“ Authors: Stephen King,Peter Straub / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 July 2012 / Genre: Horror / Subcategory: Horror & Ghost Stories General / Publisher: Orion Publishing Co / Title: The Talisman / ISBN 13: 9781409103868 / ISBN 10: 1409103868 / Alternative EAN: 9780340952719 „
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I first read this book many years ago when I still lived at home, and even though I've only read it a couple of times since, this will always remain to be one of my most favourite books of all time.
A step back from Stephen King's usual reign of terror, he teams up with Peter Straub to bring us this epic fantasy opus featuring Jack Sawyer, or known as Travelling Jack.
As a first read, there are parts that are rough going, and sometimes you feel like you really don't want to keep going, but once you push through, you are rewarded time and time again with some of the most shockingly profound moments I've ever experienced in a book.
I'm unsure who exactly of the two authors is responsible for the brilliantly vivid descriptions, but I am thankful for them either way. It's been years since I've read this book through properly, yet I can still see the characters in my head as clear as the laptop I write this on.
Jack is able to flip between two worlds, our world, and the other world, 'The Territories'. He sets out to help save his mum who is an aging B-movie actor, dying from cancer. He discovers that for every person in the real world, there is a twin in The Territories, called a Twinner. They share their births and deaths and life events in synch. Twinners are able to 'flip' between worlds, but only into their counterparts bodies.
In The Territories, the Queen is dying - Jack's mother is the Territories Queen, and it is his job to find the cure, the Talisman, is the only thing that can help her.
The book is long, and it takes you on a pretty magnificent journey between two worlds, with characters as memorable as your first beloved pet.
A while ago I wrote a review on here about my favourite authors and in it I mentioned that I tend to only ever read a book once then move on to something new. With all the fresh and new stories that are available to read I rarely, if ever revisit an old book - however I made a rare exception to this rule after I read a review on here about this book and I decided to go back on the road with 'Travelling Jack'and rediscover the joy of 'The Talisman'
Originally released in 1981 the story is written by my favourite author - Stephen King and is co-written by Peter Straub. King is probably a more recognised author whereas Straub is less well-known to casual readers but is a significant name in the horror and fantasy genre. This book was written when Stephen King had emerged into the limelight as a force to be reckoned with; Carrie, Salems Lot and Cujo had already been released to rave reviews which gained King a loyal fan following and It, Needful Things, Insomnia etc were still to come. Rather than stick to the authors' usual genre of supernatural horror in this book the two writers venture into the realm of fantasy, although there are still some intense and suspensful moments.
I'm getting ahead of myself already in this review and have just realised that I haven't even written a plot summary. So, for those unfamiliar with the story of The Talisman the story follows a young boy named Jack.
Jack Sawyer is 11 years old and is the son of a famous film actress who is terminally ill (although she keeps the true extent of her illness away from Jack figuring he is too young to understand). Jacks father was killed some months before and the two only have each other to look out for them, both relying on the other for support. When Jacks mother suddenly decides to pack up the family home and move into an out-of-season hotel to get away from the demands of Morgan Stoat - her late husbands business partner Jack finds himself in a new place knowing noone. Stoat is trying to finalise business arrangements but is becoming too insistent and wanting some peace and quiet the pair attempt to get away fromit all.
With his mother ill but putting a brave face on for his sake Jack spends his days milling around the town trying to find ways to pass his time. One day he meets an old, friendly guy by the name of Speedy Parker who is looking after the towns amusement park maintaining the rides and making general repairs around the site. The pair embark on an unlikely frienship with Jack helping him out when he can but Speedy is hiding a secret and appears to know all about Jack and his mother and over time reveals to Jack that he may be able to offer a way to help save his mothers life.
Speedy explains to Jack over 'The Territories'; a parrallel universe where people and places are familiar but are fundamentally different. Only certain, special people can 'flip' but by doing so they face danger from the residents, animals and strange enviroment that they find there. Great risk carries great reward though and by embarking on a journey to find The Talisman Jack has the chance to save his mother as well as the fate of the people in the territories but is he strong enough to undertake the challenge? We accompany Jack on his journey and share his heartbreak, tears and triumphs on the way and we too become willing passengers on the trip of his lifetime...
