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
While this is not King's best (but he's had so many bests), it's good King. Really good.
I disagree with the other reviewers. First, this novel gives some insight to The Dark Tower series, especially into Flagg, the man in black in the DT series and the villian from The Stand. Also, the story is set in Delain and picks up many references from the DT. Second, Bronson Pinchot is an excellent narrator. He was always clear, never annoying, and made the story come alive, especially with Flagg. Excellently creepy!
The story has an enjoyable, youthful feel to it, and Pinchot carries that well. I would certainly buy another book narrated by him.
The book is fantasy. I'm not sure if some reviewers think King does only horror and are disappointed when their expectations are not met. But I think King does all of his genres quite well. This one is appropriate for tweens, so it's a good starter King.
If you love the Dark Tower series or The Stand and still want a bit more, The Eyes of the Dragon is worth a listen.
This is a fantasy story, and not something most people would think of when they think of Stephen King. So, if you are in the market for the stereotypical horror story King is so famous for, this may not be a good choice for you.
But, King does write fantasy, and he writes it well. I enjoy his fantasy books just as much and sometimes more than his horror novels. This book is set in a similar world to his Gunslinger series. I did not know this going in, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. And, the villian has made an appearance in other forms in others of King's books. I always like to see the connections and overlaps between King's books.
The story itself is a more traditional fantasy, with kings and queens and castle, dragons and evil magicians and good vs evil. But, as with most things I've read from King, its not "traditional" fantasy, you know the kind with cookie cutter cardboard characters and predictable plots. As always, King delivers believable and very "real" characters that really pulled me into the story.
The book is written, though, as if it is a story teller is relating the tale, and some may find that annoying. I'll admit, I USUALLY do, but in this case I found it didn't detract from my enjoyment at all.
And lastly, the narrator, Bronson Pinchot, did an absolutely amazing job. The voices of the children were spot on, the villian was creepy, and the women didn't come across as nasal or whiny. Things like yelling and far away speakers and whispering was very well done. He is one of the best I've listened to and will definately be looking to see what else he has narracted.
This is my first SK fantasy novel but it won't be my last. I fell into this story quickly and was grateful that I had a long drive and would not be interrupted. Too bad I finished it before the trip was over because I wanted more. The narrator was excellent. I just loved his Flagg!
The book is nothing like what you would expect from Stephen King. It shows the past of a few of his characters such as flag a undying evil that shows some of his roots….. Bronson Pinchot did a great job reading this and it was a very good listen not a must but a great book showing kings different side then suspense and horror of other books.
I enjoyed listening to this book, even tho it dragged in parts.
I have enjoyed many other works by Stephen King.
I thoroughly enjoyed the idea of the period of time that this story took place. The ending did leave an opening for a sequel to the story.
I'm glad I purchased it.
I'm not blind drunk, I'm just blind.
I am, at best, a mild fan of King's work. Oh he's a talented writer and there's no denying that, but generally speaking I'm a fantasy buff with some mystery and suspense thrown in. And of the suspense genre my preferred author is Dean Koontz.
That said, I haven't yet encountered a King novel that I actually didn't like, though there were a few that I started and haven't yet finished, It and The Stand being two cases in point, and that being mainly becase other things just got in the way and I haven't yet found the time to pick them back up again.
Eyes of the Dragon is, to my knowledge, King's only true fantasy novel, written for his then teenage daughter Naomi. Like some of his other novels, Eyes ties into and makes reference to the Dark Tower series and indeed could probably be called a prelude.
It tells the story of King Roland the Good of Delain and his two sons. These Peter, the likely heir, and his brother Thomas, who is regrettably a spitting image of his father and demonstrates a similar lack of any real character. And then of course there is the court magician Flagg, a sinister, hooded figure whose origins are unknown but whose purposes are no mystery.
This is a well-written tale brought to life by a well-cosen narrator. I'd never heard Bronson Pinchot before, but his style of narration, even during the imple narration parts, is engaging. I particularly like his sinister, sibilant portrayal of Flagg. Generally speaking though he does very well, able to bring emotion to his characterizations when it's required. I'd heartily recommend this book if you're in the mood for a good fantasy read by a good narrator.
When I initially purchased this audiobook, the reviews were generally unfavourable. But as a fan of the Dark Tower series (and the Flagg character in other King books as well), so I had relatively low expectations going into it.
After finally 'reading' the book, I have to say that it far surpassed my (admittedly modest) expectations. I simply couldn't 'put it down'.
That said, the narrator was a bit robotic at times, but the voices he did were exceptional, and more than made up for the poorer aspects of his performance.
This is definitely not for everyone, being of a rather different tone/style than most of King's other work I have enjoyed. But I felt that the story and the characters themselves were more than enough to distract me from any complaints I might have and draw me into the tale.
Randall Flagg is probably King's best villain, and this story revolves around Flagg and how he tries to destroy the kingdom of Delain by killing King Roland and framing the heir, Peter, for his murder so he can put the weaker brother, Thomas, on the throne. If you are a Stephen King fan, you've met Flagg before. This book was a hit with me on a number of levels: It gives more insight to Flagg's character; it was a great fantasy novel; the narrator was very good and I enjoyed listening to him. Highly recommended.
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).
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