Fairy Tale, by Stephen King

Should I admit straightaway that this is actually the first book I've ever read by Stephen King, you might express disbelief. How does one avoid one of the greatest living authors? Can't say, really. Perhaps it was bad timing or not quite the right mood. Or it might remain one of those mysteries one can only ponder. Nevertheless, here I am, having just finished "Fairy Tale." And what a tale it was.

Once upon a time, there was a young lad named Charlie. He's quite the tough cookie. Mastering two sports, grasping the basics of Latin, and selflessly taking care of an old chap (Howard) who he managed to save after a particularly nasty fall from a ladder. Oh, and there's a lovely dog as well. But this isn't the fairy tale part. Not even the bit when Charlie inherits Howard's sizeable estate, giving him a good head start in life—which isn't a bad thing considering today's property market. And have I mentioned a rather nice pot of gold pellets?

Then there's The Shed. Thankfully, Howard was no Josef Fritzl, and while there's a strong suspicion that something really bad is in there, the only thing hidden is a secret passage to the Other World. And that's where the fairy tale begins.

Charlie sets off to explore, only to discover he's the real Prince Charming. Even his hair turns blond and his eyes go blue—but not without some hurdles. He falls in love with a princess—who doesn't have a mouth, so he can forget about kissing—and saves a cricket who, in turn, is The Cricket and makes a significant difference in the end. So all in all, it's pretty much the fairy tale twists and turns one might expect.

This all goes pretty much along the lines of traditional fairy tales. Not the ones you tell to children, but the nitty-gritty ones that lurk behind them.

By now, you might be under the impression that I might have disliked the book, which couldn't be further from the truth. The book is a real page-turner, and there are quite a few pages to turn (581 in paperback).

Rating: ★★★★☆ ?

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