The number-one New York Times best seller - the prelude to the classic Dark Tower series.
A tale of archetypal heroes and sweeping adventures, of dragons and princes and evil wizards, here is epic fantasy as only Stephen King could envision it.
©2010 Stephen King (P)2010 Penguin
I read, I write; I listen
This story was written by Stephen King and read like a childrens bedtime story; and that's fine if that was how it was intended.But the "The Eye of the Dragon" was billed as the prelude to "The Dark Tower" series. This story has about as much in common with the Dark Tower as powder puff football has to the NFL. Yes there are some characters that share the same names and we learn more about Flagg , and it is set in Delain but not much else . I would have liked to hear how the late great Frank Muller would have read it; woudl have been much better.
I'd read this book first in 1989 and fell in love with it from the first page. Naturally I thought the narration of this story I'd fallen fast and hard for in print would've worked magic on me in a great listen.
It didn't. I'm disappointed.
What I Loved/Adored Most: the fantasy/otherworldly angle the story held. It's a storyteller's story, one of "The Princess Bride" or "Dragonheart" caliber, and I loved the ever-present good-versus evil this tale spun. Bronson Pinchot did a fantastic job with voice characterization, and how the villain's speaking lines came across was a delicious, unexpected surprise as were the General Judeg's butler's characterization, too. Put me in mind of his Balki role of "Perfect Strangers," and it made me smile.
What I Thought So-So: Pinchot's narration was an 'eh . . " for me here. Some books just aren't a fit for the narrators, others are a natural match. The first half his reading came across too fast and breaks at chapter closes weren't long enough for a decent pause, He seemed more relaxed into his task in the book's second half, though. The story's execution also came up short in too much backstory on the King & Queen and not enough time, I thought, spent a bit more on the prisoner in the Needle cell spent his waking hours.
What Was Poor: there's no sequel for this, the ending lackluster, average writing execution and repeated words--"flabbergasted," "HADs," adverb over-reliance-- and we don't know if King Peter ever married and had children during his tenure. Pinchot's narration could've fared far better on the whole.
All in all, three stars. It's one of those books you'll either be sorry in spending the credit on or it won't be. Had I known before purchase--since the audio sample was NOT WORKING to hear it prior to order!!! *grrr*---I'd've spent the credit on something else.
I was excited at first to hear King's take on the traditional fantasy story, unfortunately with the story came a dumbing-down of the language that I would not have expected from King. This book may be great for younger readers but I quickly found myself bored and stopped listening early in the book.
Say something about yourself!
I read this way back in ancient times, when the hardcover book was covered in dragon skin. I always intended to go back and read it again, but never got around to it until I found it on audiobook. Oh joy! I've listened to it twice. A great story. Not "typical" King. (He wrote this book for his daughter who requested something with a bit less gore.) King is a masterful storyteller regardless of genre, and I always get lost in the worlds he creates. I love this book. And Bronson Pinchot does a fantastic job narrating.
Like others, I was surprised as to how much I liked this book. I did see similarities between this book and the The Stand (even if you discount Flagg) but, I still couldn't wait until the next chance I had to listen to this book. I do recommend this to any Stephen King fan - or even those of you who shudder at the thought of Stephen King. And unlike other reviews, I did like Bronson Pinchot's take on the story (hard to believe this is the guy from Perfect Strangers!). The voices he used for the characters were completely appropriate. I do hope King will write a sequel - the ending certainly supported this.
Stephen King - the ultimate story teller has done it again and Bronson Pinchot brings it again - what a fabulous narration.
Everyone who wants to read a book aloud should study Bronson Pinchot's techniques - he brings such life and vigor to all his readings.
Yes! but, as in all Stephen King, it's WAY too long.
Say something about yourself!
This story was fantastically colorful and full of good vs evil! A great story that I had a hard time turning off to do the more mundane but important tasks in my day, like working. :)
Bronson Pinchot was terrific however, I felt the reader needed a more youthful voice for the characters of this book. He played the king very well and also the other more mature characters in the book. He fell short when portraying female characters or the younger characters within the story which was a little distracting. Overall, he did very well.
As for audiobook, maybe top twenty. The story was great, but the performance was a bit off. When the reader did the voice of Flagg he'd get real quiet and it would be hard to hear at times.
Probably one of the more obvious choices: Peter. He was obviously the hero of the story and underwent the classic movie plot where you love the lead, something happens to out the lead in detriment, the climax rises to the lead confronting those that did him in, and eventually coming out on top.
Stephen King wrote Peter in a very good light and made him enjoyable to have as a lead character.
I thought the performance was okay. There wasn't anything that I truly liked about it, but I did dislike his voice as Flagg. When he got real low into a whisper-like tone it made it difficult to hear what was being said.
Not really, but I guess in theory you could since it's only 10 hours. I don't have time to sit and listen to anything for 10 hours straight.
Excellent read - not too lengthy and was a self-contained story, even in Stephen King standards. Had I not known King wrote this story, I wouldn't have necessarily associated with his work. With that being said, I greatly enjoyed his refrain of nudity and cursing. I tend to find these things distracting in his other works.
Overall, I thought King's medieval take on a king's family and fight for the throne was well thought out, well written, and enjoyable. The characters were developed just enough to either love or loathe them and the plot was constructed in a way that made sense and kept the reader engaged.
I also enjoyed having Flagg as a primary character. Being a fan of King's Dark Tower series and also The Stand, it was great having the overlap. Also having the story set in Delain, which is set within the DT series was a nice touch.
My only complaint with the book would have to be how the 'narrator' keeps speaking to the reader. Things like "As I've already told you" or "I could keep going, but it is none of my business to tell" and the like. It was okay in different places, but at times just seemed a bit overkill and awkward.
Pros: Quick read and enjoyable.
Cons: The narrator's dialogue to the reader - could've done with out.
Bottom line: Fans of the DT would enjoy reading this story before The Gunslinger (DT Book I).
Amazing Fantasy Story!
The story teller! King is telling this story not from a third person, but like you were sitting around a fire listening to a story that has been passed around for generations. You get his feelings on the characters, his POV. A really great way to have the story told to you.
Flagg. He brings alive his evilness in all of its blackness.
The whole story is so well performed. Bronson articulates each persona so completely that it is a very compelling.
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