Stephen King’s Fairy Tale: A Review


Book Cover for Fairy Tale

“I think all worlds are magic. We just get used to it.”
― Stephen King

Stephen King, who just happens to be one of my favorite authors, wrote a new book this year and it does not necessarily fit into the horror genre. He has been known to cross into fantasy and I believe Fairy Tale does just that. While I usually prefer his horror over his fantasy, I was pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this novel. With that being said let’s dive into Stephen King’s Fairy Tale.

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, and a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run 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.


Before you continue know that there will be some spoilers in this short plot recap, so skip to the review below.

Charlie Reade is a 17-year-old boy living in Rural America with his father, George Reade. At 7, years old, Charlie’s mother is killed by a van. In turn, George will drown his grief with bottles of alcohol.

George will get better, and this would lead to one day Charlie finding his neighbor Howard Bowditch who’s elderly and seems to scare the neighborhood children. Mr. Bowditch is injured, and, Charlie calls the ambulance. Because Charlie feels he owes a debt for his father’s recovery, from alcohol, Charlie agrees to watch Radar, Mr. Bowditch’s, German Shepard. He will also help Mr. Bowditch once he comes home.

Mr. Bowditch talks about a stash of gold that he uses it to pay his hospital bills.

Months go by and Charlie takes care of Mr. Bowditch. Radar’s health declines, and ultimately, Mr. Bowditch will die from a heart attack. After his death, Mr. Bowditch says he is 120 years old and that there is a portal to another world in the shed.

In this world lives the gold, but also a sundial to can turn people younger. Charlie now loves Radar and goes to the land to help her live longer. He goes into the shed and travels to the world known as Empis.

Charlie would go on to meet Dora, Claudia, and Leah, and they help with food and guidance. They all suffer from the illness known as “the gray” which leaves them gray and disfigured. He learns that the great evil is called the Flight Killer, who later turns out to be Leah’s brother, Elden.

While there, Charlie is captured and has to compete in a battle for his freedom.
Four months later, Charlie and Radar return home and seal it off so no one else can find it.

Let’s get into my review on Stephen King’s Fairy Tale. I enjoyed this book. This book is about a boy and his dog. A boy who would do anything to have more time with his dog. There is something earnest and sweet about that. From the first chapter describing the death of Charlie’s mother was explained, I was hooked. There were amazing details explaining many parts of the book.

The relationship between Charlie and George shows a hard-won relationship, after all, they have been through. They express their feelings often and I think it is refreshing to see.

“There’s a dark well in everyone, I think, and it never goes dry. But you drink from it at your peril. That water is poison.”
― Stephen King

Charlie is flawed as we all are, but his flaws are waved beautifully in the story. The relationship he has with Mr. Bowditch and his love for Radar are some of the best parts of the story.
However, I wish the residents of Empis were explored a bit more or fleshed out more. He meets many of them, but there isn’t much to go on with them and Charlie.

I think the details describing Empis were excellent. They were immersive. There was a scene where Dora from Epmis is eating, and the description of that action made me feel like I was watching her eat myself.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m iffy about fantasy books, even from Mr. King himself. Fairy Tale was enjoyable indeed. I believe this is a book that can be enjoyed by most. If I was to rate it out of 5. I’d give it a 4-star rating. That’s it for my review of Stephen King’s Fairy Tale.


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  1. Although I usually read Stephen King’s work for a good scare, Fairy Tale has become one of my favorites. Fairy Tales fascinate me and I even taught a short course about them( Not in Charlie’s league) . The characters were strange but believable. I have read it twice- still have questions.

  2. It is a great book one of my all time favorites. It stayed up with me q long time. Stephen King Is my favorite author. I started reading him because I grew up in Maine. Wish I could get more of my friends to read this book. But they say oh no I can’t read that kind of stuff they have no imagination

  3. Fairy Tale is a Fantastic read! I was totally drawn in from the first chapter.
    I would love to see a sequel to this Amazing novel !
    Maybe when Charlie is aged he will tell his son about the other world and his son could take him there to save him from his age.
    I give this book 10 stars..5 just isn’t enough..

  4. I find it interesting everyone thinks Kings first fantasy book is Fairytale

    The Dark tower is surely fantasy,, among others. As an avid fan since 1976 after reading Carrie, and having read everybody. And he wrote different genre as Bachman. Just saying

  5. Omg I can’t get enough of this book. It is now my new favorite one out of his novels!!it brought me into that world it was an amazing adventure! I love Stephen King!

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Written by Katrina

Katrina is a writer, podcaster, Youtuber and a wrestling backstage correspondent. She loves wrestling. So much so that during the Thunderdome era, she was a frequent visitor. When she isn't being sarcastic or laughing at memes, she is reading a good book. She also enjoys binge watching crime shows, anime, horror movies or watching her favorite matches. Katrina also is an award-winning author, writing under the name Kay Blake. She has a YouTube channel called In Kat We Trust, and a podcast called Kickin' Back with Kat where she interviews wrestlers from all over.

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