Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Eyes of the Dragon (Stephen King)

The Eyes of the Dragon
Stephen King
Signet Books
Fiction, Fantasy
***+ (Okay/Good)

DESCRIPTION: Once upon a time, in the kingdom of Delain, there lived a king known as Roland the Good... a man who may have been no more good or evil than most, but who had at his shoulder a sinister demon of a Court Magician, Flagg. Perhaps it was Flagg's influence, or perhaps it was Roland's own weakness, but the king's son Thomas grew up feeling so insecure and unloved and inadequate that he would be the perfect pawn to finish off the magician's centuries-long Plan: destroying the long line of Delain's royalty and unleashing generations of chaos and bloodshed. Unfortunately, Thomas's beloved older brother, Peter, stands to inherit the crown. But when Roland is poisoned and Peter convicted of regicide, nothing stands in the path of Flagg's victory... nothing, perhaps, except the bonds of loyalty, memories of love, and the slender threads of hope rooted in a long-lost gift.

REVIEW: Despite a certain fairy-tale charm, if one with dark undertones, this book ultimately feels like a short story - or, at best, a novella - fluffed and stretched out to paperback length. It tells itself in endless circles, with the omniscient storyteller narrator telegraphing major developments only to annoyingly dance and delay and backtrack, while deliberately omitting key elements just to shock (or, in my case, irritate) the reader. The world of Delain is a generalized sketch, a hazy watercolor backdrop with hints of magic but only a vague sense of cohesiveness. Likewise, the characters tend to be exaggerated figures straight out of a storybook - which, I suppose, is entirely appropriate given the tone of the tale. King creates some interesting imagery now and again, but I found myself too restless from the deliberate meandering pace to truly immerse in this story. I've read worse, though.

You Might Also Enjoy:
The Book of Three (Lloyd Alexander) - My Review
The Phoenix on the Sword (Robert E. Howard) - My Review
The Hobbit (J. R. R. Tolkien) - My Review

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