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The Eyes of the Dragon

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“Once, in a kingdom called Delain, there was a king with two sons….”

Thus begins one of the most unique tales that master storyteller Stephen King has ever written—a sprawling fantasy of dark magic and the struggle for absolute power that utterly transforms the destinies of two brothers born into royalty. Through this enthralling masterpiece of mythical adventure, intrigue, and terror, you will thrill to this unforgettable narrative filled with relentless, wicked enchantment, and the most terrible of secrets….

386 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 2, 1987

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About the author

Stephen King

2,636 books819k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 6,028 reviews
Profile Image for Anne.
3,918 reviews69.3k followers
December 29, 2021
Hands down, this is my FAVORITE Stephen King book.
I'm not saying this is his best piece of work, but (personal preferences and all) this is just what I happen to enjoy the most. It's one of those books that I find myself re-reading every few years.
Erica has a stellar review that explains why this book should be revered above all other King books.
The gist is is actually a fairly simple fantasyish tale.

The Fearsome Dragon...


The Wise and Beautiful Queen...


The Evil Sorcerer...


The Decent but Stupid King...


The overlooked, sad, spiteful, kinda stupid, (Baby-Brother) Prince...


actual size may vary


Oops! Wait.
The Good and Decent Hero Prince...

The thing that I love about this story is that it has that classic good over evil vibe to it. There are twists, but nothing mind-blowing. It reminds me of the kind of fairytale/fantasy stuff my mom would read to me before bedtime.
Ok. She never read me anything with adult content in it, but that's not what I'm talking about.
This is just...
Good wins and Evil takes a beat-down.
Sometimes it's nice to pretend that you're a kid, and you still believe that you know?
Be noble, be kind, do the right thing...and everything will work out.
Remember that?
So, that's why I love this one.
The End.

Re-read 2020 & 2021
I just finished listening to the audiobook and it was amazing. Bronson Pinchot did a fabulous job, and I can't recommend this one enough.

Bronson Pinchot - Narrator
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Edition: Unabridged
Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement
Grand Master Award
Profile Image for James Tivendale.
311 reviews1,328 followers
May 14, 2019
When the majority of individuals think about Stephen King's credentials; it is generally about his amazing work-rate at producing memorable and top quality horror stories. With that in mind; in addition to The Dark Tower saga, this novel is one of Mr. King's lesser known creations that is definitely more Tolkien than Tommyknockers.

It is an easy story to get into and I was intrigued from the first page. My grandfather gave me this book when I was a wide-eyed, eleven-year-old lover of Goosebumps books as I possessed pretty good reading skills for that age and I loved every second of this tale back then. Memories of the book from 19 years ago are of course hazy so I am glad I picked it up again - half for the nostalgia but also to delve back into the mythical land of Delain which lurks somewhere within Mid-World.

The book is presented by an omnipresent narrator who may very well be Stephen King himself. This story was written and dedicated to his daughter Naomi after all. The storyteller keeps us updated with his opinions, lets us know the personae's thoughts and motives throughout the plot and reverts back to us as a reader to find out how we are getting on. It is a nice touch for a pleasant story.

It follows the royal family of Delain. King Roland the Good is an average monarch. He loves his alcohol, hunting and is just generally an okay guy. He reminded me of Robert Baratheon from Game of Thrones. His defining feat was killing the last known dragon - the head of which remains in his drawing room as a trophy. In his later years when his subjects are worried at a lack of an heir - he is introduced to a witty, charming, younger lady called Sasha and thanks to a couple of magic potions to aid sexual prowess two children are born. Peter and Thomas. All seems nice and happy so far. Peter grows to be a strapping, proud and honourable young gentleman who everyone agrees will make a great next king. Well, all except one person...

I forgot to mention The Eyes of the Dragon includes one of the most infamous, notorious villains in fiction - a gentleman (or demon perhaps) called Flagg happens to be the King's aide and black magician. Flagg goes by many names in Stephen King's novels - The Man In Black, The Walkin' Dude, Randall Flagg etc... If you are familiar with King's books you probably know this dude from Dark Tower and The Stand amongst others. To summarise: He is one evil muthaphuckka.

