Don’t let Stephen King’s dreamy Fairy Tale book title fool you as this novel is a timeless, transporting, terrifying treat full of ‘man-eating giants, electric zombies and duels to the death’ and born from the pandemic.
The Master of Horror used the multiple lockdowns to create a story where 17-year-old Charlie grieves over his mother’s death and cares for his drunken dad. Despite the tragedy, he grows up to be a strong and clever man who helps strangers — such as Mr Bowditch, who has an equally elderly dog and a crumbling property that sits on a tunnel leading to a mysterious world in need of saving from a horrifying evil.
When Charlie eventually makes his way into the other world, he finds it peopled by men and women with grey and disfigured faces, talking horses and goose girls and intelligent crickets. The scary and evil world sucks him in but all he wants is to go back to his dad.
USA TODAY’s Brian Truitt gave the vintage King tale three-and-a-half stars out of four and said, “King brings his own flair to the fairy tale, good enough to land this hefty tome right next to your Brothers Grimm collection. It’s a genre full of poison apples and big bad wolves, and King thankfully doesn’t skimp on the horror here.”