The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King, David Palladini
Digital Audiobook narrated by Bronson Pinchot
Once upon a time, in the Kingdom of Delain, King Roland is murdered and his son and heir, Peter, is framed for the crime. Peter and his loyal friends must battle an evil wizard and Peter's usurper brother, Thomas, for the throne. Imprisoned in a tower, Peter conceives an escape plan that will take him years to execute before taking on Flagg, the powerful sorcerer who has masterminded this coup.
The Eyes of the Dragon feels like a story that belongs in the ancient histories of Midworld.
That is to say… if you’ve read the Dark Tower series, King’s voice is familiar here. He uses terms like “baronies” which I’ve never heard in other fantasy novels. There is a Roland (our Roland Deschain’s namesake in his own world, perhaps? Or a coincidence?) and there is a wicked court magician named “Flagg”. And, of course, we know Flagg from The Stand and the Dark Tower series.
Of course, this is a different world and a different time, but there’s always that feel of a grander universe to Stephen King’s work, and so, things do fold into each other, don’t they?
Except for the beginning when King talks about… very adult things… the cadence of this story feels like a middle grade novel. It is not a childish tale, not one that is unenjoyable to adults. Rather, it is told by a “storyteller” figure and has the sort of charming, narrative feel that I remember from Iron-Hearted Violet. But it’s important to remember that The Eyes of the Dragon is a Stephen King novel, so there’s some crude imagery, some hysteria, some swearing, and some gore. I’m a fan of King’s fantasy, so the way this whole story was told felt very familiar to me, but those who come in for the horror may not expect this book.
It is the story of a kingdom, and of an evil wizard who has patiently waited for centuries for his moment to take over… and now it has arrived. The body of the story itself is a familiar one, and it’s fairly simple. The Eyes of the Dragon was meant to be told as a children’s tale to his daughter, and it is just the type of story I wish my parents had told me (aside from the crude imagery at the beginning… I’m all set there). It’s captivating with a variety of interesting characters whom you get to know very well. For King, this is even a short book, coming in at about a quarter of the length of his other, more renown works (looking at you, It).
My only complaint has nothing to do with the book, but with the audiobook’s narrator. For the most part, he was fine. But, for some reason, the choice was made to do Flagg’s dialogue in a harsh whisper. It just came off a bit strange and broke the flow a little. I wasn’t a fan of it, but it didn’t ruin the book.
I very much enjoyed The Eyes of the Dragon and its dual roles as fantasy and thriller. It was an easy read, but utterly engrossing, and I’ll definitely be checking out the Hulu series when it airs.
Did your parents tell you stories? My parents read to me, and my dad made up little fables with life lessons / viewed warnings about not cleaning my room. I’d love to hear about any stories your parents told you in the comments!