The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

The Eyes of the Dragon book cover
Rating 8.1/10
Definitely more Tolkien than Tommyknockers

When the majority of individuals think about Stephen King's credentials; it is generally about his amazing work-rate at producing memorable and top quality horror stories. With that in mind; in addition to The Dark Tower saga, this novel is one of Mr. King's lesser known creations that is definitely more Tolkien than Tommyknockers.

It is an easy story to get into and I was intrigued from the first page. My grandfather gave me this book when I was a wide-eyed, eleven-year-old lover of Goosebumps books as I possessed pretty good reading skills for that age and I loved every second of this tale back then. Memories of the book from 19 years ago are of course hazy so I am glad I picked it up again - half for the nostalgia but also to delve back into the mythical land of Delain which lurks somewhere within Mid-World.

The book is presented by an omnipresent narrator who may very well be Stephen King himself. This story was written and dedicated to his daughter Naomi after all. The storyteller keeps us updated with his opinions, lets us know the personae's thoughts and motives throughout the plot and reverts back to us as a reader to find out how we are getting on. It is a nice touch for a pleasant story.

It follows the royal family of Delain. King Roland the Good is an average monarch. He loves his alcohol, hunting and is just generally an okay guy. He reminded me of Robert Baratheon from Game of Thrones. His defining feat was killing the last known dragon - the head of which remains in his drawing room as a trophy. In his later years when his subjects are worried at a lack of an heir - he is introduced to a witty, charming, young lady called Sasha and thanks to a couple of magic potions to aid sexual prowess two children are born. Peter and Thomas. All seems nice and happy so far. Peter grows to be a strapping, proud and honourable young gentleman who everyone agrees will make a great next king. Well, all except one person…

I forgot to mention The Eyes of the Dragon includes one of the most infamous, notorious villains in fiction - a gentleman (or demon perhaps) called Flagg happens to be the King's aide and black magician. Flagg goes by many names in Stephen King's novels - The Man In Black, The Walkin' Dude, Randall Flagg etc... If you are familiar with King's books you probably know this dude from Dark Tower and The Stand amongst others. To summarise: He is one evil son of a b*tch.

On a grim day in Delain - The King is poisoned with a vile substance called Dragon Sand which burns victims from the inside out and following on, the next in line to the throne Peter is incorrectly judged to have committed the said regicide, therefore, is placed on the top floor of The Needle for eternal imprisonment 300 feet above the ground. In lieu of this, Roland's younger, weaker, more impressionable son becomes King - and guess who is whispering in his ear about how to rule the land?

Following this, we are dealt a slightly predictable but still utterly entrancing narrative that composes a state of mind to the readers where hope, belief, friendship and desire are the real magic in a story that is polluted by Flagg's plotting, deceit and all sort of macabre magical nastiness. The story revolves around a doll's house, an endless supply of napkins, a mouse, a two headed parrot and a very clever wolf-dog called Frisky who is presented with charming childishly human qualities by the narrator. A lot of the supporting cast who I have not even mentioned are well created and add to the overall quality of the tale. My copy of the novel also included some amazing fantastical art including Frisky, the dragon, a lost looking rabbit, the wizard and such which was a very nice touch.

I guess you need to read this so you will know what was seen when someone on the secret passage looked through the eyes of the dragon and how it impacts on this awesome story.

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