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The Talisman

(The Talisman #1)

by
4.13  ·  Rating details ·  107,226 ratings  ·  3,382 reviews
On a brisk autumn day, a thirteen-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: his father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back acr ...more
Kindle Edition, 768 pages
Published (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)
Stephen Just because something is great doesn't mean there needs to be a movie. Take "The Catcher in The Rye," e.g., IT doesn't have a movie, but it's conside…moreJust because something is great doesn't mean there needs to be a movie. Take "The Catcher in The Rye," e.g., IT doesn't have a movie, but it's considered to be one of the greatest fiction ever written.

It was very popular in the eighties and became the #1 National Bestseller. It made people become more interested in fantasy, and without it, the huge fantasy spark in the last decade may have never happened.

Perhaps the reason you've never heard of it is BECAUSE there isn't a movie, because it seems like today, the only way you hear about books in mainstream media is if there's a movie based off of it. Its a fact that a book sells quickly when people hear about a new movie based off of it. This year, The BFG is a summer movie, and the book by Roald Dahl became a new Amazon bestseller because of it.(less)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  107,226 ratings  ·  3,382 reviews


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Mario the lone bookwolf
I wish King would have more often cooperated with other authors, this one is in some parts so different than his general work and I would really like to know who wrote which parts and how it must generally be to have the honor of working together with the King. You lucky person, Mr. Straub, you lucky person.

King writes far too few dark high fantasy with worldbuilding and in this one, we see the potential of the (view spoiler)
...more
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
Lyn
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird book.

The great thing about us residents of the country of READING is that we are a diverse, eclectic bunch. We like and dislike all sorts of different books and for different reasons. Sometimes a few of us will like a book or writer, but for completely different motivations and coming from different perspectives altogether.

“It had great action”

“There was wonderful characterization and dialogue”

“It was a clever allegory and well written.”

Etc. etc.

And so we come to Stephen King’s 1984 collab
...more
Johann (jobis89)
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Everything goes away, Jack Sawyer, like the moon. Everything comes back, like the moon.”

Only the Talisman will save young Jack Sawyer’s dying mother and he must embark on a quest across America (and into another world) in order to obtain it.

I had been anticipating The Talisman since forever, I can’t even put my finger on why, I just had the feeling it would be a book I would fall in love with. And if I’m completely honest, it just wasn’t what I had hyped it up to be in my head. I still REALLY e
...more
Dan Schwent
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, 2017-books, horror
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
Matthew
4.5 to 5 stars

The Talisman is quite epic and not necessarily for the casual King fan. If you happen to try and make this your first King book ever, you may not want to try anymore - and you might not even make it through this one. But, if you have read several of his "shorter" books, dabbled in some of his bigger offerings (The Stand, IT, etc.), and maybe even taken in a Dark Tower book or two, I think you will be ready to graduate to The Talisman.

It doesn't quite feel like a King book. That mak
...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
Kenny
“You don’t own a thing unless you can give it up, what does it profit a man, it profits him nothing, it profits him zilch, and you don’t learn that in school, you learn it on the road, you learn it from Ferd Janklow, and Wolf, and Richard going head-first into the rocks like a Titan II that didn’t fire off right.”
Stephen King ~~ The Talisman


1

Believe it or not, THE TALISMAN is the first Stephen King novel I have read. I wish I hadn't put reading King off for so long. I would have loved him in my t
...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!)
-
...more
Pantelis Andreou
‘Everything has consequences, and some of those consequences might be on the uncomfortable side.’

I finally made it... that was a huge book.. Look I’m all in for big books but this one surely didn’t have to be that long...

Some parts surely were very exciting and filled with high tension but some other parts were moving like a slug and i felt like i was drifting to some other territories of my mind.

I kept saying to myself that this is not a dark tower book, this is not a dark tower book but I coul
...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
Apatt
Aug 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, fantasy
Review talisman

There is a running debate among King fans whether the early Stephen King books (first published during the 70s and 80s) are better than the post-millennium modern King. Like all such debates, there is no right answer, as it is entirely subjective. Of his post-2000 books I have only read 11/22/63 which I think is very good, but it did not leave a deep impression like his “classic” works, The Stand, The Shining etc. The Talisman (first published in 1984) is King’s first collabor
...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
Stepheny
Guess who finally finished the World's Longest Buddy Read?

Me.



Twelve-year-old Jack Sawyer has one mighty task ahead of him. He must make a journey across the country in order to save his mother. A quest? Aye, you bet. A quest worthy of another young lad we know and love- Jake Chambers. Twinners? Mayhap, mayhap not.

Jack’s father died leaving him with his b-list movie star mother. She’s dying of cancer. Sucking on cigarettes and living the good life, she knows her son must go. Even if she doesn’t
...more
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
In 2019 I'm going to go back and review the King books I love and cherished but never fully reviewed for Goodreads because Goodreads wasn't a thing when I was reading King's work in the 90s. You can follow along on Instagram #ReviewKing2019

The Talisman is my favorite author collaboration. Two of my favorite authors, Straub & King, combined their unique storytelling voices to pen one of my all time favorite, dark fantasies.
I first read this on a family vacation to Dillon Beach, CA. We rented a ho
...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
Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile)
2018 Reading Challenge
2018 Subjects Specific Reading Challenge
I have 30 books with specific subjects that I need to read


Book 16: A book by two or more authors
Stephen King and Peter Straub

Magical adventure
Talisman

First Sentence: On September 15th, 1981, a boy named Jack Sawyer stood where the water and land come together, hands in the pockets of his jeans, looking out at the steady Atlantic.

Having read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn just recently; it is easy to see what have sparked the
...more
Edward Lorn
2.5 stars.

In many ways this book reminds me of myself. A bullet train at each end couldn't convincingly carry its massively distended midsection. Only way to get that bloated middle moving would be to tear it out and fashion a sail out of its pages. Still, the beginning and the end could bald new tires tearing ass out of the gate and across the finish line. That middle tho...that shit's a pitstop when you've got a full tank and four new shoes.

Sara
I defy you to find me a greater, more perfectly attune, collaborative duo than Stephen King and Peter Straub.

Seriously.

Go.

I'll wait.

See! You couldn't do it!

These are two men who traffic in the dark. Authors who have spent their careers crafting nightmares. One prefers the harder stuff, brutal, bloody, lots of cursing and (for some reason) more references to shit and farting than have ever made me entirely comfortable (anyone else remember the book about people shitting out aliens? "Dreamcatche
...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
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
Leo .
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Classic! Epic! Timeless! Two of my all time favourite authors. 🐯👍
Becky
Alrighty, well, this is going to be a short and sweet review, because I've read this book 73 times and have already reviewed it twice on Goodreads previously, and I'm feeling rather review-lazy today.

If you want to check out either of those previous reviews, here are links:
2010 read: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
2016 read: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

That is all. :)
...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
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
Jamie Stewart
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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740,217 followers
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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The Talisman (2 books)
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