At over 1100 pages long this isn't a book to read in one sitting, the vastness of the story is matched by the authors' imagination in the creation of this epic story. I was hooked from the start of the book when I first read it over 20 years ago and revisiting the story over the past couple of weeks I found myself submerged into the world of Jack and the Terrortories once again.
I couldn't help it; the story grabbed my from the start and by allowing time to get to know Jack, Speedy and the other characters once again I became attached to them all and even though I remembered the ending and outcome I had forgotten far more than I realised. I had forgotten just how realistic the parrallel world had been portrayed, the attention to detail in describing the enviroment and its inhabitants and how much I loved some of the people Jack met on his journey.
I wont reveal any spoilers in my thoughts of the book, but will warn you that you will become emotionally attached to the characters and people you are introduced to. There was one encounter in particular with someone that when an inevitable tragedy happened I admit to shedding a tear myself. 37 years old and crying over a *book* I never get that involved in books, but that character and the heartbreak that Jack expressed really got to me; I must be going soft in my old age!
As well as the tragic there are thrilling moments that capture your imagination and really gets you rooting for Jack, you want him to succeed in his quest and become frustrated with events that take place. He doesn't get an easy ride and has to fight for everything he gets and at all times you are reminded that he is just a young boy and really doesn't deserve all the cr*p that gets thrown at him. Both King and Straub really develop Jack and he really is the hero of the whole story who has to go through every emotion possible with only one thing on his mind; to save his mother.
If you are familiar with other books by Stephen King you will know that his strengths lie in his characterisations and descriptions. Often described as being overly wordy some people find his books to be too descriptive which is a crazy accusation in my opinion, by building such strong characters you cannot possibly not know them and therefore buy in to the stories far more than you would from other authors. This book is no different and is a fine example of him creating a whole world full of characters who you get to know and either love or hate. it is a classic good vs evil tale that does take you on the cliched 'journey' and by the end of the book you are just as exhausted as the main characters.
Exhausted but more than satisfied sums up my experience when I completed this epic story but more than anything I was delighted to have retaken the journey with Jack and the cast of characters he meets on the way.
If you dismiss this book as being just another 'horror' story then you are selling both yourself and the two authors short, It is far removed from Kings other works and is a change of direction away from his usual genre. There are moments of terror but this isn't a horror story, there are chapters that feature blood and nightmarish images but these are needed to fully tell the story, what is familiar is the depth of character, the descriptive narrative and the 'feel' of the book and really it was an utter joy to experience even for the second time.
I paid £6.00 from Amazon for my copy of the book (my cover is the same as the image above) and consider this to be a great price, my original copy was long lost years ago and it is thanks to one dooyooer in particular that I revisted this book; so a big 'thankyou' to sparkles29 for her review.
The Talisman gets a perfect 5/5 dooyoo star rating from me, and as you can probably tell from this review would come highly recommended to any Stephen King or Fantasy genre fan.
Thanks for reading my review.
I am an avid reader and have been as long as I can remember. I was devouring Readers Digest monthly when I was about twelve and yes, I know that's sad! Over the years my tastes have changed and authors have fallen in and out of favour. I have however always been, and still remain, an avid fan of Stephen King, master of the horror/suspense genre. I've read many of King's offerings several times over and some of them until, quite literally, they have fallen apart in my hands.
The Talisman is the first collaboration between Stephen King and Peter Straub, himself a bestselling author of horror/fantasy novels. It would be fair to say that this is in my top five books. Actually it's in my top three, and it's not number one or two.
