Submitted by Sinsai33 t3_11d9qcz in books

Yes, i dont like it. I honestly should have stopped the book 200 pages in, but i have never not finished a book, so i did what i had to do.

Let me preface this by saying this is my second King book. My first was the shining, which i would rate a 8/10. So maybe, King is just not my style and i was lucky with the shining.

So, there are many problems that made me dislike this book.

One of the biggest ones is the part that many people seemed to love. The first half of the book before Charlie found out about the well/other world. I like normal fiction (stuff like Fredrik Backmann - A man called ove is my favorite book even!), so this wasnt something new for me. But in my opinion using half a book (~300 pages) in this case was just too much. The interaction/relationship between bowditch and charlie could have been reduced to 100 pages and i still would have felt the same emotionally. But that wasnt the biggest flaw for me for that half of the book. It just didnt built up any tension and mystery for me. Obviously there are three big points: Where was the gold from, whats in the shed and who murdered the gold-trader. Maybe i should have gone completely blind into it, but knowing that there is another world (which is said in every recommendation text to describe the book online) and the title being fairy tale basically made the first two mysteries obsolete. So the only thing left was Christopher Polley and that just wasnt a big enough mystery - at least for me.

So after the first half was over and we finally got into the other world i felt relieved. And honestly the book got better. While i would say the first half is a 2/5 i would say the latter half is a 4/5. But (there always has to be a but) the ending was just.. something else. I dont want to give it a 0, so a 1 has to suffice. There are two parts that made me hate it. First of all, the way the "fight" against Gogmaggog got won. Obviously it was a rumpelstiltskin way of ending, which got "hinted" multiple times throughout the book (and honestly besides polley and the dwarf being evil, i dont see another correlation to rumpelstiltskin). But in the case of the rumpelstiltskin fairy tale itself the whole fairy tale was building up to that point. It was literally the goal in the story to find the name. Here? There is nothing like that. Even worse, it seems that everyone in the other world knows that name, but is afraid to use it. Using it then to "defeat" the big evil feels to me like King didnt know how to finish it. It honestly also felt like the rumpelstiltskin hints where plastered into the story after he did the ending, so it would make a little bit of sense. The second part is how charlie handled the well at the end. To me fairy tales need to have a "and they lived happily ever after" part. Charlie never coming back (except for once with his dad) and even filling it with concrete was a total letdown. I cant say anything else, besides it disappointing me so much.

The last big problem (still got small ones) is charlie itself. The way he is written made he heavily dislike him. In fairy tales the main characters are usually some perfect kinda princes. The same is the case with charlie. But in fairy tales there is only a small section telling us that they are perfect. In this book we get reminded every 3-5 pages that charlie is the good guy itself. And in tandem with it we also always get reminded that he was really bad in his childhood. After some time you would think that we already know, but that seems not to be the case in Kings eyes. The same goes for charlie reminding us every few pages that some words dont exist in their language..

Those were my 3 big points. I also got 2 smaller ones.

Let me start with the easier one. The sex scene. Why? Just why? The whole second half of the book charlie is gushing over the princess and at the end he randomly has a woman (which was in jail with him) come up to him, ask him if he wants sex and does it (out of the eyes of a teenager i understand it, but not out of an authors eyes)? And then talking about if it was a thank you or mercy fuck? Just why did this part have to be in the story? Like those 10 lines did add nothing at all. I'm not a prude, i like sex scenes. But at least give a little build up to it? Or just dont add it at all.

The second one is the way the fairy tales were referenced. I already mentioned it with the rumpelstiltskin one. This book had so many opportunities (the goose girl one was a really good reference!) to integrate fairy tales better into the world. To hint at the fairy tales in good ways. But it never did. There were always 1-2 really insignificant hints (except the goose girl) and then immediately charlie spoils the name of the fairy tale. So instead of getting the good feeling of "hah, i knew that one" we immediately get told "and this is fairy tale xyz".

I dont know what else to say besides i'm happy that it is over. I love fantasy, i love horror, i love good characters and good written relationships. So everything this book is seemingly loved for. But somehow i dont like the book.



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Pipe-International t1_ja7f6wv wrote

I liked the first half more. The secondary world just wasn’t interesting.

There are some pretty gnarly fairy tales out there, not anything like their popular Disney ‘happily ever after’ adaptions.


AdamInChainz t1_ja7egm6 wrote

I see more people disliking this book rather than liking it. Me included. The book was a bore. A very long bore.


McIgglyTuffMuffin t1_ja7fp5w wrote

Between the issues with the sex scene and the general dislike of the ending, you might not be a Stephen King fan, but also I wouldn't write him off.

If you want to try some more King give the classic stuff a go, Carrie, Christine, Salem's Lot, that sort of stuff. Early King.

