Cover Image: Fairy Tale

Fairy Tale

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Member Reviews

This audiobook is so long (24 hours) the publisher shared it in two parts. My review is posted on the other part.
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This is Stephen King at his best. If you're a fan of his longer epics (The Stand, The Dark Tower series, etc), this will be right up your alley. The audiobook experience is absolutely fantastic and the narrator deserves all the awards.
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As someone who doesn’t much care for modern horror but respects Stephen King tremendously as a writer, I’ve been delighted to see him branch out into other genres lately. I like Billy Summers a lot, and I liked this one too.

At its heart, this is an adventure story, and oh what an adventure Charlie and his dog Radar embark on, crossing over into a cursed world fraught with peril and excitement. 

The format follows that of a standard hero’s quest, and there’s nothing truly unique about this version of it. I didn’t find this particularly bothersome though, because it’s a darn good story and a lovely tribute to many fairy tales, both the ultra timeless and the lesser known. 

In addition to some small nods to the Brothers Grimm , Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Perrault, and other early traditional fairy tale authors, the story is a fantastic tribute to both Something Wicked This Way Comes (one of my all-time favorites) as well as the Wizard of Oz. Oz is probably the most comparable setting to the world that King has built here.

The book isn’t overlong by page count (adventure epics are allowed more latitude than most books in this regard, in my opinion) but there are parts that drag and probably needed to be condensed purely because they really hamper the pace of the story. The section on the prison/fight club, for example, seems to linger endlessly and is one of the least interesting parts of the book.

But overall, it’s a terrific adventure novel with a lovable hero (and his equally lovable canine companion. If you enjoy this genre, you’ll enjoy this one. 

Audiobook readers: This is an excellent pick for this format. It helps mitigate the length a bit, and boasts a good balance of dynamic storytelling and engaging prose with an easy to parse plot. The narrator is lovely, and look out for a few sections read by the author himself!
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First, this newspaper review cannot thank Scribner enough for both the audio version and the final print for review. Wonderfully edited story. Phenomenally narrated audio book. So wonderful to have King return to his roots. A truly enjoyable read and fantastical diversion.

‘Fairy Tale’ by Stephen King
Oh, how good it is to have Stephen King return to the depths of fantastical horror. ‘Fairy Tale’ (Scribner) is vintage King, taking us into new world-building like no one else. Following this hero’s tale of Charlie Reade and his trusty sidekick, the aging German shepherd Radar, from a Chicago suburb to the kingdom of Empis is not only an adventure, it is the adventure of 2022. From the master who made us believe vampires sleep in the basements of small town America, “Fairy Tale” manages to merge every fanciful tale — with their true Grimm roots — you’ve ever read while simultaneously sprinkling baskets full of Easter eggs. Nary a reference, no matter how subtle, from every fantasy or science fiction tale of the past century is omitted along the journey, spicing the story in ways “Radio Play One” does for disciples of the ‘80s. Recommended for anyone older than the age of those able to consume the grisly outcomes of original fairy tales — that is, those sans the Disney or otherwise sanitized endings. But even among those readers, it is really — really — recommended that you eschew the print version: For those who love to hear a story that will echo long after the last page, this is that book. Not enough can be said for the audio version of this story — the way, after all, many of us were first presented with the fairly tales we remember and love today — with the reading talents of Seth Numrich assisted wonderfully by Stephen King, himself. Numrich’s talents in presenting King’s vast and varied cast is both inspired and as awe-inspiring as the story, and although most authors do their readers a disservice in reading their own material, King has been perfectly cast here, adding flavors to a story over which he obviously labored and loved. If you want to read, or better, hear, this story before it becomes a movie, you’ll have to hurry. It’s little surprise that this cinematic tale is already in development.
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First off I need to say that I LOVED this narrator- he is absolutely phenomenal, I could listen to him read the phonebook. As for the book- I very much enjoyed this story, and really got all the feelings of wonder and excitement of a child discovering a fairy tale's windy path. I was sharing parts of the audio with my husband and he was also entranced- however then it ended! I hadn't read any backstory or prepped for the PART 1 aspect of this - so I was super sad when it just ENDED. Obviously I'm going to be reading/listening to PART 2 but I hope I don't have to wait too long for it! 4 stars because of the unresolved end, otherwise its a 5.
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What else can you say about Stephen King that hasn't already been said a thousand times. The guy is a master and here in Fairy Tale he once again shows incredible command of his craft. This one feels a bit different than some of King's more recent novels and that's pretty telling for a writer as prolific as King. If you are looking for a thrilling adventure with flavors of Game of Thrones, The Princess Bride, and a little Never Ending Story thrown in for good measure, then this one is a must-read.
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I loved the first half of this book: Teenager Charlie Reade lives down the street from the creepy old house inhabited by a recluse and his old German shepherd. When Charlie finds Howard Bowditch injured in his yard, thanks to the warning barks of his dog, Charlie becomes the old man's helper and companion. Strange noises come from the shed in Mr. Bowditch's yard, and what happens next is just like something out of (that's right) a fairy tale. I was hanging on every word until the "what happens next" which was just a bit too far afield for me. To be fair, this book is billed as a fantasy, but I prefer King's books when they're more rooted in reality.
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