Friday 30 September 2022

FAIRY TALE by Stephen King

Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher - for their world or ours.

Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself - and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

I always look forward to getting stuck into a new Stephen King story, so when Hachette Australia sent me a copy of this book, I couldn't wait to get started.

Charlie's really young when his life changes forever. After losing his mother, his father tumbles down the rabbit hole of alcoholism. This leaves him alone for a lot of the time, but he learns to take care of himself as well as others. So, it's no surprise when at seventeen he ends up caring for an elderly neighbour and his dog. What is a surprise is where this unexpected friendship leads him...

Wow. This is fantastic! I was hooked instantly. Even though I found it hard to put down, I paced myself to savour every moment of this hefty novel.

King has an addictive way of drawing readers into a seemingly average situation involving an everyday-kinda person. Then, he tangles you up in these people's lives. And ultimately, you're so caught up in the intricate web of words he weaves, that you can't escape. 

These average lives might start out that way, but it doesn't take long for the extraordinary, horrifying and creepy stuff to appear. And by then, you care so much about the characters that you feel everything that happens. Very deeply. 😣

I didn't know if Charlie Reade's adventure was going to lead to a happily ever after, but I was determined to follow him to The End. 

Of course, the fact we end up going down a spiral staircase inside a shed, and venture into a dark fantastical world, only made everything that much more exciting. And dangerous. But I'm getting ahead of myself, because before we go there, we get to know Charlie and Howard, get to experience a true friendship that stems from a young man's personal promise to himself. As well as the gorgeous dog that ties everything together. I seriously loved Radar. She's the best.

Charlie's quest kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through. Or is that down? I found the Other as fascinating as the people who inhabit this world, and didn't lose interest at all. I loved Charlie for all his kindness and determination, as much as his flaws. He's no Disney prince, but I think he's something a lot better.

Fairy Tale is exactly what the title says. It's a modern fairy tale that somehow manages to stay original while referencing countless amounts of folklore, myth, movies, and more. This might start out as the story of a boy who loses a lot too young, but it's really about a helpful guy who ends up falling in love with an elderly dog and will do anything to save her. But it's also a love letter to stories. To every story. To all stories.  

It's heartwrenching, heartwarming, and tremendously entertaining. Not to mention highly imaginative.

I LOVE this Book of King Fairy Tales.

Fairy Tale, September 2022, ISBN 9781399705424, Hodder & Stoughton

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