Written in 1984, The Talisman is a 700 page novel centring around Jack Sawyer, a twelve year old boy who must journey from New Hampshire to California to find the mystical Talisman in an attempt to save his retired, B-movie star mother, Lily, who is dying of cancer, and much, much more besides (no pressure then). Jack's father is dead. He died in a hunting 'accident', which actually turns out to be murder at the hands of Morgan Sloat, his business partner and brother-in-law. Jack and Lily are holed up in the Alhambra Hotel in Arcadia Beach, a faded seaside town, and hiding from Sloat, a truly repulsive character who makes my skin crawl. Sloat is harassing Lily in an attempt to gain control of the Sawyer's family share of the business.
Whilst at the hotel Jack is befriended by a mysterious old handyman named Speedy Parker (who should definitely be played by Morgan Freeman in the film version!). He affectionately nicknames Jack 'Travelling Jack', and teaches him how to 'flip' between our world and the Territories, a parallel world where the magic is strong, and where individuals have 'Twinners'. If one's twinner is killed, the other is likely to die in a similar way. Lily's twinner is Queen Laura DeLoessian, queen of the Territories, and she is dying of a terrible wasting disease.
And so Jack's epic journey begins. Although he sets out on his quest alone he finds help, and a loyal friend, in Wolf (The Wolfs are the Territories' version of werewolves, who are loyal to the Queen), and later on his oldest friend Richard who, ironically, is Sloat's son.
In both worlds the dangers are many and Jack must escape from the most desperate, life threatening situations and is pursued by the most diabolical characters, the worst of which being Morgan of Oris (no prizes for guessing who that is in 'our' world) who is hell bent on disposing of the Queen so he can take control of the Territories. And it doesn't help when Jack realises that each time he 'flips' he can cause utter devastation to both worlds in the form of earthquakes...
Although this book is classified as a fantasy it has more than its fair share of dark moments. It's brutal and utterly terrifying in parts as we see the sheer horrors that befall Jack. But it's also a story about hope, the coming of age of a young lad who refuses to give up despite almost losing both his will and his sanity and the ultimate triumph of Good over Evil.
The writing itself is quite beautiful and incredibly vivid. Although who actually wrote what is known only to King and Straub I personally think that, at times, it's quite easy to pinpoint which writer penned a particular section or chapter as each has their own personal style. Straub, in my opinion, is by far the most descriptive author and really goes into great detail to 'set the scene'. Sometimes he can be a little long-winded, admittedly, but I think the novel would be a much poorer body of work without this depth because it really brings the pages to life - I can actually visualise the Blasted Lands, a noxious radioactive wasteland in The Territories that corresponds to the nuclear test grounds in Nevada in 'our' world, over which Jack travels in a small train.
King, on the other hand, is more succinct in his delivery, but I like the contrast between the two and I think it works well. Where King excels for me, however, is how he can lull me into a false sense of security; an innocuous comment here, a throwaway remark there that on the surface I may not take any notice of but that, in reality, are pulling at my subconscious and dragging me, kicking and screaming with my hands over my eyes, into a place where I really don't want to go because I just KNOW that something really, really bad is going to happen. Sometimes the suspense is palpable; I can almost feel the pages crackling.
I've read The Talisman at least four times now. It takes me on an emotional journey that no other book has ever managed to do. I am lost in Jack Sawyer's world from the first page, rooting for him with everything I've got. I've laughed out loud, cried buckets and actually wanted to hide under the bed covers in some parts. But, without fail, every few years a voice pops up in my head (I think it's Morgan Freeman) and tells me that the time has come to head on back to the Alhambra Hotel in New Hampshire. Mind you, I think I need to invest in a new copy...preferably a hardback this time!
It is common-place in the music-industry to see collaborations artists and producers will often come together, work to each others strengths and develop a song that they perhaps couldnt have achieved alone.
Now imagine that the song is a book, and that the artists in question are two world-renowned horror authors; Stephen King and Peter Straub. It goes without saying that co-written books are not all that common and never have been; a special understanding between those involved is paramount, as otherwise the authors writing styles and ideas for the narrative may clash, resulting in their book becoming something of a mess.