On a grim day in Delain - The King is poisoned with a vile substance called Dragon Sand which burns victims from the inside out and next in line to the throne Peter is incorrectly judged to have committed the said regicide, therefore, is placed on the top floor of The Needle for eternal imprisonment 300 feet above the ground. In lieu of this, Roland's younger, weaker, more impressionable son becomes King - and guess who is whispering in his ear about how to rule the land?

Following this, we are dealt a slightly predictable but still utterly entrancing narrative that composes a state of mind to the readers where hope, belief, friendship and desire are the real magic in a story that is polluted by Flagg's plotting, deceit and all sort of macabre magical nastiness. The story revolves around a dolls house, an endless supply of napkins, a mouse, a two headed parrot and a very clever wolf-dog called Frisky who is presented with charming childishly human qualities by the narrator. A lot of the supporting cast who I have not even mentioned are well created and add to the overall quality of the tale. My copy of the novel also included some amazing fantastical art including Frisky, the dragon, a lost looking rabbit, the wizard and such which was a very nice touch.

I guess you need to read this so you will know what was seen when someone on the secret passage looked through the eyes of the dragon and how it impacts on this awesome story.

James Tivendale.
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
696 reviews1,073 followers
May 30, 2019
"Of all the weapons ever used to commit regicide - the murder of a King - none has been as frequently used as poison. And no one has greater knowledge of poisons than a magician."

I thoroughly enjoyed losing myself in this fantasy. This was my first Stephen King novel, I don't really like horror so I wanted something different from him and I wasn't disappointed!

King Roland has been killed, presumed murder. His eldest son Peter is accused of the crime and sentenced to imprisonment in the needle - the tallest tower in the Kingdom. Meanwhile his younger brother Thomas now sits the throne, despite not being fit for the role, as the old King's magician and advisor Flagg whispers in Thomas' ear and stirs up trouble.

There are those who are still loyal to Thomas, who suspect Flagg; after all he seems to have lived for an unrealistically long time, surely there is some evil at play here?

I noticed a lot of parallels between this and Robin Hobb's Farseer trilogy, it is set in a similar world which may be why I liked it so much.

A simple enough story of good vs evil, where each character has flaws of some sort. Where people have to decide how far they will go to prevent the spread of evil and to protect their royal family.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews857 followers
July 1, 2022
Using core 'fairy tale' features such as medieval like settings, Kings & Queens, castles with moats, peasants etc. Stephen King creates a delightful young adult fantasy of a dispossessed (of his kingdom) prince and how he set about righting the injustice; and the villain? You'll have to read it to find out who it is :) And increasing a point after each reread, this is now a 7 out of 12 in 2018 for me :)

2018 read; 2006 read; 2003 read
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,105 followers
April 3, 2017
When I was a little girl my mother and father would tuck me in at night and read me a bedtime story. At Christmas and Easter- I would have the pleasure of listening to bedtime stories made-up by my father, just for me- Delee. The Adventures of the Pink Kitty...about a very special kitten making his way to a very special child.....and his adventures along the way trying to find a home with the perfect little girl. ME!!! It wasn't a logical story...it probably wasn't the best story out there- but to me it was magical.

THE EYES OF THE DRAGON is another kind of bedtime story. A bedtime story KING style!! Noooo pink kitties here.

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In a fairy tale past- there is a relatively happy Kingdom of Delain- with the dragon slaying King Roland, his young wife Queen Sasha, and their sweet, perfect, little boy Peter...but there also is evil in Delain-a magician by the name of Flagg. Who is also unfortunately...Roland's adviser.

 photo e07edd2e-b20f-4e8c-9457-ef3f8e3492d3_zpsm2oriogk.jpg

Flagg's goal is to make this Kingdom...less happy- and he comes up with a plan. A plan that doesn't involve Queen Sasha...or a sweet, perfect, heir to the throne. So he schemes...

...and he schemes. Sasha dies in childbirth- and Thomas is born. A not so perfect child- who Flagg takes under his wing...

