This book is like the little girl from the nursery rhyme: When she was good, she was very very good, but when she was bad she was horrid. Slow to start, it starts to get good just before you might think of giving up. Quite exciting for long sections, but with just plain dull sections stuck in for good measure. Imaginative in places, quite flat in others.
Many characters are stock King (and possibly stock Straub, though I haven't read as much of his work). Old black people are wise and somewhat mystical (see also The Shining and The Stand). Folks in small rural towns are ignorant and racist (see most anything). Large slow witted people are good and loyal friends (see also The Stand).
And the book is long. Much too long. Filled with characters saying the same things over and over again in a long string (literally: see the main villains "what does it gain you to win the world" inner and interminable monologue and Jack's "I am the herd" stuff). Characters talk in irritating ways (Speedy's old bluesman patois gets old quickly, and Wolf's need to say "right here and now" and "wolf" in the middle of sentences gets old very very very quickly."
Finally, there's the narration. Good in places, but sometimes the narrator sounds like he's trying out for a Clint Eastwood role, with breathy drawn out sibilants at the end of sentences. But overall good.
Although you can hear the change of authors' voices in this work, the adventure itself runs in overdrive, and is worth the trip. There are some Stephen King cliches in here, but it is easy to relate to his "child in danger" hero. Wonderful descriptive text and magical insights on subjects ranging from illegal child labor to the mentality of good werewolves keeps the story's characterizations alive despite a somehwat expected ending. The bad guys are over the top bad, and the good ones almost saintly in common virtue, so there's no fuzzy morality or anti-heroic types here. Pure fun, well read, and worth the 24 discs I had to burn it on to make my commute entertaining!
This audio production of The Talisman is a work of art. The book is excellent in it's own right and Frank Muller did a masterful job of narrating. He doesn't read it, he performs it!
I will agree with two comments that others have made:
1) The book is probably a little longer than it has to be. Nevertheless the book kept my interest and I did not find myself tuning out.
2) The reader's style is very distracting at first. The way he would draw out the last word of almost every sentence nearly drove me crazy. A couple of times I almost gave up on the book for that very reason. But, I noticed that after about 180 minutes in to the book I got used to the sound of his voice and, in fact, the rhythm of his style became very pleasing.
If you like stories of adventure and you don't mind a dose of fantasy thrown in, you will enjoy this book.
I think this by far one of Stephen King's greatest books. Teamed with Peter Straub,Stepen King wrote a story that grabbed at the begining and never let you go.I was sorry to see it end!The hero of the story was couragous,likeable,andwell rounded.The villians were hatefull and their descriptions were fanstatic. I reccommend this book to everyone!
I have to start by saying I am a long time "Constant Reader" of Mr.King but have only recently taken up audio books. His books are very easy to start and stop which works out very well for me as I tend to only listen during my commutes to work. The Narrator does a nice job of giving life to each character and you are drawn into the experience. I am 15+ hours into the book and still have 13 more to go so you feel you do get your moneys worth out of His books. I am looking forward to The Dark House.
Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit
I am so disappointed - I can't believe that one of my favorite books from long ago would be so difficult to listen to. I took a chance by spending my monthly credit on this since I had picked 3 or 4 clunkers in a row and was just longing for something that I could really connect with. I recognized the narrator from one of the other books I downloaded - he was hard to follow on that book and even worse on this one. The husky whisper and awkward timing of his style is so unsavory that I feel like just deleting it now even though I'm only on chapter 4. Stephen King is my brain's version of comfort food - I've never regretted reading or re-reading his work. I really hope the harsh words don't make their way back to the narrator because what he does is really difficult - but I would be very reluctant to ever spend another credit on anything he reads in the future.
This was one of my favorite books as a teenager, and so I was very happy to see that there was a spoken-word version available. I am surprised to see some negative reviews here. I don't think that the review calling the book full of stereotypes is accurate at all. If this book offends you, I'd hate to see how you'd react to some of the harder-edged fiction out there. And please, don't give a book a 1 star review after only listening to the first few hours! I also don't understand the criticism of the narrator, Frank Muller. I've listened to a lot of audio books, and he is one of my favorite readers. It is true that he tends to be a bit more of an "actor" than many reader (he has distinctive voices for all the main characters) but he does them all very well, in my opinion.
As for the book itself, it is an exciting adventure that is not to be missed. It's not quite as dark as much of Stephen King's works (perhaps the influence of his collaborator Peter Straub) but it's well written and fun to read, despite its considerable length. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy.
I don't know why so many readers criticize this novel. It is a good story and keeps you listening. A typical King novel. Can you dig it? Haha. Bring on book 2!
Love my family...along with guitars, road bikes, cameras, and a good book!
I consider myself a Stephen King fan...a Constant Reader, if you will. However, I had never read this novel and was quite excited to begin this endeavor. I won't say that The Talisman is my favorite King story, but it would definitely merit an honorable mention in that discussion! This was a great book. I loved how different this story is ... the unbelievable creativity that went into the prose of this novel. I have never really read Straub, but will be looking him up as well, due to this great story.
I loved the Jack and the Wolf characters. I have always been a sucker for the humble hero... The unwilling hero. Jack takes on this quest because he really has no other choice. Wolf is sucked into the narrative in much the same way, but they both are true and faithful to the light and integrity that is needed to reach their goal.
Frank Muller is simply the best narrator I have ever heard. Especially for this type of novel...you simply cannot get anyone better. His characterization is amazingly consistent, and spot on with each and every character. No one has ever committed to narration like Mr. Muller. I often buy books simply because he is the narrator. He will be missed over and over again.