Let's Review A Fairy Tale. No, Seriously. Fairy Tale by Stephen King. Book Review.
Author: Stephen King
Published by Hodder & Stoughton (Imprint of Hachette India)
Genre: (Its literally in the title) Fairy Tale.
Cover Art: Will Staehle
Illustrations: Gabriel Rodriguez (odd number chapters and epilogue)
Nicolas Delort (even number chapters)
No of Pages: 575
MRP: Rs. 999/-
Thank you @hachette_india for a media copy
This book is amazing.
Fairy Tale begins firmly in our world, as Charlie mourns his mother's death, cares for his alcoholic father, falls into a well of bad behaviour, and then pulls himself out with good grades and a talent for sports. It's coming-of-age material, albeit with the promise of something fantastical on the horizon. Charlie meets a grumpy old Mr Bowditch, who the whole neighborhood is scared off and his dog Radar. He grows to care for both of them, he later learns of a portal in Mr Bowditch's shed in the backyard which leads to a whole different world. A world of fairy tales. I can easily write a character portrait of Charlie which will turn into a 11-page essay, but that’s not the goal here so lets move it.
When Charlie finally makes his way to the other world, he finds it populated by men and women whose faces are gray and disfigured, their features nearly gone. There are talking horses, goose girls and clever crickets, but there is something malevolent at the center and Charlie must face it if he is to return to his father. “Did I want to be the prince of this dark fairy tale? I do not have. I wanted to get my dog back and go home.”
What stole the show for me was King’s excellent character building and how for the first forty percent of the book, the non-fantasy part, he focuses on the character building between Charlie and Radar (which is the point). This first forty percent is a five-star read for me. If you are a dog person what are you even doing? Stop reading multiple reviews and just go purchase the book, I personally have never owned a dog, Even then, King makes it hard not to relate. Once Charlie enters this other world, the prose drastically changes, and as the pace picks up, so does the quantity of plot devices.
King doesn't hesitate to mention the inspirations of the book. Charlie says he thinks of "Jack and the Beanstalk" when he sees the well leading to a world full of gold and the giant protecting it. Two of his enemies are compared to "Rumpelstiltskin" from the Grimms. A mermaid lived in a fountain palace, but she wasn't "Ariel, the Disney princess." There are plenty of comparisons to modern fantasies such as GRRM's work too
But King frequently returns to his own leitmotifs and references to fairy tales don't give off the impression of being unoriginal or derivative. "Fairy Tale" is more akin to a palimpsest, which successfully combines the visible remains of folk stories and common fable motifs rather than merely covering old manuscripts, yet deftly combines literary and cultural ideas into a straight forward.
Loved the brilliant cover and the illustrations included in the book too! The expensive hardcover is definitely worth a purchase!
1. PLOT: 3.5/5
2. CHARACTER ARCS/DEVELOPMENT: 5/5
3. WRITING STYLE: 4/5
4. HOW MUCH DID I ENJOY READING THE BOOK:4/5
KEETABI KEEDA RATING: 4/5
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The Talisman: https://amzn.to/3UcFVWQ
Grimms Complete Fairy Tales: https://amzn.to/3WunrTN