...and when the time is right- all the pieces fall into place.

 photo f6a4e9a4-58e4-4502-80a9-e8b7f5473152_zpsze4uvqit.jpg

...but there are a few snags in his wicked plan- Flagg is not aware of- that may or may not come back to haunt him later.

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This is one of my Favorite King books. It speaks to my inner child..and from time to time SHE still enjoys fairy tales and bedtime stories.
Profile Image for Tim.
476 reviews612 followers
April 30, 2022
Stephen King has been the king of horror for so long, that people always seem surprised when he tries something else. A time travel story? "Can he do it?!?" A crime trilogy? "WHAT?!?!?!" Whenever he tries something different people seem surprised, and it's been that way throughout his career.

King initially wrote this book for his daughter, because she didn't like his "scary" books. As such, this is honestly the easiest to read King novel, it's a short fantasy and it's written in a way that may have some adult material, but is fairly easy for a younger audience to process… in other words, it's a fairy tale.

When initially published, this was not received well by many fans. In fact, I read an interview once where King said how fitting it was that this and Misery (a book where a fan loses her mind at the idea of her favorite author trying something different) came out the same year.

Honestly as fan of fairy tales, fantasy and King, I loved it. It very much is a young adult book, in fact I would honestly say middle grade if not for a few scenes. That said it's not condescending, and is very readable still as an adult. While I can't say it is my favorite of his books, this is definitely not anywhere the worst of King's writing and it would also be my suggestion as a good introduction book to King if you have a younger reader who wants to try him (or for someone intimated by horror but wants to give him a shot)

Also, Dark Tower fans, you need to read this one for a couple of the references. Trust me. 4/5 stars.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,823 followers
October 12, 2020
Another King reread on my chronological King rereading adventure. I had been really looking forward to this one since I remembered loving it when I first read it over 20 years ago. Would the reread go as well?

I will start by saying I loved it again. It is a great fantasy book with an interesting premise that does not get bogged down in complex world building. He originally wrote it for his daughter, Naomi, so he kept it at a YA sort of level (before YA was officially a thing). And, there is a lot to tie it into the Stephen King Universe - so, fans who enjoy all the intricacies of his books being connected must read this.

I will follow up that by saying I liked it better the first time. I think it might the a nostalgia thing - remembering a really great book experience and then not quite feeling it the next time. It happens to me a lot with movies from the 80s as well. When I watched or read as a kid/teen I was blown away. But, when I go back to find the same magic it is not quite there.

But, that is only a minor issue - as I said, I still loved it!

Note on the audiobook:. I usually love Bronson Pinchot as a narrator and he does a lot of King books. But, he made a big audio narrator mistake (at least in my book). Most of the dialogue of Flagg was whispered and it drove me crazy. I had to rewind several times to figure out what he was saying. I know he was trying to create atmosphere, but this dialogue did not have to be whispered to make that happen.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,867 reviews16.5k followers
April 11, 2017


And more than enough (too much) nose picking and boogers.

Stephen “I dressed up like Jack Vance for Halloween” King made a noteworthy switch from straight up horror to a better than passable high fantasy in his 1987 novel The Eyes of the Dragon.

The King of American horror, though, is also a better than average writer and knows a thing or two about moving some copy and though this is a little out of character (like Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West) it is also entertaining and delivers a fantasy gem.

Vaguely reminiscent of Neil Gaiman’s Stardust, in tone if not in theme, this change of pace, to this humble reader at least, most notably features his epic villain Randall Flagg, in this work simply Flagg, the king’s magician.

King has created in Flagg a universal boogeyman, a timeless and undying human darkness that plays in a score of nefarious roles. But more than just a plug and play antihero, Flagg becomes a recurring evil in a mythos built on bad.

A good fantasy.

July 21, 2015
"Book, you have the right to a speedy trial" review

- He may have switched from horror to fantasy with this one, but Stephen King's trademark gripping prose is still in full force!
- A scene-stealing villain who creates chaos and is just so much fun to watch, Flagg would fit right in at Gotham City!
- Despite the fantasy setting, the emotions of the characters always feel real.
- King takes some narrative risks that really pay off. (The segments told through the POV of a dog are particularly effective.)

