Audiobook Review: Fairy Tale by Stephen King
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Seth Numrich with Stephen King
Published: September 6, 2022
Audiobook: 24 hours 5 minutes
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 2-14, 2022
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder.
Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time.
A story as old as myth, and as startling and iconic as the rest of King’s work, Fairy Tale is about an ordinary guy forced into the hero’s role by circumstance, and it is both spectacularly suspenseful and satisfying.
Fairy Tale was a risk for me as I knew it is in the fantasy genre. The first part is contemporary then it goes fantasy. I started it on my commute home one day and by the time I got home I was 1000% in love with Charlie, Radar, and Mr. Bowdich. Charlie and Mr. Bowdich meet by chance: Charlie hears the dog who formerly frightened all the neighborhood kids when they were younger constantly barking. The dog is up in age now and not as frightening, but Charlie looks to see what’s going on and Mr. Bowdich has had an accident. From here starts the part of the novel I loved: The three-way relationship that forms between Mr. Bowdich, Charlie, and the dog whom we learn is female and her name is Radar.
This beginning contemporary part is for anyone whom is an animal lover. I absolutely love Radar, and if I ever get another dog that is of the Shepard breed or similar, its name will be Radar! There is also intrigue and a mystery as well in this section. This isn’t giving anything away since it is in the book description, but Mr. Bowdich dies and Charlie inherits the house and then learns Mr. Bowdich’s many secrets, among them the existence of a shocking new world, and the entrance to it is in his shed.
I was still interested in the journey to the other world and part of Charlie and Radar’s adventure there. But this is a bit of a spoiler Charlie becomes separated from Radar and then I begin to lose interest in the story as this is where the fantasy part of the novel kicks in. Fantasy is just not for me! There also became so many more characters I couldn’t really keep track. Part of the story became a mesh of The Hunger Games and Divergent with characters fighting to the death. This second part just wasn’t for me.
I guess I just needed a story of ‘a boy and his dog’ as the first part was. There are some difficult scenes involving Radar as she is nearing the end of her life and I was trying to prepare for that, I was so invested with Radar. There is a rush for Charlie to get Radar to the Sundial to… well you must read to see what happens! It’s very good, trust me!
The narrator is Seth Numrich and he did a very good job! Mr. King himself makes an appearance as Mr. Bowdich in the cassette tape Charlie listened to! I was not aware that King was going to have a small part, so I realized it was him and ‘Whoa’d!’ Being it was Mr. King himself narrating it actually distracted me from what was being said. I guess I fan girled a bit hearing his voice.
Overall, if you enjoy contemporary and fantasy I think this will be the novel for you to read! Or even fantasy and a boy and his dog’ story this one will be for you. It just wasn’t fully for me. Like I said, this one was a risk, and overall, I am glad I read it for the first part of the novel.