeman in Branwen's adventuring party
Dave's Quick Judgement -

THE DEFENSE
- Book is so cohesive, it feels like it was written by one author instead of two.
- Horror and fantasy elements are blended together perfectly.
- Story is astonishingly original and unpredictable.
- Prose is lush and magical.
- Events are very exciting (particularly the climax).

THE PROSECUTION
- Gruesome moments are not for more gentle readers
(Of course, chances are gentle readers avoid any book with the words "STEPHEN KING" on the cover anyway!)
- Plot
...more
Franco  Santos
May 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
Este es uno de los libros más difíciles de conseguir de King; sólo se consigue usado, e incluso así es complicado hacerse con él. Por suerte llegó a mis manos su más valuada edición: en tapa dura, editorial Plaza y Janés. Es uno de mis libros más importantes.
Sí, quería presumir.

—¿No piensas a veces que en la vida hay algo más, aparte del orden? —Miró la cara de Richard, inocente y escéptica—. ¿No te gustaría un poco de magia, Richard?

Es una novela de la cual esperaba mucho. Había leído muchas
...more
Gorgona Grim
Jan 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-library
"Talisman" je napisan zajedničkim snagama od strane Pitera Strauba i Stivena Kinga. Obojica su obeleženi etiketom horor pisaca iako se znatno više služe suspenzijom i kreiranjem atmosfere iščekivanja, sa provlačenjem horor motiva. Upravo takva je i ova priča, sa izletom u nepoznato i neverovatno.

Džek Sojer ima trinaest godina i veruje da je sasvim običan tinejdžer. U trenutku kada se sa majkom sklanja od očevog poslovnog partnera, shvata da je pred njim izazov koji se proteže na nekoliko svetova
...more
Brian
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It was bound to happen at some point in my reading aloud to my wife that I would finish a book and we would let out a collective groan. I just wish it had been on something less than 670 pages.

I began to stitch together a longish review pinpointing all of the things that didn't work in this book, but I decided that since 2014 hasn't yielded me much precious reading time so far, I'd much prefer to spend free hours lost in another book and not thinking any further on this one. I've not read anythi
...more
Phrynne
Oct 31, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I was reading this book I kept thinking about The Dark Tower series. There were a lot of similarities. And don't these horror writers love their old hotels and fairgrounds as settings. King makes use of both in The Talisman to great effect. I enjoyed this book very much but it was a labour of love to read it. At times it became very wordy and occasionally even a little overdone. Too much gruesome stuff and the reader eventually becomes blasé. I liked the main character, Jack, particularly whe ...more
HT Goodwill
Jun 04, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Stephen King fans, those who like feeling bad when they read
Well written? Yes. Good story line? Yes. Creative? Yes. Worth reading? No.

The problem I have with this book (and many of the Stephen King books I've attempted to read) is that everything in it is presented as being mean, petty, twisted, angry, cruel, etc.

When I read, I'm willing to wade through sad, oppresive, heart-wrenching difficulties with the main characters if necessary, but ultimately, I read fiction in the hopes that it is going to help me feel good about life, forget my troubles, forget
...more
Stephen
4.0 stars. Stephen King knows how to tell a story and this is another good example of his talent for world-building and plotting. Having read this, it is amazing to me that this story was not originally intended as part of the "Dark Tower" universe because the tie-ins are "in your face" for most of the story. In fact, as a huge fan of the Dark Tower series, one of the only reasons that I did not enjoy this story even more is because it wasn't expressly connected to that larger story and so read ...more
Becky
This has always been one of my favorite Stephen King books, as well as one of my favorite books in general. It's one that I've read numerous times, so I was thrilled when the sequel Black House was chosen for the June 2010 group read in the Stephen King group here on Goodreads, because it gave me an excuse to reread this one. Again.

I love Jack. Love. He's so good and pure and honest and brave and willing to do what is needed to do the right thing. I love the way that he starts out scared and un
...more
Amar
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, read-in-2017
Meni se jednostavno nije dopalo. Mnogo sam se mučio čitajući, em zbog prijevoda ( koji mi se nimalo nije dopao, previše jednodimenzionalan ) em zbog mnogih logičkih grešaka u priči. Nije ni čudo što sam knjigu 5 puta dosad počinjao, i nikad nisam prešao stotu stranicu. Iako ima i dosta pozitivnih stvari ( odličan uvod u priču, simptačne likove itd itd ), ova mi jednostavno nije sjela. Da sam je čitao prije nekih desetak godina, siguran sam da bi mi se tad mnogo dopalo...
Probat ću i nastavak pro
...more
Kathryn
For about a three month period, we follow a twelve year old Jack Sawyer on a journey which will take him across the country, but also to other worlds unknown. Jack Sawyer has had a life unlike most kids his age, and his wisdom, determination, and just all-around kick-a$$ness throughout the entire novel, show even a twelve year old boy shouldn't be underestimated.

I think one of the things I liked best about The Talisman was Jack Sawyer. He's the type of character you can't help but love, not onl
...more
Adam Light
I have wanted to reread The Talisman for many years, and I did it! I was worried that it wouldn't be as good as it was the first time around. It has been at least twenty five years since I first read it.
I am happy to say the intervening years did nothing to diminish this epic story's capacity to engage and absorb me. A boy hits the road, on a mission to cross the country and find the mystical object which has the power to heal his cancer-stricken mother.
More coming of age tale than anything else
...more
Chris
This is one of those rare moments when I bump a 4-star that I read many years ago up to 5-star. Usually a book isn't quite as magical on the second read, though with authors like King the rating normally stays the same as before.

