20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 12 September 2003
Most people either love or hate King's work, strangely i'm in the middle. Christine, Salem's Lot and Bag of Bones really bored me ( although i can appreciate why people would enjoy them) yet It, 'Everything's Eventual' and The Dark Tower series took my breath away. I read this after IT and the two books are poles apart in storyline but close on high quality. Flagg, is mentioned in the Dark Tower books and is a brilliant character, the intertwining plot is well written and comes together beatifully at the end.
Some people would call this a book for young adults and is a little below the age range of normal king readers but that is a little narrow minded. The easy to follow style of writing makes it accessible for most ages. I highly recommend this book if you enjoy the Dark tower area of King's writing.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 25 November 2003
One of the things I like about Stephen King is his versatility as a storyteller. Yes, he focuses on horror and the supernatural -- telekinetic teenagers, vampires, creatures from other dimensions and even a really "killer" flu -- and is therefore not considered to be a "serious" writer. However, considering the vast output of King books and his longevity as a bestselling author, if nearly 30 years of novels, short story collections, screenplays, original teleplays and a loyal fan base doesn't make him a serious writer, I don't know what would.
I used to buy each new King novel either in paperback or, when I could afford it, in hardcover. Gradually my tastes shifted to military fiction by Tom Clancy, Stephen Coonts and Harold Coyle, but I never stopped liking King's books.
One of my favorites is his 1987 excursion into fantasy, The Eyes of the Dragon. Essentially a story for younger readers -- aimed at kids 12 and up -- and beautifully illustrated by David Palladini, it's a classic story of sibling rivalry between the sons of King Roland of Delain. Peter, the bright and handsome first-born, is heir to the throne, while Thomas, who is not as smart and takes after his short and stout father, tries hard to cope with the knowledge that his status in life is secondary to Peter's. Worse, even though he tries hard to gain the love of his father, Thomas is clumsy and not very skilled with his hands. (In one sad scene, Thomas spends a whole day making a small wooden sailboat for his father the King, only to hear his dad remark that it looked like a dog dropping with a handkerchief attached to it.)
Thomas' only friend is the court magician, a pale and brooding fellow named Flagg. He takes a keen interest in Thomas, but not for altruistic reasons. For Flagg is an inhuman entity in the guise of a man, and he has a dark agenda of his own: to rid Delain of both Roland and Pete so he can take the reins of power for himself. Knowing that the late Queen Sasha was too smart to be manipulated by any of his spells or shrewd manipulations, Flagg set in motion both Thomas' conception and his mother's murder. Slowly, surely, the evil wizard feeds upon and helps stoke Thomas' resentment of his smarter, handsomer brother....all the better to manipulate the well-meaning but weak-willed Prince Thomas when Flagg pulls off his evil scheme.....
The Eyes of the Dragon is decidedly different from King's normally huge novels, but his tone is remarkably evocative of an oral storyteller. I like the way he sometimes goes back and forth in the story to show a seemingly trivial detail (such as Sasha's dollhouse) and then reintroduce it later as a critical plot device. The story itself is charming, and even though it is a story for older children, adults will enjoy The Eyes of the Dragon's mix of fairy tale and classic King supernatural chills.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2009
This book is superb. I have no interest in horror novels but I like King's writing style. I enjoyed 'Different Seasons' and this book was even better. A fantasy adventure that involves all the classic components: a wronged hero(Peter), a great villain(Flagg), a kingdom brought to turmoil (Delain)-add a reluctant usurper (Tom) and a comedy character (Dennis) and you have a great story. Easier to read than Tolkien and yet with more depth than Rowling. A must for magic/fantasy lovers.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2004
King goes away from his norm with this tale. If you're looking for a 1 night reader, this is it. In my opinion, one of King's last good tales that he manages to see through to the end. He has a weird habit of writing a great tale for 500 pages, then reaching climax and resolution on pages 501 thru 502. More in spirit of a Dungeons and Dragons fantasy, the author sticks with the story and pulls it off without a lot of effort. I don't imagine the hardcore King fan will appreciate this ( except for the inclusion (introduction?) of Flagg ) quite as much as most of his horror works. I loved it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2011
A bit different from the usual King offering.