I liked Fairy Tale, but in my overall ranking I'm not sure it would land so high. I feel like in the last decade I'm just enjoying but not loving his stuff, which is also okay! But if you want to pick up a banger of more recent period King you gotta read 11/22/63.


barfussaufasphalt t1_ja810ra wrote

Did not like it as well. For me it was the other way around, 4/5 for the upper world part, 1/5 for the inner world part. I stopped reading this book when the horse started talking through that girl's mouth .. After nightshift, shining, pet sematary and the institute fairytale was just disappointing


rudebish t1_ja7eah8 wrote

I really enjoyed the first part of the book but then the 2nd part i couldn't even finish it so I didn't. Hugely disappointed and I love most of King's work.


drewfarndale t1_ja7jcmi wrote

Go to his earlier stuff Carrie, Salems Lot, Christine etc they're great.


quicksandnow t1_ja7ijwc wrote

I also struggled to get through Fairy Tale. Before you give up on Stephen King, I'd highly recommend Misery & 11/22/63!


HugoNebula t1_ja7nfuy wrote

>My first was the shining, which i would rate a 8/10. So maybe, King is just not my style and i was lucky with the shining.

I think you could pick any of King's first half-dozen or so books (and all of the initial Richard Bachman novels) and have a pretty good time, rewarding your time and interest. After that, maybe another half-dozen equally strong reads, as long as you avoided the novels veering into fantasy (and I would include the Dark Tower series in this).

Fairy Tale comes in the twilight of a very long career, when most folk would just retire. King can't not write, so he'll continue to be published, but he's written very little of real worth—certainly compared to his heyday—for almost two decades now.


loneacer t1_ja7otty wrote

I think some of his best work has been in the last decade. For me, his low point was the 90s and early 2000s. The Mr Mercedes / Bill Hodges Trilogy and 11/22/63 were fantastic.


HugoNebula t1_ja7phvk wrote

I thoroughly enjoyed 11/22/63 (more for the unexpected love story than anything else), and thought Finders Keepers was by some margin the best of the Hodges books, and the last truly decent book he published—but I consider them outliers in his recent work.


saufcheung t1_ja90bvm wrote

King books tend to be a slow burn, great first half, and mediocre finish/latter half. Fairy tale fits his standard mold for me.


iso_lotus71 t1_ja94vso wrote

Ha, “normal fiction”.


mclardass t1_jaak756 wrote

Having read King for decades, and knowing the structure of the book coming in, I was simply disappointed. Not surprised, just disappointed. I'd agree that the first half was 2/5 but at least I cared about the characters at that point. Once things started moving to the other world it was just all downhill for me.


bmtri t1_jaan1zh wrote

My biggest problem with it was that it seemed like he was covering ground in the second half that he already did in "The Talisman," and I liked that previous book better.


Pigs_in_the_Porridge t1_jab81j8 wrote

One of King's more flaccid efforts.

Stick to the first half of his career and IMO there aren't really any misses.


JSB19 t1_jabft7l wrote

I didn’t care for Fairy Tale at all either. None of the characters were interesting or memorable, it took too long to get to the Fairy Tale world and it was as compelling as the characters (not compelling at all), and I also really hated the ending for the same reasons as you.

There was one saving grace in the book for me: The tournament. Forget what they call it but it was the only highlight. The training, competition, and escape had me riveted and eager to see how it would go.


Eeeegah t1_ja7tnrx wrote

I've read everything King has written (including some as yet unreleased stuff - benefit of having a friend from Bangor), and I didn't care for Fairy Tale, mostly because I felt it had an extra 200 pages of fluff that was unnecessary and REALLY slowed the book down - King needs someone to edit him sometimes.

I'm reminded of The Stand, which I read both as the original release and as the release with (as I recall) roughly 350 pages put back in that King hadn't wanted taken out in the original publication. Of those 350, perhaps 50 were quality stuff - the rest deserved the cutting room floor.


IndigoTrailsToo t1_ja7ul9q wrote

I feel like the more books King writes, the less they are trimmed down.

I want to like King more but it's very hard.


Pigs_in_the_Porridge t1_jab8agd wrote

Yeah he doesn't get edited much anymore. It's a shame. Carrie got slimmed down to be a very tight, fast read but that was 50 years ago now.


Wilforks t1_ja8xn18 wrote

It was a mediocre king book. He’s a compelling enough writer to keep me reading even when I know the book isn’t good, and there was some interesting world building mixed in with everything else in Fairy Tale sure. In the last 10 years it’s the second worst thing he’s written (behind sleeping beauties, and that was a project to get his kid published). That said, King has a pretty high floor, people finish his books even when they don’t like them, he’s got such talent for plot progression.


