There are no spoilers in the following review!
There are so many reviews for this book out already. And some of them are excellent. I would even say a few are works of art in their own right. In an attempt to avoid repeating what’s already been said in hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways by now, with this review I’d like to address a different audience. I’d like to address those who dismiss Stephen King and assume his writing isn’t for them. I’d also like to address those who say his writing has changed. That it isn’t as gripping as it was in his earlier days. Read on guys, this one’s for you!
As I was reading Fairy Tale and carrying the book around with me, people would ask what it’s about. I’d tell them it’s not your typical Stephen King novel. It’s … well … it’s a fairy tale! This is your classic Hero’s Journey featuring a 17 year old boy named Charlie Reade and his trusted sidekick, a german shepherd named Radar. I won’t share anything about the journey itself. I’ll just say it conjured up other fantasy journeys King has written, such as Eye of the Dragon, The Talisman, and even the Dark Tower series.
Stephen King has a way of building a fantasy world that feels very much alive and breathing. And I believe his characters in every book he writes are second to none! I slip right into the pages and they become my very best friends (or most feared enemies, as the case may be). All of this is true in Fairy Tale. I fell in love with Radar. I grew up with german shepherds and King hit the writing for Radar’s character spot on! All of the characters that Charlie meets along his journey feel completely fleshed out and developed. My heart went out to all of them for the struggles they each were facing.
Intertwined with the story are constant reminders that it is a fairy tale. You see connections to classic fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Rumplestiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood. And a reminder that the original version of these fairy tales often didn’t have happy endings. You also see references to more modern versions of fairy tales such as Star Wars.
While it isn’t a horror book, you have to remind yourself that it is still Stephen King. You’re going to have a fair amount of gruesome and disturbing scenes. This isn’t a good choice for bedtime stories to read to the kids. But at the same time, it’s such a beautiful book! The relationships between the characters, the world King built, the story itself was just magical. I can’t put in words exactly how totally captivated I was by this book! I cried when I got to the last page, mostly because the book had ended. I’d been forced out of that beautiful and magical world. I will be back to visit. Probably many times! I am giving Fairy Tale five very solid stars and five fuzzy paw prints for possibly my favorite canine character ever in Radar!
If you’re anti-Stephen King for any reason, but a fan of fantasy, I urge you to give this book a try. If you are a King fan, I’d say it’s fair to wager that you already have a copy or have plans to get your hands on one. To you I say what are you waiting for? Go read it!