“The world was half made of death” – The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub
From Lauren’s Perspective:
Outside of his short stories, this was my first foray into the terrifying world of Stephen King. I took the advice of a few fans and all of them recommended The Talisman. This book seems to have a cult following, people are absolutely in love with it, and I can’t say I disagree.
The book begins and ends with Jack Sawyer and it follows his journey across country in the hopes of saving his sickly mothers life. Filled with other worlds (known as the territories), werewolf friends and foes, evil goat-like creatures with strange eyes, and much more in the way of fantasy and horror than you can count. This intriguing journey will keep you going right until the last page. You will long to discover Jack’s destiny, and devour the book in an attempt to understand all the intricacies of the worlds King and Straub have created.
The book is a long one, so ensure yourself lots of time to allow yourself to fully delve into it. It does have a tendency to drag on at parts since, at its core, it is the story of a twelve-year-old boy walking from an east coast town in New Hampshire to California. However, it is worth the journey.
The best part of this book would have to be the characters. It is easy to love the fighting spirit of Jack Sawyer, despite his young age and terror of the unknown. You want to see him prevail. I fell for Wolf immediately, he was so upbeat and friendly, doing what he could despite his immense fear upon entering our world for the first time. Speedy is a fantastically written character who cryptically gives Jack the information he needs to save his mom and fills in a bit for Jack’s deceased father. And even Richard, with his obsessive need to reject all things abnormal, is likeable with his enduring love for Jack. In fact, even the characters who stray on the side of evil are great in their own way and having the ability to write a character who is so easy to detest is harder than one may think. The owner of the Oatley Tap, Morgan (Sloat and of Orris), Sunlight Gardener; they are all so basely evil you want to continue reading to make sure they get what’s coming to them.
The writing itself was mediocre, but the intricate storyline and elaborately made up world make up for the writing as it isn’t actually bad, it’s just not greatly memorable.
Overall, the book is an interesting read with many great qualities…although to be honest, for Stephen King, I expected to be a bit more frightened.
Plot – 4 out of 5
Writing/Style/Form – 3 out of 5
Characters – 4 out of 5
Enjoyment/Entertainment Value – 4 0ut of 5
Overall Score – 15 out of 20