On a brisk autumn day, a 13-year-old boy stands on the shores of the gray Atlantic, near a silent amusement park and a fading ocean resort called the Alhambra. The past has driven Jack Sawyer here: His father is gone, his mother is dying, and the world no longer makes sense. But for Jack everything is about to change. For he has been chosen to make a journey back across America - and into another realm.
One of the most influential and heralded works of fantasy ever written, The Talisman is an extraordinary novel of loyalty, awakening, terror, and mystery. Jack Sawyer, on a desperate quest to save his mother's life, must search for a prize across an epic landscape of innocents and monsters, of incredible dangers and even more incredible truths. The prize is essential, but the journey means even more. Let the quest begin....
©2001 Stephen King and Peter Straub; (P)2001 Simon & Schuster Inc., Recorded with the Permission of The Ballantine Publishing Group, a Division of Random House, Inc.; AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.
Audie Award Winner, Fiction (unabridged), 2002
"A classic...rare and dazzling...a journey to rival the greatest adventure stories ever told." (New York Daily News)
"Extraordinary...makes your hair stand on end." (The Washington Post)
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.
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.
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 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.
Okay, I know Frank Muller is much acclaimed. The New York Times calls him a genius and Stephen King seems to love him. But I had serious difficulty listening to this book through his monotoous phrasing and rasping, breathy voice. Every sentence ends with the same hissed exhalation, sounding like Jack Nicholson doing his imitation of Jack Palance. This would be fun, were it not used to inflect EVERY sentence. I mean literally. The reader seems to have no sense of which ideas or events should carry more weight than others, and so everything is ominous and heavy.
It is a testament to the story and the writing itself that I was able to make it all the way through. I strongly recommend the book, but also hope they stop Frank Muller from doing Stephen King's work.
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!
I like Stephen King, but not this book at least in this version. Far too long, large swathes of uninteresting drivel. The story at times borders on the ludicrous; but at others in typical King style it fascinates.
"can't stand the narration........."
I love Sephen King and have enjoyed some terrific audiobooks of his books from Audible, BUT I just could not cope with this narrator's ponderous delivery - almost every sentence ending in a breathy whisper. I note the reviews of the book itself and may try listening again at some future point, but this time I couldn't stand it and gave up after the 1st half hour of gritted teeth!!
I'd previously downloaded Cell and Lisey's Story, my first introduction to the Stephen King oeuvre, and was looking forward to listening to this. If you enjoy Lord of the Rings type fantasy, this might suit you, but I found it very juvenile (maybe I was missing the point and this was a kid's book, in which case apologies). Also, a minor point but an irritating one - the reader finishes most sentences on a drawn-out sigh, so even the most banal of statements sound ludicrously melodramatic: "he ran himself a hot baaaaaaath". Thumbs down generally.
"Could have been about 10 hours shorter"
Stephen King manages to incorporate some novel ideas into the age old battle of good versus evil. However The Talisman is overly long and detailed. I found myself wishing he could have moved it on just a little bit quicker. Though it is written in a fantasy style it is not suitable for children due to bad language and horror elements.
This book is really bloated on detail that can make you want to skip ahead to move the story on. There was countless times I found my concentration drift but the idea that there was more good stuff to come kept me interested. Which I?m glad to say does come eventually.
I found the narrator very annoying at first as every sentence ended in flair that gave the impression of over exaggeration.
However, after persevering I noticed that when this flair was not present ( and you notice less as the story goes on ), the narrator is very gifted.
The story builds to an excellent climax and always leaves you wanting to know more about Jason the history about him and the territories. I just hope the Black House is a good sequel.
"A great story and BRILLIANT narration"
I have never read any of Stephen King's books before so this was a first for me. What a tremendous storyteller he is! The structure of the book is half "quest", half "road movie", as it were, and it takes a lot of skill to maintain the pace and the tension throughout such a long book. Generally the authors succeed very well, though at times the pace is a little slow. If the book has a weakness it is over-reliance on the hero always to carry the plot; that said, he is an attractive character - a kind of American Harry Potter with attitude, perhaps. A plus point is that the baddies are REALLY bad, and be aware there is a lot of gore and violence, all carried off I should say with great verve.
What makes to book is the narration - an absolute tour de force in my view. Frank Muller's style is so perfectly matched to the authors' that it is almost that the book was written for him to read. Great stuff indeed.
There is a sequel, also available from Audible - "Black House" which is a much better book, which I've reviewed separately. Both are highly recommended.
"Will your nervous system stand this book"
This was a roller coaster of thrills and emotions right from the start. Stephen king does string your nerves out on a tight wire of excitement, deliberately drawing out lurid and frightening descriptions while you are screaming inside for the action to continue. Very clever man this King. I sometimes hate him whilst reading but realise that this is part of the fun.
Buy this and the sequel 'black house' if you like a good long gut wrenching ride.
"Good but bloated"
A good and interesting story spoilt by a labourious and over detailed narration. Despite which is enjoyable.
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