- Very little action for a fantasy novel... (putting "Dragon" in the title when the dragon is only in the book for about two pages...that's downright cruel, Mr. King!)
- The book's fairy-tale narrative voice may not be for everyone. (King often speaks directly to the reader, like Aesop speaking to a crowd, which some might find off-putting.)
- Story drags a bit in the final act.

A fractured fairy tale as only Stephen King can deliver, this book is perfect for someone who wants to see an author step out of their comfort zone and try something new!
Profile Image for Kon R..
236 reviews102 followers
September 28, 2021
My 100th read of 2021 and I couldn't have picked a better book! We, King fans, know that King has a talent for writing great stories no matter the genre (besides romance, but that's like Frankenstein trying to tell a love story). As far as I know, this King's only dive into the world of fantasy and it is unlike any I've read before.

After my initial giddiness of hearing Roland and Flagg mentioned in a story had subsided, I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed. This is a slow moving story and a lot of it depends on the characters' childhoods to make the later story make sense and feel rewarding. I stuck through it and it paid dividends. I loved every character no matter how small of a role they played. I would definitely read another fantasy book by King.

The Dark Tower series isn't purely fantasy, so I'm not including that.
Profile Image for Eloy Cryptkeeper.
296 reviews193 followers
November 7, 2021
"Algún día el niño seria rey, y por encima de cualquier otra cosa, Sasha deseaba que fuera bueno. Un buen niño, pensaba, será un buen soberano(...)
Los reyes llegan a hacerse terriblemente grandes, y por esa razón deben ser especialmente cuidadosos, ya que una persona grande puede aplastar con su pie a otra más pequeña con sólo salir a dar un paseo, o al girarse, o al sentarse apresuradamente en el lugar inadecuado. Los reyes malvados hacen estas cosas a menudo. Creo que incluso los buenos no pueden evitar hacerlas de vez en vez."

"El camino del infierno está empedrado de buenas intenciones. También sabía que, para los seres humanos, a veces las buenas intenciones sólo se quedan en eso. Los ángeles podrían estar a salvo del castigo eterno, pero las personas eran criaturas menos afortunadas, para las que el infierno siempre se encuentra cerca."

"Flagg era una enfermedad, una fiebre que iba en busca de cabezas frías a las que recalentar. Escondía sus acciones del mismo modo que ocultaba su rostro. Y cuando se avecinaba la catástrofe, y eso siempre sucedía con el transcurso de los años, Flagg desaparecía,como las sombras en el atardecer.
Tiempo después, ya finalizada la matanza y extinguida la fiebre, cuando la reconstrucción estuviera terminada y existiera de nuevo algo que valiera la pena destruir, Flagg aparecería de nuevo."

En primera instancia quiero desmitificar si en alguna sinopsis "se vende" al libro como una historia de héroes arquetípica .Un cuentos de hadas convertido en terror (yo estaba al tanto y sabia lo que me iba a encontrar en ese sentido...pero para que a nadie lo tome desprevenido).
No tiene nada de cuento de hadas, ni de terror y es arquetípica solo en algunos aspectos.
Es una historia muy sencilla, obviamente con la presencia del bien contra el mal. Reyes influenciables y su asesor/mago conspirando,manejando los hilos desde las sombras. Un antagonista cuya motivación es el caos, mediante el control del trono, pero sin necesidad de ocuparlo.
Algunos de los puntos mas fuertes son: Justamente su antagonista, Flagg( Si ese mismo Flagg que a muchos les resultara conocido) y protagonistas genuinos, "muy humanos".
Se nota el hecho de que en su día el libro fue escrito para su hija. Que esta escrito con amor(inclusive un personaje lleva su Nombre"Naomi"). Ademas la forma en que esta narrado, en primera persona por un narrador anónimo, hace que se sienta mas cercano y que involucre al lector.
No esperen una historia trepidante, grandes batallas, elfos, enanos, dragones escupiendo fuego a diestra y siniestra, no, nada de eso. Tiene su propio ritmo,a paso seguro. Y el eje es el drama humano. En este aspecto esta muy bien logrado.