ILoveMy-KindlePW t1_ja8xpbt wrote

I am a fan of King's work but the more I read him the more I dislike the novels. The majority of them have really bad endings that I would say ruin the stories, a lot of wall of text to say something irrelevant or that you could have say with less words. Characters are often very, very similar between stories to the point that they have the same job, wear the same shirts and talk similar. The worst part is that most of these stories are absolutely irrelevant or unbelivable. His dark tower series has very three books (2-3-4) but after that is just fanfiction level and he just re-uses characters and situations we already read while also putting himself into the saga which is the most egocentrical shit i have ever read. I read Joyland a while ago and I literally can't remember almost anything. King has some wonderful books and stories that are part of my life and are some of my favorites ever like IT or Misery, but the dude writes a lot and most of it is the equivalent of a McDonald, I really belive you can't put quality when you release a book or more a year for this long.


IKacyU t1_ja8yfne wrote

I haven’t read Fairy Tale, but Kings whole catalogue is hit or miss. He rarely has good endings, but sometimes the journey is better than the destination. And sometimes it’s not. And sometimes it’s just weird.


Basarav t1_ja9e1v1 wrote

I agree with you. I stopped reading it about three quarters of the way in.


kloktick t1_ja9ha8p wrote

I didn’t like Fairy Tale either, for most of the reasons you mention. King has never written a word he didn’t love, so frequently we get dull, drawn out preambles, usually about an alcoholic in some fashion, and lame endings.

He writes without a plan, makes it up as he goes. Most of his post-accident work is built upon the same blueprint, with new character names and an “interesting” hook for each book.

He wrote better books when he was high on cocaine and Schlitt’s, 70’s - about ‘88. They’re not perfect, but they’re everything the stuff from ‘99 on isn’t - scary, dark, gross, and passionate. He wanted to gross you out, to scare you with the darkest sides of humanity, to make you squirm. There’s a chapter in The Stand that’s only about nice, normal people dying in the saddest, grossest ways. IT is the same way - my favorite book of his. Misery reads like a stream of consciousness fever dream.

There’s so much value to his current stories - the Hodges trilogy show he’s a master of all genres. Revival is a fantastic read. But in his youth he wrote from a place that he’s spent the last 30 years trying to put behind him.


EvokeWonder t1_ja9p0e0 wrote

People like his books because he’s a big time author. His Fairy Tale seems similar to others. Only difference in Stephen King’s case is he likes to go into details about EVERYTHING. It feels like he doesn’t know how to just make a story go forward without mentioning the dog is hungry. Without mentioning the kid is not into school. Mentions bicycle scenes. These do not really make the story move forward, but feels like a slice of life mixed with fairy tale writing.

I don’t like his style of writing, but I have noticed that his era of writing has other writers who write like him where they write everything makes me think it was popular to write it that way in his time.

I loved Dragon’s Eye by him and that was actually the only book I really enjoyed of his. I did read The Shining and Doctor Sleep but I liked the movies better.


Efficient-Fun923 t1_ja9pq53 wrote

Most if not all King novels would be much better with 10-20% being cut.


loneacer t1_ja7nwpn wrote

I finished it over the weekend. I've read all but about 10 of his full length novels. Eventually I'll read them all. I'd put The Shining somewhere in the bottom 25%, maybe even bottom 10%. I think he really shines with books that are heavy on fantasy. Horror books, books that are just trying to be scary with a thin plot, aren't enjoyable for me.

I thought Fairy Tale was fine. Not great, but somewhere solidly in the middle of his catalog. The sex paragraph kind of came out of the blue and didn't fit in very well, but it is what it is. Up until then, I kind of expected the two female prisoners to be lesbians, or if not I thought Charlie might hook up with Jaya since they interacted a lot throughout the story.


Sumtimesagr8notion t1_ja9qoeh wrote

He's just not a great writer.

IT, The Shining, Different Seasons, Misery, are all good books, I don't think he's ever written anything great. And he's written plenty of novels that I don't even understand how they got published


Tanagrabelle t1_ja7iii3 wrote

OMG a Stephen King book in which no women gets forced to have intercourse even by the circumstances, and the only sex scene is between consenting adults, even though one is a young adult! I... I just don't know what to do with this. /s

Of course, the Queen is going to have to have intercourse with whomever she has to marry for political reasons, because the damage to her face will always mar her beauty blah blah blah but there are other worlds than this. (Sorry, little in-joke.)

I have no idea if there's a majority. I've seen a lot of complaints about the book, largely based on the second half. However, for me since your apparently easiest complaint is consensual sex that happens "offscreen", I'm kind of exasperated.


Sinsai33 OP t1_ja7jnjm wrote

The problem is not that it is a sex scene. The problem is that it came out of the blue and was unnecessary. I would have said the same if charlie at the end of the book told us something like "and now let's go to the next mcdonals".


Tanagrabelle t1_ja7m74d wrote

Well, I thought the sex scene in IT when Beverly takes each boy in turn was out of the blue and was unnecessary. Oh, and that the two of them had sex when they were adults, and he's a happily married man with a wife he loves.


Sargash t1_ja7ivya wrote

Lots of people are stephen king fans because the era it came out in had a lot of nonces and toxic masculine assholes.