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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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