I bought this book years ago during a two-for-one deal on Audible and planned to listen during a long car ride. That car ride finally happened this month. I picked the Talisman because I knew it was very connected to The Dark Tower AND it was read by Frank Mueller, who IMHO is the voice of The Dark Tower.
The Talisman was not at all what I expected but what I should have expected. The oversimplification is that it is a shorter, YA version of The Dark Tower. It follows twelve year old Jack Sawyer and his quest to find the talisman. He and his mother move to New Hampshire (because of course they do, this is Stephen King after all). She is dying of cancer and Jack finds that here is a different universe called the Territories and his mother’s doppelganger from the Territories, called a Twinner, is also dying from something mysterious. His mother’s Twinner is the queen of the Territories and forces are at work to assume power upon her demise. Those forces also exist in our world and are led by the business partner of Jack’s deceased father. The entirety of the story is Jack’s quest to traverse the country, both here and in the territories, to find the Talisman and save his mother and the queen, restoring order to the universe.
The Talisman was delightful. It slogged at moments but when King (and Straub) shine, they really shine. The story basically mirrors the Dark Tower at a smaller scale. If you like The Dark Tower, you will probably like this. If you think you might want to try The Dark Tower but are on the fence, try this first. If you like it, you’ll love The Dark Tower.
An addendum as I look at the cover, is the Talisman one of the Wizard’s Glasses from Wizard and Glass?