Charlie Reade is a regular seventeen-year-old American until a tragic accident claims his mother’s life and his father sinks into alcohol trying to cope. It is when the darkness of reality gets its own little miracle a fantasy becomes reality. An act of chance and kindness leaves Charlie with the keys to a magical world hidden under our own reality. He then has to fight to protect our world and right the wrongs within the other.
The story is incredible, no less than you would have expected from a seasoned storyteller like Stephen King 🤴
The size of the book may seem daunting. I honestly was worried if I fell asleep reading, it would fall on my face and give me a black eye. However, the story carries more than just one narrative; the character of Charlie Reade’s struggle to care for himself and his dad after his mom’s death in a brutal hit-and-run is enough for one novel on its own. When he meets a dog named Radar and her ageing master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill with a locked shed in the backyard life gets all the stranger and Charlie’s promise to God gets a new test. The second narrative is a genuinely fascinating fairytale mash-up and remix. Charlie fulfils a prophecy of a long-awaited hero prince.
The presentation is good, I love the illustration, but more importantly, care has been taken in chapter planning and image placement so as not to break the reader’s flow in reading the story. The main performing characters are excellent. Some of the narratives are lazy as it presumes you can make the reference to the “Average American life”. However, it’s still strong stuff. The gruesome is not lost or watered down by fairytale atmospheric delivery. An excellent read. Easily a good read for any fantasy enthusiast. I would even recommend this one to Young Adult readers (not typical for Steven King novels), especially those looking to take the next step up from reads such as the Percy Jackson collection.