I was extremely excited when I first heard this book was being released, but as the release date grew closer I began to have feelings of trepidation. The Talisman has been one of my favorite books since it was released when I was fourteen. Jack Sawyer has always been one of my favorite of Stephen King's characters (ok, I realise that this is a collaboration, but I tend to view it as more of a Stephen King creation. This is probably grossly unfair to Peter Straub, but there you have it.) My great fear was that I wouldn't like Jack as an adult. That there was no way that these two could top the marvelous quest that was The Talisman. Then I heard that Black House would be tied into the Dark Tower series. I wasn't sure how to feel about this either. While I feel that the Dark Tower will prove to be the greatest of Stephen King's works, I have always viewed The Talisman as something altogether seperate, and magical. My trepidation increased. Then I decided to just let it go,...
For those of you out there who are huge Stephen King fans like myself, you will buy and read this book regardless if every review you can get your hands on tells you it sucks like a vacum. That's just the way we are. But the truth be told, this is not one of the best, and perhaps not even one of the better. The Talisman, part 1 of this story, was great. It had fantasy and suspence and childish innocence to a tee. Blackhouse goes through the motions, in reality it seems like a murder mystery that added the Territories as an after thought so it could be a part 2. Don't get me wrong it's not a bad book. It has some great story telling in there and some awfully likeable characters like Henry the blind radio announcer with several on air peronalities, and in places it really shines. For the fans I was talking about earlier there is some insight into the Dark Tower and what might be dealt with in the future Gunslinger books which makes it a worthwhile read. I guess...
I've been waiting for this book ever since I finished "The Talisman" -- way back when it was first published. Now Jack and I are both in our early 30s. For me, reading "Black House" felt like seeing an old childhood friend again after far too long. But we barely had time to catch up before the story took off, like an inexorable dark train carrying us to parts unknown. "Black House" was totally absorbing. I didn't want it to end, and yet I couldn't resist staying up until 5 a.m. finishing it. The characters are great -- especially the motorcycle gang who help Jack solve the crime, and his friend Henry, a blind DJ. King and Straub are both masters when it comes to creating a wholly believable place, and they've done it again, both with the small Wisconsin town and its mirror image in the Territories. The ending suggests that King and Straub have more stories to tell us about the Territories and its' inhabitants. I hope they don't wait another...
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