The Talisman is anything but messy however, and as a standalone book, is rather unique. Given the authors that are behind it, its a surprise that The Talisman follows the fantasy genre a lot closer than horror, though the latter inevitably pops up from time to time. Who writes what and how much is known only by King and Straub, though the result of their own collaboration is far from half-hearted, totting up to a massive 767 pages in length.
First published in 1984, The Talisman follows twelve year-old Jack Sawyer as he moves to the east coast of the United States, where his mother Lily plans for them to stay at a place called the Alhambra Inn. Its all a far cry from his old life in California, but Jack is a wise young lad and happy as long as his mother is content.
But since Jacks father, Phil Sawyer, had died a few years previously, his Uncle Morgan Sloat had proven a persistent thorn in his mothers side, relentlessly pursuing the Sawyers and harassing Lily to sign away the side of the business that Phil had once ran. As it turns out, this is partly why Jacks mother had driven them so far from where they had once lived, but as Jack soon learns, theres another reason shes dying.
Jack isnt so fond of the east coast, though he finds a ray of hope in one Lester Speedy Parker. This former blues singer-turned-handyman appears something of an oddball at first, though Jack feels an indescribable trust for the elderly man. Speedy mysteriously knows of Lilys deteriorating condition, and tells Travellin Jack that he must head off on a long, gruelling journey back towards the west coast, where he will find the Talisman the only thing that can feasibly save his mother from the cancer that threatens to envelop her. The catch is, Jack must do the majority of his adventuring on foot in a magical, alternate-world known as the Territories, which he can flip to and from with the help of a vile-tasting drink that Jack likens to cheap wine. This remarkable place in many ways combines reality with common-myth, and comes with its own forms of beauty and dangers too.
Events in the Territories directly affect the America that Jack knows. The Territories is also much smaller; walking just a few hundred yards in the territories can equate to several miles in the real-world, and this is why he is encourage to do as much of his journeying in the territories as possible, though he runs the risk of being exposed as an outsider. Things Jack takes into the Territories magically morph into different objects though often with a similar purpose. Most importantly though is the theory of Twinners most of the people who populate the Territories have an alter-ego in America, and the good-health of one is usually required for the other to survive. Jack discovers that his mothers twinner is none other than the Queen of the Territories Laura DeLossian, who is in a coma and also slowly dying. The bad news for Jack is that Morgan Sloat has a powerful twinner, his other side being Morgan of Orris, a man with a powerful, almost-fanatical following, he eagerly awaits the death of Queen Laura, so that he can take the throne for himself in her absence. Sensing that Jack is the only person standing between himself and a form of world-domination, he pursues the young hero across both worlds in an attempt to eradicate his minor problem.
And so Jack faces an epic trek, describing his struggle to accept the sights he sees in the fantastical and foreboding new world he finds himself in, the bonds he makes with the few that he feels he can truly trust, and the evil that he has to confront in Morgan Sloat/Orris and his twisted henchmen.
The Talisman is a highly enjoyable read, and something of an epic given its severe size. Despite the concept of the Territories seeming a little clichéd at first, the expansion and development of this fictitious world is undeniably riveting. Perhaps most impressive were King and Straubs interpretations of real-world myths and how they slipped them neatly into The Talisman. Sightings of werewolves centuries ago for example are attributed to the Territories harbouring many similar creatures (one of which Jack manages to befriend) and a small number of them managing to make it back to our reality. This may be the very tiniest of innovations when taken into context, though fortunately the book is full of them. Locations within both worlds are described with awe-inspiring clarity, with even the smaller differences between realms (such as the purity and clearness of the air in the Territories) being brought across in such a convincing fashion that you could be forgiven for thinking you were right in the thick of the action.
The story tells much like a Stephen King novel, though whether through Straubs influence or not, it is easily amongst his most readable, bordering at times around the realms of the unputdownable. Despite this, there are occasions early on in the story when things drag and seem undeniably long-winded, though fortunately these instances are eliminated almost entirely come the end of the story.
