Fairy Tale Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest well of his imagination in this spellbinding novel about a seventeen-year-old boy who inherits the keys to a parallel world where good and evil are at war, and the stakes could not be higher—for that world or ours.
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. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
Early in the Pandemic, King asked himself: “What could you write that would make you happy?”
“As if my imagination had been waiting for the question to be asked, I saw a vast deserted city—deserted but alive. I saw the empty streets, the haunted buildings, a gargoyle head lying overturned in the street. I saw smashed statues (of what I didn’t know, but I eventually found out). I saw a huge, sprawling palace with glass towers so high their tips pierced the clouds. Those images released the story I wanted to tell.”
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|Listening Length||24 hours and 6 minutes|
|Narrator||Stephen King, Seth Numrich|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 06, 2022|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #5 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#1 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
#1 in Dark Fantasy
#1 in Supernatural Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
Reviewed in the United States on September 16, 2022
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Top reviews from the United States
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Charlie is a high school football and baseball star who’s clearly destined for great things in college and professional sports. However, he is troubled by the events of his past.
Charlie's mother is hit and killed on “that GD bridge” while bringing home a bucket of chicken. Charlie, only seven, and his father struggle to cope with her loss. Charlie has to learn to take care of himself—and his drunken father.
Charlie’s father eventually pulls himself back from alcohol and the edge of oblivion with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
After helping his elderly neighbor, Howard Bowditch, when he falls in his yard and breaks his leg, Charlie finds himself entrusted with the doorway to a parallel world. Howard’s dog, Radar, becomes Charlie’s new best friend, and Charlie must save his life because he is old and sick.
Fairy Tale is narrated by Charlie Reade, mainly in the first person.
As for me, as long as he keeps writing them, I will keep reading them.
The Book’s Setting
The novel is set in modern-day America and a parallel universe. The first half of the book is set in modern-day America and retreads King's skill as a writer of coming-of-age stories. The second half takes place in the fantasy world, which King calls the “Other,” but the residents call it “Empis,” which gives Charlie his quest to find out what is at the bottom of the Deep Well, an evil place that can only be accessed when the two moons kiss in the night’s sky.
You’ll find many similarities and comparisons to some of our favorite childhood fairy tales within the book.
The portion of the book in modern-day America is a coming-of-age drama detailing social issues, such as alcohol and grief.
However, the switch to Empis changes the story's tone and uses the long-awaited hero's arrival to save a royal family trope. Charlie’s quest to discover what is lurking at the bottom of the Deep Well might be what is needed to save both our world and theirs, or it could lead to the destruction of both.
Fairy Tale is a fantasy, but it contains elements of coming-of-age dramas like Stand By Me (book=The Body), It, Hearts in Atlantis, The Shining, and so many others that Stephen King is well-known for writing.
Stephen King is one of the world's bestselling authors, with over 60 novels in several genres. King's Dark Tower epic fantasy series is a personal favorite with similar themes to those in Fairy Tale, though it is not tied to the series, as many have babbled about.
Charlie Reade is an American high schooler who has lived a traumatic life. Charlie helps his elderly neighbor, Mr. Bowditch, after he falls and breaks his leg. Charlie is “rewarded” for his good deed with the key to a parallel universe.
A dark power has taken over the world of Empis, with Charlie seemingly the only one who can save that society and perhaps his own. Even though he has a lot of power in this realm, he only wants to find his dog and return home.
My favorite character was Mr. Bowditch (maybe a little self-identification?). Charlie was a little too mature and intelligent for a 17-year-old, IMHO. But that did not detract from an excellent story. Mr. Bowditch was a well-written character who drove the action forward.
My favorite part of the book was the Hunger Games-like, gladiator-style tournament when Charlie and others train for a series of battles while in the Deep Maleen prison.
I believe a wide range of people will enjoy this book. Young adults (YA) can find a lot to enjoy in this fantasy novel, along with fans of horror and thrillers.
Charlie's role is to overcome his demons in the story's first section. After arriving in Empis, Charlie leads Leah to the Deep Well to uncover the truth about Flight Killer.
If you’ve ever seen The Tenth Kingdom epic tale, this story somewhat reminds me of that.
As I was reading Fairy Tale and carrying the book around with me, people would ask what it's about. I'd tell them it's not your typical Stephen King novel. It's ... well ... it's a fairy tale! This is your classic Hero's Journey featuring a 17 year old boy named Charlie Reade and his trusted sidekick, a german shepherd named Radar. I won't share anything about the journey itself. I'll just say it conjured up other fantasy journeys King has written, such as Eye of the Dragon, The Talisman, and even the Dark Tower series.
