Although this novel has a slow beginning, once the protagonist begins his journey the pace picks up and new and exciting imaginary experiences unfold. Without giving away the plot, I will concentrate on what I enjoyed about this book. Firstly, it deals with a fantastic realm and how the protagonist, Jack, jumps between this world and the real one, which is more in line with what I usually read—fantasy. Of course, the fantastic creatures used are linked to those one encounters in horror novels, something one would expect from King. Once I got through the first few chapters, Steven King and Peter Straub—yes, this one is co-written—kept me turning the pages wanting to find out more about Jack and the events of his past and following the changes in his character as he grows bolder. Most of the time, I found that the protagonist did not match his young years of twelve, but this did not limit my enjoyment of the story—I only feel that perhaps Steven and Peter should have made their protagonist a little older, say fifteen, to match the character’s thoughts, reactions, and resilience.
In any event, this story had the elements required for an enjoyable novel: tension, character development, obstacles to be surpassed, and a protagonist who keeps landing into trouble, getting hurt, but ultimately coming through his vicissitudes to continue with his journey, and the unfolding of the mystery which drives the plot. Some readers might find this book a little too lengthy, but for me it was still in the acceptable range, since I am used to reading long books: George Martin etc.