The Talisman is helped greatly by the strength of its characters. Jack finds that his journey isnt just physically draining, but an emotional rollercoaster too. The plucky young lad goes through just about every conceivable feeling on the spectrum, all described and portrayed accurately and vividly. Though he is only twelve, Jack never seems twee or misrepresented; his occasional wit is top-draw, though his naivety reminds the reader of his vulnerabilities out on his own in the Big Bad World. Morgan is also a fantastic character but for completely the opposite reasons to Jack the occasional dabbles into his past as well as several Morgan-based interludes in the story lend a useful insight to this cold, dislikeable and evil man who seems to have become twisted by the jealousy and contempt he has held for the people who built his past. Both serve as clear, well-portrayed representations of good and evil, and are superb leads. Secondary characters may come and go, but more often than not, they manage to leave a memorable and individual mark on proceedings, providing the story with an immense feeling of depth and volume.
As well as being amongst the most flowing and readable books that Stephen King has worked on, it is certainly one of the most complex and innovative. The overall structure of the story is very strong; the readers knowledge of the Territories expands immeasurably alongside Jacks and it really does feel like a world is being built within the book itself. It holds together right up to the very end, maintaining its strangle-hold over the reader right up until the very last page.
It is difficult to compare The Talisman to either previous works of King or Straub they certainly hadnt attempted anything like as big a project as this one before, at least not in the fantasy genre. Fans of Kings Dark Tower series and Insomnia (which both similarly play around with the idea of alternate dimensions) and his excellent horror/fantasy hybrid The Eyes Of The Dragon will find a lot to like here. Of greater note however, this is one of the first King novels that I feel I could genuinely recommend to those who hadnt really acclimatised to his style like I mentioned earlier, it flows more smoothly and grips more tightly than many of his more acknowledged classics, and ultimately proves every bit as satisfying a read.
Overall, The Talisman is a superb example of the fantasy genre; creative and thoroughly engrossing, huge and yet rarely dull, complex though always making complete sense. The combining of two contrasting dimensions works a treat and is aided perfectly by a cast of terrific characters and incredible imagery. Very occasionally it slips into portions of irrelevant dialoguing, and it remains to be seen whether it can truly convert those who dislike Kings writing style, or feel that reading seven-hundred-odd pages will be a struggle, but if you can get your head around these minor qualms, youll find youve got a top-class tale on your hands. Heartily recommended.
To give a little history as I seem to feel the need to do with every book review, I read The Talisman years ago and loved it. My copy was dog-eared from reading it over and over until I made the mistake of lending my copy to a neighbour - never to be seen again. This was around 7 years ago and I have felt resentful ever since, but whilst wandering around WHSmith, determined to take advantage of the 3for2 offer, I snapped it off the shelf and well, here I am, a happy, well read/fed with fiction bunny! ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*SOME FAQ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Stephen King and Peter Straub - a collaboration previously unexplored, wrote THE TALISMAN in 1984. Both are writers for the horror genre, though I would say that Peter Straub sticks to the genre less rigidly than Stephen King. These two talented and best-selling American authors collaborated on The Talisman in 1984 - apparently mostly long distance and with new word processors which made their work easier, once they had become Au Fait with these new fangled machines! This particular copy was published by the New English Library. STEPHEN KING is a prolific writer of horror and one of the (if not THE) world's acknowledged king of the genre. He has written many best-selling novels, many of which have been adapted for the screen, with great success. Some of King's more famous novels include: Carrie; The Green Mile; Salem's Lot; Christine; Cujo; The Tommyknockers and many more. King also used to write under the pseudonym Richard Layman and under this name produced novels such as: Thinner & The Regulators. He has also published many short stories which can now be found in anthologies such as Skeleton Crew & Different Seasons. He is one of my favourite authors. PETER STRAUB is another best-selling author in the horror genre, though I must admit that I have only read one of his books and found it to be a little slow and hard going, though I recognised the quality of his prose. Peter
