Narrated by Seth Numrich and author Stephen King, Fairy Tale shares a dark fantasy as a young man named Charlie Reade traverses to a world filled with danger and despair. A stunning masterpiece that hooked me from the start.
by Stephen King
Narrator: Seth Numrich, Stephen King
Length: 24 hours
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x
Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes deep into the 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 their 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. Then, when Charlie is seventeen, he meets Howard Bowditch, a recluse with a big dog in a big house at the top of a big hill. In the backyard is a locked shed from which strange sounds emerge, as if some creature is trying to escape. When Mr. Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie the house, a massive amount of gold, a cassette tape telling a story that is impossible to believe, and a responsibility far too massive for a boy to shoulder.
Because within the shed is a portal to another world—one whose denizens are in peril and whose monstrous leaders may destroy their own world, and ours. In this parallel universe, where two moons race across the sky, and the grand towers of a sprawling palace pierce the clouds, there are exiled princesses and princes who suffer horrific punishments; there are dungeons; there are games in which men and women must fight each other to the death for the amusement of the “Fair One.” And there is a magic sundial that can turn back time.
A story as old as myth, and as startling and iconic as the rest of King’s work, Fairy Tale is about an ordinary guy forced into the hero’s role by circumstance, and it is both spectacularly suspenseful and satisfying.
Stephen King introduces us to Charlie Reade, a young high school student whose life has been filled with hardship. He is genuinely a good kid. When he comes across Howard Bowditch, he step into help. Howard’s injured and Charlie calls an ambulance. Before they take Howard to the hospital, Charlie agrees to look after Radar, the recluse’s dog. Howard lives in the house at the top of the hill from Charlie and so he travels back and forth to care for the dog and eventually help the old man himself.
In Howard’s yard, you’ll find an old shed with a padlock. If you open the door, you’ll find a hole with stairs that take you to another world filled with large bugs, strange people, and a fallen kingdom. The story that unfolds held me spellbound. The tale is narrated by Seth Numrich as the voice of Charlie, our protagonist and Stephen King himself, narrates parts.
The tale is fantasy with an underlying horror. The world found in the shed is dark and the people their strange and oppressed. Some are kind and others are only looking out for themselves. Here you will find banished royalty, twisted rulers and dark, dank dungeons. Only travel by day because when the two moons race across the sky, danger will find you. You’ll find magic here as well. There is a sundial that will turn back time and more. It was horrifying and yet fascinating. Think original Grimm fairytales. Much of the book is spent in this alternate world.
Weaved with fairy tales from my youth, we travel with Charlie and Radar into the portal. We see character growth, sacrifices and witness the birth of a hero.
King fleshes out his characters and takes his time building the back story as he gives readers/listeners a panoramic view of the world. Each character is developed from the main characters to the guard serving food. They are flawed and realistic. I soon found myself fully invested. The detail and prose are rich, allowing me to see and experience things right along with Charlie. If I closed my eyes, I could see it all.
Fans will love the Easter eggs as we explore this dark fairy tale. When an audiobook is twenty-four hours long and you lose track of time, you’ll understand the magic of this author’s storytelling.
I highly recommend listening. Seth Numrich has narrated previous novels for King. He did a fantastic job with this tale. His tone, pacing and unique voices pulled me in. Parts are narrated by King and I appreciated how it was done.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)
This sounds like the Stephen King I used to read and love. I’ve never listened to any Stephen King audiobooks, but maybe I’ll try this one since you recommend it. Great review!
Yes….this is exactly the King we love.
Carole @ Carole's Random Life
I have really liked the recent books written by King that I have had the chance to read. This one sounds is calling to me. I think that I am going to have to get my hands on not only a hardcover copy but also the audiobook. Great review!
Worth the purchase price, Carole!
I will definitely go for the audiobook version of this one!
Happy Listening Jill!!
I’ve been wondering about this book. It’s going on my TBR now. Especially convincing is how a 24hr long audiobook can hold your attention!
I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on it Wendy!
This sounds great. I like the idea of the alternate world. I always enjoy how King takes time to develop his characters, this really draws me into his storytelling. Fantastic review!
I completely agree. Enjoy!
Hi, what parts did King read?
The old man
I just started and it is indeed Magical. The old man as in Howard Bowditch?
Yes, the old man …it’s the tape cassettes.