I finished reading Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon a few weeks back, and honestly, I’ve put the review off because there isn’t a whole lot that I can find to say about it. I found it to be adequate as far as stories go, but compared with some of King’s other works, it really isn’t all that special.
The Eyes of the Dragon is a pretty straightforward fairy tale about good versus evil. Flagg, Magician and right hand of good King Roland is plotting behind the scenes to kill the king, frame Peter, the heir apparent, for the crime and install Peter’s weak and troubled younger brother, Thomas, on the throne. Flagg would use Thomas as a pawn to bring ruin and chaos to the kingdom of Delain.
And Flagg is cunning.
Foreseeing nearly every obstacle, every turn before they occur. He is on his way to the end of his evil goal, but there is one thing that Flagg doesn’t foresee and it might be the ruin of all of his carefully laid plans. That one thing is love. To be more specific, a child’s love for his parents.
Sounds pretty simple, huh? And it is pretty simple when compared with books like The Stand and The Dark Tower Series. Now, to be fair, the book is dedicated to King’s daughter Naomi, and throughout the novel it’s pretty clear that King is holding the monster at bay. And I suppose it is for this reason that I found The Eyes of the Dragon to be slightly less. . . involved than many of King’s other offerings.
Nevertheless, there are more positives than negatives. There’s nothing really wrong with this book. The plot is quick and engaging. I found that I really cared about Peter and Thomas, and I actually hoped that Good would prevail, even though I knew that being written for a child, there could be no other possible conclusion. But I drove quickly for the end of the book, pushed on by King’s smart, fast paced narration, and found some satisfying nuggets along the way.
But, despite the fast plot, engaging narration, and well drawn characters, I still only found the book to be merely satisfying. And probably pretty forgettable over a short period of time. One thing that I disliked was the lack of world building. Delain was a paper thin copy of any number of fictional fairy tale kingdoms, and quite frankly, felt like King was using about a third of his fantastic imagination to create the fictional kingdom. There simply wasn’t any meat for the reader to dig his teeth into. Nearly everything was spoon fed to the reader, and by the end it all felt like King had dumbed things down a bit too much. Too much to be excused by the fact that it was written for younger folks.
I liked how King tied The Eyes of the Dragon to some of his other novels through references and shared characters.
Flagg is made even more menacing to the regular King reader by the fact that he is the antagonist in other King books, including The Dark Tower Series and The Stand. And it’s this larger, hinted at mythology, that is the most interesting thing about the book. Sadly, it’s not used to its potential. The connections in the mythology are pretty obvious, when one views King’s body of work as a whole, but it might be a bit conceited of King to think that everyone reads all of his books. Whatever his motivations, whether perceived or actual, I wish he had added just a dash more of the back story here and there.
For me, it would have made for a much more fulfilling read. And despite all of this, whether you’re a King fan or not, I would recommend this book for a quick, fun read. Just don’t expect too much more than that.