Straub was first published as a poet in 1972 - publishing two books of poems in that year. He followed this with his first mainstream novel, Marriages in 1973 before going on to produce his first 'gothic horror' in 1975, entitled 'Julia' - this was later made into a film entitled 'The Haunting Of Julia'. He then went on to write the best-selling 'If You Could See Me Now' and followed this with Shadowland and Floating Dragon before collaborating on The Talisman. Following that, he went on to win the 1989 World Fantasy Award for his novel 'Koko' - despite it's status as a mainstream novel. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*THE PLOT~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Jack Sawyer is a 13 year old boy and he is staying in a coastal hotel with his mother, Lily 'Queen Of The B's' Savanaugh, whom he suspects is hiding from him the fact that she is dying of cancer. Jack also suspects that his 'Uncle', Morgan Sloat, his dead father's best friend is pressuring his mother into signing over the business that Morgan and Phillip Sawyer (Jack's late father) built up over to himself. Before long, Jack meets a strange amusement park attendant by the name of Speedy Parker who calls him 'Ole Travellin' Jack'. Jack senses that there is something different about Speedy and he feels that deep down he knows what it is and tries, initially, to deny this hidden knowledge to himself. But Jack is drawn towards Speedy and before long discovers that he has a mission - an adventure, that only Jack can do. He must travel across America to the west in search of an object - The Talisman that will save his mother's life..... but that is not all. For his mother is also a Queen in another land - the Territories, only there, her name is Laura and she rules the land. Her son, Jason, who would have been Jack's 'Twinner' was killed in infancy and so the mission that should have been Jason
39;s is now Jack's. So Jack tells his mother that he must go away and embarks on a journey both thrilling and frightening.... and very long. The Territories is a strange land and many things amuse Jack when he first lands there. There are no cars or aeroplanes and the air is sweet and clear and Jack finds himself thinking in another language. He soon finds his way to the Queen's Summer Palace where he encounters a guard whom Speedy told him he must contact. The guard is a Captain in the Queen's army and takes Jack to see for himself that this Queen is also dying. Once outside again, Jack encounters Osmond, who is mad and takes half the skin off his back with a wicked Cat'O'Nine Tails whip. Following this, Jack remembers many things from his childhood and remembers that he always had the ability to travel to the Territories. In childhood, he called his ability 'Daydreams' - he also remembers an overheard conversation between his father and Morgan Sloat and concludes that they too have the ability. It soon becomes clear that Morgan Sloat also has a 'Twinner' - Morgan of Orris and worse, this Morgan is very bad and is intending to rule upon the death of the Queen. Jack is worried for his mother, but sees no alternative but to continue with his quest. What follows is sometimes terrifying and sometimes magical as Jack travels across America in one world or the other. He finds places where the line between the two worlds is sometimes very thin and at times gets caught up in some very hairy situations. In the Territories he meets Morgan of Orris following finding a friend who is a werewolf (though a good and very nice one) and in the rush to escape from Morgan's murderous intentions, drags Wolf into his world away from the Territories. This was an excellent portion of the book, with Wolf's fear of this world with it's horrible smells, cars and lack of beauty affecting
Wolf badly. Eventually, they are caught by the Police and sent to a home for orphans run by an evangelist by the name of Sunlight Gardener, whom Jack quickly recognises as the Twinner of Osmond, the maniac who whipped him. The experiences of Jack and Wolf in the home are appalling but they eventually escape for Jack to continue his journey. I will stop here on any descriptions as I feel myself getting carried away and wanting the reveal too much. The plot is superbly written and handled, with twists and turns all the time liberally sprinkled with superb examples of fantasy and imagination. So well written is this book, that I found myself wistfully wishing I could visit this strange but somehow wonderful world that is the Territories. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*CHARACTERS~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Wonderful. The characterisation in this book is also superb. When we first meet Jack, he is a relatively sophisticated 13 year old but still a child nonetheless. As the story progresses, we grow with Jack, we feel his pain and his fear and also how his strength grows with every danger he faces. As Jack begins to understand his destiny, he begins to take charge and I felt for him every step of the way, as well as thrilling every time he escaped from his many tangles with odd creatures, evil humans and emotional crisis. Morgan Sloat is similarly great as the bad guy. His badness all but leaps off the page as you gradually come to realise just how far his evil has extended in this world and in the Territories. Richard Sloat is Morgan's son and like Jack, is also single natured (he has no Twinner) as Morgan of Orris's son also died as an infant. Though Richard has also known of the existence of the Territories for years, he has repressed his memories and buried his life in science and rationality. Later in the book, as Jack struggles to make Richard understand the urgency of his need to accept the Territories I felt like slapping Richa
