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The Stranger's Guide To Talliston

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Abandoned and alone, thirteen-year-old Joe's world is shattered when he enters a deserted council house and becomes trapped within a labyrinth protecting the last magical places on earth. There, Joe discovers a book charting this immense no-man's land, without time or place, its thirteen doors each leading to a different realm. Hunted by sinister foes, the boy is forced ev ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 11th 2019 by Unbound
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  25 ratings  ·  17 reviews

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Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader
Jul 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: earcs

Starting this novel, I wasn’t sure what I was in for, and I’m glad of that. This book had so much to offer and I was really pleased with Tarrow’s take on this YA fantasy.

In Joe, we find a young boy who is alone and struggling to follow the rules his parents made to keep him safe. With his parents not around and the hiding place no longer safe, Joe finds himself starting an adventure that he never imagined could even exist as he tries to locate his parents and get ‘home.’ Whe
Susan Nicol
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can't say enough good things about this book. It was an adventure, a journey into the unknown and an effortless piece of story telling that weaved wonder and magic into every chapter. The story of Joe and his adventures in the mystical place called Talliston is unique, incredibly detailed and researched and in reading this, I learnt so much about the world around us and how we can see it in a truly different light. You can tell the author has lived this story, has passion in his soul and has b ...more
Karen Cole
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I was a child I loved nothing better than exploring second-hand bookstores or book stalls at summer fayres, hoping to find a magical story I hadn't read before. Holding the stunningly beautiful cover of The Stranger's Guide To Talliston reminded me of the sense of anticipation I felt when I made a particularly exciting discovery.
That feeling continued as I turned the pages of this wonderful book; Joe might have a Wolverine action figure and he flees on his bike from his pursuers who a
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I finished this book yesterday and I am still processing what happened and trying to organize my thoughts. This book is full on, described as YA (young adult) epic fantasy – they were not lying!

The Beginning

We meet Joe, aka the boy, after something disastrous has happened to his family. He is hiding out and waiting for them to find him. He is living by the rules set down to keep him safe, rule number 6; A good boy takes his medicine. There is one problem, Joe is out and needs to get
Em (Diversify Your Shelf)
Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
TW: this book contains references to incest and rape

*I chose this on Net Galley*

2.5 Stars

This book was... a lot.

I really liked the premise of it (I think the fact that Talliston is a real house is really fun) and the idea of the doors connecting the realms of magic was really fun.I am all for the idea of the magic being within you and someone having to go on a journey to realise how much of a badass they are. The premise of this book is wonderful a
Aug 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We begin as all stories do...with foreshadowing of bigger things to come while we try to outrun the current situation we're in. Here, we've a young lad nervously awaiting his parents return after an ambush in the woods and explicit instructions were issued for him to GO, STAY, and WAIT. Well, can you guess how THAT turned out? Yeah...probably...but in truth, it wasn't completely his fault. Things got out of hand, and when he ran, he HAD to run; he just didn't know the open arms he was running in ...more
Cassandra MADEUP BookBlog
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are looking for a YA fantasy thats a slow wander through a a world that’s simple yet pretty in a way that traditional fairy lands are... then put this down, and give yourself a shake before picking this up again because you are in for something so much MORE than that!

Joe is a very relatable character and I am sure that he will appeal to so many people, whether for nostalgia or because they are currently having issues following their parents rules. Whether you are sat rememberi
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first found out about the book after reading a newspaper article about the (real) semi-detached, ex-council, Essex house “Talliston” - the (joint) central “character” in the book (along with Joe).

As a middle-aged man, my excuse for buying a “young adult” book was to give it to my son who is turning thirteen in a few days (also, the book comes with a “golden ticket” with the chance of staying in the (real) Talliston house!).

As I had a few days before my son’s birthday, I
Amba Kumar
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
The story begins with a lost and scared little boy whose parents have disappeared, who needs to take mysterious medicine every 13 hours and who is living in an abandoned American school bus on a wooded roundabout. Running from some mysterious pursuers he falls by accident into a magical labyrinth through a dilapidated council house where he is hiding. There he meets Gunner, a scarily violent teenager who forces him into the labyrinth, So far so good and the story hooks the reader in effectively. ...more
Shaun Nightshade
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me a crazy feeling. It looks and sounds like an old time adventure story in the mould of The Secret Garden. The cover gave it that leather look that looks so tactile and old, as if this is a tome that has been rediscovered on a shelf. The story though isn’t what you’d expect from such a book.

Joe is on the run, his parents have disappeared and he’s hiding. He seems to have been hiding all his life. He’s been taught to live by a set of rules and never get friendly with a
Bedelya (clockwork.bookdragon) Moreno-Roth
Wow what an amazingly magical journey. I absolutely loved all the different rooms and the adventures they contained. It was so awesome that protagonist was “time traveling” across the globe and discovering the clues to unlock the next room. It so fun to try to unravel the puzzle myself as I read along. It was like I was experiencing the same awe and wonder the character was experiencing.

There were a few times I got confused as to what was going on. Fortunately some of it was sorted out as I con
Josh & Mara
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
Full review featured in bonus episode 3 of our monthly podcast, Hello Fellow Kids:

A time- and space-hopping adventure through many less-discussed historical buildings in the world (and a unique real-world contest), this book is sort of like what would happen if you tried to condense the entirety of D.J. MacHale's ten Pendragon novels into a single book under 400 pages. It is filled with interesting ideas, places, and people, but has very little time to explore each one. If you can keep
Jul 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange of an honest review.*

I liked the tale of Joe Darkin, on the run with his family, who stumbles on a secret labyrinth that can travel through time and space. I loved the different settings, ranging from Victorian England to futuristic Japan and the growth that the main character went through.
The writing style didn't convinced me at all: I struggled to reach the end of the book, getting often bore
Jul 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebooks, unbound
Great ideas throughout this magical tale of Joe Darkin and his adventures in the labyrinth within the house of Talliston. I think ultimately there were too many ideas and too many concepts to take on though - I was left a bit flummoxed by who everyone actually was and where they fitted in. Half the number of rooms would have made a better story, leaving room for a sequel. Not sure I entirely liked the ending either - I didn't find it very hopeful or uplifting.
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
This was an interesting premise and I was really wanting to enjoy this, but unfortunately the writing felt all over the place and I struggled to remain connected or interested, a shame as with a little work this could be really good

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Mark Bowsher
Aug 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An incredible, completely immersive and gripping tale. Somewhere between Narnia and Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy. A slice of purest escapism.
Claire Randall
Sep 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed it and so different to what l normally read! Now want to visit the house myself to see it in person!!!
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