But here, I realize that I underestimated just what The Talisman did for me. More than once I thought that it felt like Tolkien. I was often reminded of The Dark Tower (which I had not yet read during my first visit to the Territories). A Mark Twain boy's adventure even
...more
Thomas Strömquist
Jun 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review is really breaking my heart, and I've put a lot of thought into doing it. I decided that, while I of course stand by my earlier review (https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...), I want to urge you to recognize that that one was written by a much younger reader and that, keeping with the Goodreads grading, I finally felt forced to drop the Talisman down to a silly two.

As you can already tell, I do not do this lightly, and I'll be sure to justify my decision...

The main problem is tha
...more
Kevin Bessey
Maybe I had too high of expectations, but I can’t say that I was overly impressed by “The Talisman”. From the very beginning of the story, I could not get into the plot or even any of the plot devices. It wasn’t that the story was hard to believe, and I don’t have a problem with fantasy, it’s just that the execution and premise of the story was really hard to get in to.

Overall, it felt like a patch-work quilt where a collection of short-story adventures were sewn together with 12-year old Jack
...more
Ruth Turner

Audiobook – Narrated by Frank Muller – Excellent narration.

As always Frank Muller gives an outstanding narration.

***

Ebook:

I can remember the first time I read this book, many years ago, and how I struggled to get into it. Coming on the back of Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Cujo, Christine and Pet Sematary, I kept thinking WTF?! What was he inhaling, snorting, drinking or smoking when he wrote this, and where could I get some.

I managed to get through it without the aid of any mind-altering
...more
Scott Rhee
Jul 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, dark-fantasy
When I first read "The Talisman" I was roughly the same age as, if not younger than, the 12-year-old protagonist, Jack Sawyer. I remember it being a pretty good adventure story about a young boy on a quest to save his mother, and I remember enjoying it, but I couldn't remember much about it.

I'm in my 40s now, older and hopefully a bit wiser, and I happened to stumble upon a paperback copy of the book amongst my vast collection of tomes, so I decided to pick it up and zip through it. I figured,
...more
Nikki
Oct 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I've never read anything written solely by Peter Straub, so I didn't really know what to expect from a collaboration between him and Stephen King. Honestly, in the end, it just felt mostly like a Stephen King book, but maybe that's because I haven't read any Peter Straub. In terms of the writing on a basic level, The Talisman is a pretty easy read. The flow is pretty good and there aren't any stupidly show-offy words or anything like it. At times it does feel a bit like it could do with some edi ...more
David Sarkies
May 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who like Stephen King
Recommended to David by: A friend I was living with
Shelves: horror
The Horror of Vulnerability
8 August 2015

Well, this is my last night in Phuket and even though I wrote this review a couple of years ago I still need to go over it again just to iron out all of the little spelling and grammatical mistakes that I may have made. Okay, you are probably asking me why, since it is my last night and it is a Saturday, why I am not off having fun. Well, I just spent the day cruising around Phang Na Bay looking at all of the awesome islands, including the island that was
...more
Dawn
I went back and forth for a while with my rating for this book. Some sections were a solid five. Some a pretty solid four.. But then everything in between those.. It sort of dragged. There was just so much journeying, so so so much on the road type crap. Which I get! It's just that kind of book, a hero with a quest, obstacles along the way. I like that, it's classic fantasy. But it just got to be too much.. It seemed repetitive in a lot of ways. The stops along the way were interesting.. But the ...more
Shannon
May 01, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My only problem with this book is that I can totally tell which lines were penned by the pretentious and long winded (yes, even compared to Stephen King) Peter Straub. I'm fairly certain he wrote most of the first chapter or two, which is why I had this book on my shelf for a couple years before I could ever get into it. Finally one day I decided to power through the bleak and wordy beginning. After that, I only stopped reading for bathroom breaks and food, even foregoing sleep to finish this am ...more
Susan🌸
How to review a Stephen King masterpiece? A beautiful story of an extremely brave boy who embarks on an epic, life changing expedition. His true, lion heart provides him with the drive and determination to complete an adventure that is fully beyond his widest imagination.

As always King's writing jumps off the page and right into your own imagination. He takes us on a journey through unbelievable lands that pull us from one extreme to another, twists and turns our hearts with beautifully, perfec
...more
Agustín  Szeinman
Man, what a fantastic read! I think king is at his best when he writes about journeys. It can be a long one like the dark tower or a rather short one like this one but it's all about the characters we meet on the road, the ways to get to the objectives. I would encourage anyone to read this book! On to black house now!
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The Talisman (2 books)
  • Black House (The Talisman, #2)

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“Wolf! Right here and now!” 46 likes
“But he had never seen Myrna in practice...never that close up. He had been impressed and a little frightened by the contrast between seeing ballet on stange, where everyone seemed to either glide or mince effortlessly on the tips of their pointes. and seeing it from less than five feet away, with harsh daylight pouring in the floor-to-ceiling windows and no music- only the choreographer rythmically clapping his hands and yelling harsh criticisms. No praise, only criticisms. Their faces ran with sweat. Their leotards were wet with sweat. The room, as large and airy as it way, stank of sweat. Sleek muscles trembled and fluttered on the nervous edge of exhaustion. Corded tendons stood out like insulated cables. Throbbing veins popped out on foreheads and necks. Except for the choreographer's clapping and angry, hectoring shouts, the only sounds were the thrup-thud of ballet dancers on pointe moving across the floor and harsh, agonized panting for breath. Jack had suddenly realized that these dancers were not just earning a living, they were killing themselves. Most of all he remembered their expressions- all that exhausted concentration, all that pain... but transcending the pain, or at least creeping around its edges, he had seen joy. Joy was unmistakably what that look was, and it scared Jack because it had seemed inexplicable.” 36 likes
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