rd at times, at others, I felt like hugging and mothering him. Wolf, the werewolf whom Jack befriends and brings to this world is an absolute joy as a character. With characteristics all of his own (but essential to every wolf) he brings an extra dimension to the book and to Jack. Wolf is essentially a simple character but he is, after all, a werewolf and when the moon begins to become pregnant, Jack begins to fear him..... Osmond/Sunlight Gardener is a truly evil character whichever world you meet him in. In one world he is second in command to Morgan of Orris and is known across the land to be insane. He is also the man that carried out assassinations for Morgan in both worlds. In the other world he is a much-loved evangelist who tortures and torments the boys in his care. ~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*CONCLUSION~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* To wrap this up, The Talisman is amongst the best books I have read. I have heard some say that they would not really class this as a horror novel and I kind of agree, but not entirely. The Talisman is an adventure fantasy more than anything else, but there are aspects to it that could be classed as horror. Some of the creatures that the characters come across could certainly be classed as horrific, as could anything inhabiting 'The Blasted Lands' in the final portion of the book. Though I am a fan of horror, I would say to any lover of good fiction to give this a try. The quality of the writing is superb and any book that can keep you turning the pages the way this can is worth reading. Fantasy lovers will adore it, but so will most people. The book also has a few messages hidden away - the impact our actions in this world may have on other world that exist in other dimensions is one of them on the surface. The way that any visitor from the Territories hates our world for it's stink of Hydrocarbons makes you feel ashamed at times. Wolf's reactions add to this but when Jack is
sick, he finds medicines in the form of herbs, telling Jack that their potency in this world is diminished, though he is sure that once the clarity of the air in the Territories was once matched here. Ok, pollution is no longer an urgent message, we know that we should do something now, but this was 1984 - the decade of greed. Other messages are clear - good vs. evil; other dimensions etc. but I won't go into them now...read the book instead! To wrap up, this is a truly excellent book that I would recommend to any book lover. Perhaps some readers who don't like the work of Stephen King or Peter Straub may be put off by the genre but I would urge you to give the book a chance anyway... I promise you won't regret it! Thanks for reading. Kes:)
I bought this book from a car boot sale for something to read holidaying with relatives, and I have to say that I did hesitate a bit as i'm not a Stephen King fan and had not heard of Peter Straub. I find Stephen King films are better than the books. Anyhow I digress... From the first chapter I was most definately hooked, although this can in no way be described as you A typical horror novel more fantasy. Think the lion, the witch and the wardrobe type of thing. The books main character is a boy called Jack who's mother is really ill with cancer and has taken him to a hotel where she plans to spend the end of her days and hopefully in peace away from Jacks uncle. Jack ends up finding through the caretaker of the funfair on the pier he has a gift which can take him to an alternate reality and in this alternate reality he will find a cure for his mother (whom Jack loves dearly). Needless to say Jack sets off on this journey and encounters some great characters along the way, among which my favorite is Wolf who has a way about him which everyone can relate to knowing someone or being a bit like, Wolfs character and the interaction between him and Jack had me in tears on more than one occasion. I won't go too much into the plot of the book as I don't want to spoil the individual discoveries you will make in it. As I said before i'm not normally a Stephen King fan but found this book a well written collaboration between him and Peter Straub which I found hard to put down. One thing to note about the book however is although it is well written you will need to concentrate unless you want to have to keeop rereading bits as Jack does tend to flip backwards and forwards from one reality to another. The book is that good that when I found they had done another collaboration I just HAD to have it, which once i've finished will be the subject of another review. But until
then enjoy reading the Talisman it is a great read and you will enjoy using your imagination to conjur up the images of the chatacters.
