Book Review: The Talisman


Title:  The Talisman

Authors: Stephen King and Peter Straub

Publisher: Pocket Books

Genre: Fantasy/Horror

Rating: 3 1/2 stars out of 5

Anyone who’s read my blog knows that Stephen King is probably my favorite author. I love most of his stuff. I didn’t love this one, probably because it was a collaborative work with Peter Straub, who I’d never read before. The book just didn’t have the full feeling of a King novel. I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I just didn’t enjoy this one as much as I have so many of his others.

The overall plot was good–an adolescent boy on a quest to save his mother’s life, able to switch back and forth between a magical world and this one. There are the typical horror elements, which I liked. Descriptions were on the heavy side sometimes, which I didn’t like as much. The first half of the book lagged in pace, though it did pick up after that. The ending was by far the best part. But for some reason I never fully invested in the fates of the characters.

There was also an interesting twist on werewolves, a dichotomy between “good” Wolves and “bad” Wolves. I really liked Jack’s friend, the good Wolf.

Completely a random thought–I’ve always loved King’s characters, how he brings together a group of different people with different backgrounds and has them interact. There wasn’t as much of that in The Talisman. I wonder if that’s one of the things that felt like it was lacking to me. The addition of Wolf and Jack’s friend Richard definitely helped with the second half.

I have to concede that by now I’ve read the best of Stephen King’s works, (The Stand, The Dark Tower series, IT,) and now maybe I’m just coming down to some of how not-quite-as-great stuff. I guess I’ll see after I finish the next one on my list, Duma Key.

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