‘Fairytale’ is one of those King books that is great around the edges, but the middle is a bit over stuffed and convoluted. A readable book, for sure, but I could have done without a hundred pages of it.
When a teenager, Charlie Reade, sees his elderly recluse of a neighbor needs medical attention, he gladly helps the old man and takes care of his dog while the man is in the hospital. What Charlie doesn’t expect is that the shed in the man’s backyard leads to a different world. Empis, in fact.
In Empis, the world has been taken over by an evil presence that keeps the sun from shining and has turned the people grey. Literally. There are good and bad folks, as there always are in King’s novels. Charlie is one of those characters who is mostly good, but has some violent tendencies when threatened.
Like I said, the story is great until Charlie is captured by the evil characters and imprisoned below the castle in Empis with other “whole people”, or people who have yet to turn grey. During this middle part of the book, there are too many characters, none of whom are at all interesting.
King makes up for it with the ending though. I won’t spoil it for you, but King ended this story well. He pulls heavily from other works, namely old fairytales and often mentions H.P. Lovecraft’s cthulhu and Rumplestiltskin. Not really a fan of the derivitive aspect of this story, but isn’t that what fairytales are now?
I found ‘Fairytale’ to be not on par with his best books (The Shining, The Stand, Misery, The Gunslinger, The Talisman), but certainly not his worst. I’d rank this one somewhere in the middle.