Stephen King has a way of building a fantasy world that feels very much alive and breathing. And I believe his characters in every book he writes are second to none! I slip right into the pages and they become my very best friends (or most feared enemies, as the case may be). All of this is true in Fairy Tale. I fell in love with Radar. I grew up with german shepherds and King hit the writing for Radar's character spot on! All of the characters that Charlie meets along his journey feel completely fleshed out and developed. My heart went out to all of them for the struggles they each were facing.
Intertwined with the story are constant reminders that it is a fairy tale. You see connections to classic fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk, Rumplestiltskin, Little Red Riding Hood. And a reminder that the original version of these fairy tales often didn't have happy endings. You also see references to more modern versions of fairy tales such as Star Wars.
While it isn't a horror book, you have to remind yourself that it is still Stephen King. You're going to have a fair amount of gruesome and disturbing scenes. This isn't a good choice for bedtime stories to read to the kids. But at the same time, it's such a beautiful book! The relationships between the characters, the world King built, the story itself was just magical. I can't put in words exactly how totally captivated I was by this book! I cried when I got to the last page, mostly because the book had ended. I'd been forced out of that beautiful and magical world. I will be back to visit. Probably many times! I am giving Fairy Tale five very solid stars and five fuzzy paw prints for possibly my favorite canine character ever in Radar!
If you're anti-Stephen King for any reason, but a fan of fantasy, I urge you to give this book a try. If you are a King fan, I'd say it's fair to wager that you already have a copy or have plans to get your hands on one. To you I say what are you waiting for? Go read it!
Charlie Reade has had his share of ups and downs growing up. His mom died when he was young causing his dad to drink too much, which left Charlie to grow up on his own. Later, after Charlie’s Dad has stopped drinking and their relationship is on the upswing, Charlie meets a dog named Radar who leads him to her owner, Howard Bowditch. Howard hurt himself and needs help. After years of being a recluse, Howard lets Charlie into his life and ends up sharing a secret with him on a tape minutes before dying. He tells him that inside his shed is a stairway leading down to another world, a world Charlie must see to believe and once he does, nothing will ever be the same.
This book is like a book within a book in certain ways. I read the first few hundred pages, which could have been a book on its own, and then the story took off in another direction that was creative and had a way of bringing fantasy into reality in way I haven’t read in a really long time. It has been an incredibly long time since I have read anything by Stephen King, and I had this one recommended to me by a friend. I’m glad he did because it was so different from anything I have read this year that it made it that much more enjoyable. I do feel like 50-100 pages could have been slimmed down in the middle and made it a more enjoyable read. At times I got lost in the other world and all that was happening, along with the massive number of characters throughout, some with only appeared for a few moments. Charlie and Radar were a great pair and a great way to show love in a different way. To me, this was a great Stephen King book, it wasn’t gory or crazy scary, just a fun escape into the world of fiction and fantasy.
Top reviews from other countries
The first two hundred pages are good, the rest is just someone going through the motions of trying to write a long book. Sometimes, Stephen, less is more. Being a Stephen King fan of his earliest books, I have not been able to read one of his books through to the end since 1999. I think it's time for me to realize that he gets great reviews, not for the storyline, but for his name.
This is Stephen King at his best. "Fairy Tale" starts as an everyday story, a modern novel. A teenage boy helps an old man who has fallen from a ladder. He takes care of his dog, does some chores around the house, helps with rehabilitation... But it wouldn't be a typical Stephen King story if nothing out of the ordinary happened. That's why I didn't like his last book, "Billy Summers," that much. The extraordinary was not there.
Charlie Reade, the teenage boy, is the one who tells the story in later life. So we see everything from his perspective. He takes us on a journey through a fairytale world filled with things familiar to us but just a little bit different. This world reminded me of Mid-World from the "Dark Tower" books all the time; there are some similarities, but King himself regularly makes it clear that it is a different world after all.
Sometimes King explains a little too much. He does not let us make the connections ourselves with the fairy tales from our youth, but always wants to make the comparisons clear himself, as if he is afraid that we will not understand his intention. Another trait of King is that he often repeats certain words in his books to show how the locals pronounce them, how their dialect uses different sounds to make the word sound different; he does it again here, but a variation of it.
But these negatives don't take away from what a fantastic adventure story this is, with quite a bit of fantasy mixed in, and a little bit of horror. I really enjoyed it and made me want to re-read some of King's books; as if my reading pile wasn't big enough already...