Fairy Tale by Stephen King5 min read

Stephen King's Fairy Tale book cover by publisher, Simon & Schuster

Fans consensus

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Book description from the publisher, Simon & Schuster

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 horrific accident when he was seven 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.

Publication date: 6 June 2023 (Simon & Schuster)

Reviews for Fairy Tale

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“We all know that King can write great characters, but the relationships, both those between Charlie and his father and Charlie and Mr. Bowditch, were just beautifully rendered … I’m a very character driven reader, and the vast depth that Charlie was given really spoke to me. I could have read an entire book about just these characters, and never even delved into the world that our brave main character finds himself in. However, I can’t say that I hated that part either.

Jessica N, Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
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“The first third of ‘fairy tale’ is King at his best and there’s no one better than laying the groundwork. I always think that King ‘writes’ young people well, especially those on the cusp of adulthood. We see them growing, learning through their experiences, usually via the sticky experiences that the author puts them in …

“There’s plenty of classic King moments in ‘Fairy Tale’ – horror that leaves a lasting image, usually involving a body part … King cranks it to the max as he builds towards the climax …

“It’s probably unfair to compare this to previous King efforts, as the bar is so high. But I’m going to put this mid range … I felt it was too long. I’d probably class it with something like ‘Revival’ enjoyed it well enough, just didn’t feel it was in the top bracket.”

Adrian, Book Shelf Discovery
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“Something that King does wonderfully well is coming-of-age stories, and that was on full display here. This is, at its core, the story of a boy and his dog. And that core was my absolute favorite thing about the book …

“I found Fairy Tale reminiscent of other stories by King; specifically The Talisman and Hearts in Atlantis, both of which are works I adore. The coming-of-age, boy on a journey, portal fantasy with a period of captivity, all reminded me me strongly of The Talisman …

“King did a lovely job capturing the eponymous fairy tale vibe while still maintaining his unique voice. There were a host of interesting characters, a fascinating world under a dark curse, and plenty of stakes. The protagonist was likable with a ton of heart …

“I think my main issue with Fairy Tale is that I firmly believe it would’ve been a far stronger novel if it were about 150 pages or so shorter. King tends to have a problem with bloat in his novels, and this one unfortunately was no exception.”

Celeste, Novel Notions
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“Alongside fairy tales, the story borrows a few elements from Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes, which King fully admits in the story itself … I did enjoy Fairy Tale, but I think the first hundred and fifty pages belong in a different, and infinitely better book … once the fantasy part of the story got going, I felt disappointed and that it dragged on a bit too much.”

Ashley Manning, Ashley Manning
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“Fairy Tale is the perfect title for this novel; King expertly weaves his newest story, incorporating many of the fairy tales we all know and love … From the first chapter and illustration, you are drawn into this world … I love the honest way that Charlie relates his experience, cementing early on that he is a reliable narrator …

“… each chapter begins with an illustration, which gives you a peek into the next chapter and is masterfully created to tie into the story … There is a blurring of reality and fantasy that can only be accomplished by an author like King.”

Erica Wiggins, Cloud Lake Literary

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