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Fairy Tale
Cover of Fairy Tale
Fairy Tale
Borrow Borrow
Winner of the 2023 Audie Award for Best Male Narrator
A #1 New York Times Bestseller and New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice!

Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest 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 that 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 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.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

Magnificent, terrifying, and "spellbinding...packed with glorious flights of imagination and characteristic tenderness about childhood, Fairy Tale is vintage King at his finest" (Esquire).

"Good, evil, a kingdom to save, monsters to slay—these are the stuff that page-turners are made from." —Laura Miller, Slate
Winner of the 2023 Audie Award for Best Male Narrator
A #1 New York Times Bestseller and New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice!

Legendary storyteller Stephen King goes into the deepest 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 that 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 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.

Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.

Magnificent, terrifying, and "spellbinding...packed with glorious flights of imagination and characteristic tenderness about childhood, Fairy Tale is vintage King at his finest" (Esquire).

"Good, evil, a kingdom to save, monsters to slay—these are the stuff that page-turners are made from." —Laura Miller, Slate
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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes the short story collection You Like It Darker, Holly, Fairy Tale, Billy Summers, If It Bleeds, The Institute, Elevation, The Outsider, Sleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of Watch, Finders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and a television series streaming on Peacock). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower, It, Pet Sematary, Doctor Sleep, and Firestarter are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest-grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2020 Audio Publishers Association Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 25, 2022
    Bestseller King (Billy Summers) underwhelms in an overlong fantasy most likely to appeal to his YA fans. In 2003, seven-year-old Charlie Reade’s mother dies in an accident, sending his father into an alcoholic tailspin. Ten years later, a chance event changes Charlie’s life dramatically; while passing by a neighbor’s home, he hears frantic barking, and a feeble cry for help. He discovers elderly Howard Bowditch badly injured from a fall and calls 911, earning him Bowditch’s gratitude and a reputation as a hero. Charlie becomes the caretaker for both the dog, Radar, whom he grows to love, and Bowditch, who gradually reveals his secrets, including the source of the gold pellets he keeps in his safe: the mysterious shed on his property contains a portal to another world, one teeming with evil that wants to escape. Once the action shifts there, the plot becomes derivative, retreading standard portal fantasy tropes and the familiar struggle between good and evil. Illustrations at the start of each chapter, headed with descriptions of what they include, further convey a juvenile feel. This attempt at creating a sense of wonder and magic falls short.

  • AudioFile Magazine Seth Numrich's narration of 17-year-old Charlie Reade's story is moving and frightening in equal measure. Charlie befriends a reclusive curmudgeon, Howard Bowditch, and his aging dog, and inherits Howard's house and dog when he dies. Howard also leaves Charlie a cassette recording--voiced remarkably by Stephen King. On it, Howard recounts a story within the story, involving a locked shed, a portal to a dying world, and Charlie's part in a plan for salvation. Numrich creates a distinctive voice for each character, complete with growls and guttural snarls for evildoers. He even makes a hum sound threatening. Listeners will be drawn into this audiobook by the intimate tone of Numrich's narration, which is like hearing Charlie himself. L.M.G. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine
  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2022

    King's (Billy Summers) latest overlong offering is really two books in one. The first part concerns 17-year-old Charlie Reade, who is traumatized by his mother's early death and his father's subsequent alcoholism. One day Charlie hears a dog barking frantically while walking past the nearby "Psycho House." There he finds injured, crabby old Mr. Bowditch. Charlie decides to help Mr. Bowditch by cleaning his house, caring for his aged dog, Radar, and providing outpatient care. Turns out that Mr. Bowditch has an inexplicable amount of gold, and there's some weird stuff going on out in the locked shed. Eventually Charlie discovers a portal to Empis, an enchanting realm that holds many dangers. Charlie's journey though Empis abounds in expected fairy-tale tropes and references. Narrator Seth Numerick does a super job giving voice to the many characters. Bowditch sure sounds cranky; Charlie sounds wise beyond his years; and the evil king is horrifying. As always, the book could have benefited from editing, as the story sometimes drags. Even so, Numerick maintains interest through excellent pacing, well-placed humor, and a convincing portrayal of fear and shame. VERDICT Patrons will be clamoring for this one. Public libraries should purchase multiple copies.--B. Allison Gray

    Copyright 2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Simon & Schuster Audio
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Fairy Tale
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Stephen King
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