The Talisman, by Peter Straub and Stephen King

I just finished this. I actually picked it up over a year ago, but just couldn’t get into it. This time it grabbed me right away. What a mistake. Well, mostly.

I’m not saying it wasn’t good. Good at 1/2 the size, maybe. A 730 page book which could have been written in 400 pages or less.

And the few characters I really liked either died or never came back again. I really liked Captain Farren. He reminded me of Vimes, way back in the beginning of Guards! Guards! - the world had kicked him down, and he was bitter and angry. Also I really liked Wolf - the first Wolf. He died a pretty horrible death. It seemed extremely gratituous.

Come to think of it a *lot * of the violence seemed over the top. It seemed everybody and everything was against Jack, who by the way, was a fairly ineffectual, albeit likeable hero.

Never saw the Queen, either, for more than that moment. Never got to meet her. Never got to hear her express her thanks, or if she even knew.

Oh yeah. When I pick up a **fantasy ** book, I want fantasy. More of the stuff about the Territories would have been nice. I didn’t really want to hear anything about that horrid boys’ school, and it was way too long of a section anyway. I know people like that exist in this world. I read fiction to get *away * from that crap.

Altogether, the book was a disappointing read. There were some startling moments but mostly it plodded along in mediocrity. A sensation novel more than a real work of fiction, or fantasy.


DSL, DSL at home! Everything goes so fast!

It has been many years since I read it, but when I did (when I was about Jack’s age) I liked it a lot. I may have read it twice, in fact.

Incidentally, a couple years ago, I tried to read Black House, the sequel, but couldn’t get into it. Then again, that goes for the last few SK books that I’ve tried to read. I don’t know if it’s him or me.

I, too, read it at an early age, so I very much identified with Jacky Sawyer (he was my first book crush, I think). I don’t know how well it has withstood the test of time to someone reading with fresh eyes. I know I’ve read it several times and always enjoy it. It was my first experience with multiple authors, and although I read both authors pretty faithfully, I still can’t tell where King ends and Straub picks up, so that aspect is kinda neat.

I’m more of a light fantasy/hard-only sci-fi reader, so maybe that’s where you and I differ. I liked that it had this cool other world, and I couldn’t wait until the times when Jacky was in the Territories, but I liked the transitions to the real world as well. I enjoyed the characters, although I agree that the boy’s school and the whole section with cousin Richard was a little over the top. Unless you’re talking about the *other * boys’ school, the home, which broke my heart when Wolf died… :frowning:

I think the Queen was purposefully left rather vague, because the point (IMO) was that Jacky went through this whole incredible Save the World(s) journey but he really didn’t care about that or about being a hero…he simply wanted to save his mother. She was his world, and the rest didn’t really matter so much.

Rucksinator, I slogged through Black House. Blech. The only reason I kept going was so that I could get some closure on Jack and see how he ends up. The whole story, though - I just couldn’t get into it.

I haven’t reread The Talisman in a while but it is my second or third favorite King or Straub book.

They only thing I really did not like about it was the ending. It just seemed anti-climatic. That and Wolfs end. Wolf is one of my favorite King or Straub characters. King tends to kill off alot of characters I really like. I haven’t noticed that so much with Straub.

And Black House was just…Bleak.


And an unneccessary tie-in to King’s Dark Tower milieu. But The Talisman – two thumbs up.

I loved it the first time I read it, many, many moons ago.
I re-read it this year, and I have to say that it didn’t age very well.

I really liked it when I read it. But I’ll have to join in with those who said they read it when they were about Jack’s age.

I’d have to reread it in order to give you an updated opinion. Maybe it just “works” better when you’re closer to the protagonist age (or too naive to know you’re reading crap).

I’ve read it six or seven times. I love the book. Even the parts I hate, I love (like the Oatley Tap). My very dogeared copy is sitting on the desk next to me as I type.

I hated Black House. I had such high expectations, because I love the Talisman so much, but it was very blah.

Loved The Talisman. Have read it many times, but none lately, that much I must admit. And everyone else is spot on - Wolf rocks.

Don’t remember much of Black House. Guess it didn’t make much of an impression.

God pounds his nails.

I liked both The Talisman and Black House, though neither is a huge favorite.

Black House does take a long time to get moving: the first—I don’t remember, 50? 100?—pages or so are just scene-setting. And it’s not the same kind of story as The Talisman, so anybody expecting the same kind of thing as The Talisman is going to be disappointed.