Title: The Eyes of the Dragon
Author: Stephen King
Page Count/Review Word Count: 432
This book was an interesting read, because it was more like a piece of epic fantasy than a work of horror. In fact, King himself faced a backlash after the book was released, and the subsequent furore inspired the plot of Misery, with Annie’s obsession acting as a metaphor for his demanding, dissatisfied readers.
It’s a shame, because speaking personally, I loved it. In fact, it’s refreshing to see King flexing a different set of authorial muscles, and it certainly proved a point – the man knows how to tell a story, no matter the genre. It’s also a great little read if you have kids and want to introduce them to King without giving them nightmares.
The plot has a classic feel while still seeming original and innovative, following the tale of two princes after their father is murdered and the heir to the throne is imprisoned for the crime. We, the readers, know that he’s innocent, but everyone else thinks that he’s guilty because he cried when the murder was revealed to him. And so they lock him up at the top of a tower and his younger brother assumes the throne, under the beady, watchful eye of a twisted magician named Flagg.
Flagg is interesting, because he appears elsewhere in King’s work. He’s the antagonist of The Stand, and he also appears in his Dark Tower series – along with several other minor characters and several of the themes throughout the manuscript. Here, he seems like more of a cliche, but crucially he’s not too much of a cliche. It’s kind of necessary for the story to be what it is – a scintillating twist on the fantasy genre, and one that’s beautifully crafted by a master storyteller.
If you only like King because you like horror then this isn’t the book for you. But if you like his work because you believe him to be a master storyteller, like I do, then you’re in for something of a treat. I loved pretty much everything about it, including the gorgeous illustrations that punctuated the story. My copy was an old one – the cover fell off and some of the pages fell out while I was reading it – but that somehow added to it.
So go ahead – go out and buy a copy if you can. It’s one of those rare books that kicks ass but gets often overlooked. Don’t be one of the people who overlook it.