A colloboration between renowned horror writers Stephen King and Peter Straub (who is a glaring omission from the category - something will have to be done about this later) brought about a rather staggering book. This is not your usual horror fare, as it's a little more "trippy" in it's concept and that's saying something for both men's creative minds are somewhat warped in the first place. But this is good warped, not bad warped. It's much more of a mindgame than out and out gore and terror. The central character is a young boy called Jack. He's 12 and his mother is desperately ill with cancer. Jack is given the task of retrieving a talisman so that he can save her life, which is a big job for a little boy to do if he was having to do it in this world. The added problem for Jack is that the talisman is in the 'other' world, the Territories. A world that's like our, just more vivid, vibrant, vital (that's enough of the v's) and powerful. It is also struggling to cope with the battle between Good and Evil. There are parallel characters, plus the marvellous addition of a guy called Wolf. Bit of a hick, wears Osh Kosh (by Gosh) but an adorable individual. The story is the travelling between both worlds, and the dangers that lurk in the two of them as Jack fights to save his mother. The writing itself is shared between the two authors in chunks of chapters. I've been a fan of Peter Straub's ever since I read his book, Full Circle, and had often thought how fantastic it would be if he and King wrote together. I should've made more of an effort to get the partnering going myself, could have been a handy little earner. Anyhow. The event does actually happen, and it works as well as I thought it would. Whilst their styles are different, King is more punchy, while Straub has a quiet, wordier vibe going on, their ultimate achievements are the same. They are
both convincing, absorbing and excell at painting verbal pictures. It's big. 764 pages. Good if you're going to be a Big Brother 3 contestant, but my guess is that you'll polish this off in relatively no time at all. It's got a Lord Of The Rings feel to it, that sort of book, although not as outrageously different as Donaldson's Middle Earth books. Broken down into Parts as opposed to chapters, the main headings are: Part 1: Jack Lights Out (5 chapters and 1 interlude) Part 2: The Road of Trials (14 chapters and 1 interlude) Part 3: A collision of Worlds (15 chapters and 1 interlude) Part 4: The Talisman (14 chapters, 2 interludes, the epilogue and conclusion) You don't exactly have to concentrate to the point of giving yourself migraines, but this is a book that will require peace and quiet to read properly. No distractions. No interruptions. Complete deaf-out. It's a great fantasy read that is an enjoyable, if somewhat over long in places, story. The styles work extremely well together, and for the most part it's not at all noticeable that two authors are writing this. Straub's tendancy to enjoy his words can get a bit annoying when you're trying to get to the nitty-gritty of the plot, but not annoying enough to make me complain too wildly. It's different alright.
Firstly let me start by saying this is not what you'd expect from Stephen King! This is more of a fantasy/adventure book which he has written with Peter Straub and they have created a master piece in my opinion! This has to be one of my all time favorate books,which I have read about 8 times now...This is quite an accomplishment as I usually read a book once and twice at the most. This book is about Jack. He has to Get the Talisman if there is any hope of saving his mothers life. She is dying from lung cancer and is wasting away in a hotel in the middle of now where. She is hiding from Jacks uncle who is a nasty piece of work to say the least.. The responsability has been left with Jack and this is a huge burden for him as he is so young(12)but he sets off anyway... He has several helpers on the way and also several enemies to defeat.. He has been given some magic juice which helps him flip between this dimension and another,the other dimension holds the Talisman in its grasp(well in the dark hotel).. My favorite character in this book apart from Jack,is Wolf,he is so adorable you can't help but love him.. I promise you if you decide too read this book you will not be disappointed.. You will probably laugh and cry alot as I did and will again probably when I decide to read it again.. I will say no more about the plot as I have given the general Idea and don't want to spoil it for future readers..but I will say ENJOY!!!!:)
A young boy, Jack, sets out on an epic journey between two worlds to find a cure for his mother's cancer.