Flagg (from `The Stand') is the royal magician to the ageing Roland the Good. When the King is seemingly poisoned by his eldest son Peter, the throne is passed to Thomas, his younger brother. Flagg ensures that he is the only advisor, determined to plunge the land of Delaine into chaos.
Can Peter escape from the needle in time to save the day? Can civil war be averted?
I have to says that the book flowed well enough, but anyone who is a fan of King for his horror work will be bitterly disappointed. Often the prose seems too childish, and on occasion I think maybe King was having a side bet on how many times he could use the phrase `Time out of Mind' in a single novel.
Worth a look, but not up to his usual standard. Not his worst book I have read, but very close. I think maybe is should have been referenced under the `Young Adult' section of the bookshop.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Stephen King's talent is a little wasted in this fleshed out short story about political backstabbing in the fantasy kingdom of Delain. Although it's a strictly by the numbers affair, the story is interesting enough to see you through to the end. The characters are rather dull, even with considerable time devoted to their development, for the book spans some 20 years or so. Despite this time-scale, the plot is very simple and never really looks beyond the few central protagonists. Overall, this feels more like a short story than a full book and takes a simple narrative style, when it could have been so much better.
on 24 May 2012
I've just finished Stephen King's "The Eyes of the Dragon", a fantasy novel. It takes a fairly simple fairytale format and tries to grow it up to lend, I think this is the aim, more of a sense of the 'real'. There's a small cast of stock characters given sufficient depth to make them interesting, and a pantomime villain. It's easy to read and I wasn't bored.
Neither was I especially engaged. I enjoyed the story but I have a few major reservations.
- who is it for? I think it's meant to be YA, but in the early stages of the book one or two things cropped up that felt out of joint with the general tone.
- introduction of a character key to the denouement very late in the book. This felt contrived, and didn't really work.
- storytelling style. I think I know what he was doing with this, aiming to be a narrator sitting next to you and telling you the story orally, pointing things out here and there, or stepping out of the narrative for a short discursive comment. I didn't dislike this, but I don't think he brought it off very well. The narrative tone was a bit too much 'smug grandpa'.
- few and fairly inept illustrations. Either make it an illustrated book or don't. Or if you're going to go for very few illustrations, at least make them good ones.
My overall impression is that it feels amateurish, and if this manuscript had been presented to a publisher under an unknown name, it would have been rejected. I have read very little Stephen King, and that was in my teens, but I believe he's supposed to be a good writer. If so, what's going on here? What am I missing? It's not bad, it's just not particularly good. So into the Oxfam box with it.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2001
King wrote this book for his children, and as such it is very different from his usual horror, but he still manages to capture you with his main strength - his storytelling. Also, this book sees old Flagg up to his usual tricks and causing havoc, which is always good to read. The story is very well written and is as entertaining as many of his other work. This would be a good choice for King fans who are looking for something a little different, but still containing his magic touch.
on 25 October 2013
I had an interest in this book for a long time, I am a King fan (although I seem to be stuck re-reading the same anthologies, I haven't really read that much of his work yet), but I am also a fantasy fan, so I was most intrigued.
I was no disappointed, the book had the quick writing of King, and led over a vast fantasy scale, covering several years seamlessly. It was a mix of fantasy and crime, with a trademark dash of horror to set your hair on its end. The more I read the better the book got, the more I rooted for characters (or rooted for something to kill them off with!), just a great read.
I also read this with a friend in mind who reads pretty much pure fantasy and does not have time for King to see if I can get her to read this. I think, while she would like a dash more fantasy for it to be perfect she would still enjoy this.
I didn't know until I saw a blurb a few minutes ago that this was the prelude to the dark tower series, in that case I may have to make time to read it some day.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 4 August 2005
This story will require something of a leap of faith for hardened King fans who like their books laced with Lovecraftian evil from beyond the stars. However, it is worth it. Just pick it up and read it - You will be transported into a dark fairy tale. Whilst it could easily be read by children, it's darksome charm still holds plenty of currency for an adult reader (Adults read Harry Potter after all). And Flagg's in it. King's books are often all part of a larger tapestry of theme and story, and this one fits well. Very good indeed.