I hate do it, but this wasn’t my favorite book. In fact, I almost gave-up reading it a couple of times and moved on to something else. The truth of the matter is that the book had too many climaxes and low points that seemed to drag on for far to long. Yes there was great writing, not to mention that imaginative world where the story takes place and the skill to create such a world, but the story seemed disjointed and stop-and-goish.

The story begin when young Jack Sawyer meets an unusual custodian who he be-friends. Within a few short moments this custodian, who talks like he has known Jack all his life (we learn latter that he has) warns him that his mother is dying and the only way to save her is by travelling all the way across the country to California and finding the Talisman. He can make the trip one of two ways: the usual way, across the United States where a boy traveling alone while he should be in school might seem suspicious and will, in all likelihood, not go unnoticed, or, he can travel through The Territories, a land stuck somewhere between the middle ages and some fantasy world that one might read in a Tolkien book. Traveling in this mysterious land is probably the best bet, Speedy, Jacks new friend and custodian explains to him. In The Territories distances aren’t what they seem and traveling there means that you will cover more distance in the same amount of time. There is  catch, however, travelling in The Territories is fraught with danger as there are tree and mutant creatures that kill without a second thought.

Jack is able to flip into one world and out of another by the help of a bitter-tasting liquor provided by Speedy – although later, Jack will learn to make this transition all on his own without the help of the liquid.

As Jack encounters trouble he flips from one world to the other. For example, when under attack in The Territories, Jack flips to the real world, bringing Wolf his new companion with him. Once in this world Wolf and Jack continue their journey west, pausing for a few days when Wolf – a real life werewolf – changes from a boy into a wolf in order to feed. Once he has changed back they continue west but not before they find themselves in the clutches of Starlight Gardner who preaches the word of God but is himself more like the Devil.

And so the story goes all the way to the end. The story of howJack escapes Starlight Gardner is well written and keeps me on the edge of my seat, but afterwards the tempo of the book gets bogged down in background and history. Don’t get me wrong, history is always good, but there has to be something there to keep my interest, as well as a back story that relates to the overall plot. Maybe I am old-fashioned and like explosions and adventure from beginning to end in the stories I read?

In any event, like I said, there were highs and lows in the tempo of the book, although to me there seemed like more lows then highs.

Rating (Out of 5):

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