"Creo que una verdadera amistad siempre nos hace sentir este dulce sentimiento, ya que el mundo casi siempre parece un árido desierto y las flores que en él crecen parecen hacerlo en contra de todas esas circunstancias desfavorables."
Profile Image for Ɗẳɳ  2.☊.
159 reviews292 followers
January 30, 2021
When The Eyes of the Dragon was first published, back in 1984, it was somewhat of a departure for Stephen King. It wasn’t his first venture into fantasy, per se, considering the iconic Gunslinger (the first of the Dark Tower books) came out a few years prior, but I do believe The Eyes of the Dragon was his first attempt at a novel-length fairy tale.

It makes perfect sense then that King would dedicate the story to his daughter, considering the cutesy feel to it. The tale is conveyed through an unknown narrator, who often pauses to interject his own thoughts directly into the narrative. Much like a father reading a bedtime story to his daughter, occasionally stopping to discuss what’s happening—similar in style to something like The Princess Bride.

However, whereas The Princess Bride is a swashbuckling tale of adventure and romance set in a magical land chock-full of unforgettable characters—a story of betrayal and revenge and that oh so important TRUE LOVEThe Eyes of the Dragon, by comparison, is a rather simple tale of a fat, dimwitted, slovenly king, his two sons, and the evil magician hellbent on destroying their kingdom. It, no doubt, pales in comparison.

The crux of the tale revolves around King Roland’s firstborn son, Peter. Who’s kind, generous, much loved, and, by all accounts, quite brilliant, while his younger brother, Thomas, is cut from the same cloth as their father. Fearing that the brilliant princeling might one-day muck-up all of his nefarious plans, the magician, and adviser to the king—let’s call him Flagg—devises a way to remove Peter from the line of succession, reasoning that Thomas would be far easier to manipulate.

The majority of the narrative follows Peter as he attempts to wiggle free from Flagg’s web. Stupidly enough, after five long years of struggle and planning, Peter’s ultimate success or failure hinged entirely on dreams and dumb luck (or was it ka?).

Sadly, much of the tension and mystery throughout the story was undercut by King’s endless desire to foreshadow upcoming events. He seemingly chopped the legs out from under his narrative at every opportunity. I don’t honestly understand his strange compulsion to spoil major plot points. Offhand, I can think of several instances of him spoiling the endings to other stories as well, and not only his own! It’s like he just can’t help himself—but I digress.

Bottom line: The Eyes of the Dragon is a rather straightforward fairy tale, that lacks mystery and intrigue, but, at the same time, feels too drawn out. What little action that did occur could have easily been told in half the number of pages. And since the only Dark Tower tie-ins were a couple of familiar names, a central location, and one of the main characters, I didn’t feel like the story was really worth my time.

However, it is worth noting that, following the lukewarm reception and/or outright rejection of this fairy tale by his rabid fans, King penned his famous Misery book. A story of an author kidnapped and chained to his desk, and forced into writing only the types of stories that his “Constant Readers” demand. STAY IN YOUR LANE, uncle Stevie!

2 Stars – For completionist only or a younger audience fond of simple fairy tales.

Favorite quote:

She had never seen a man with his drawers off before her wedding night. When, on that occasion, she observed his flaccid penis, she asked with great interest: “What’s that, Husband?”
. . .
“It is King’s Iron,” he said.
“It doesn’t look like iron,” said Sasha, doubtfully.
“It is before the forge,” he said.
“Ah!” said she. “And where is the forge?”
“If you will trust me,” said he, getting into bed with her, “I will show you, for you have brought it from the Western Barony with you but did not know it.”
Profile Image for Swaps55.
86 reviews73 followers
August 8, 2007
i need to preface this by saying that this was the first stephen king book i ever read. he is my father's favorite author, and i grew up staring at the dozens of hardback books all in a row on the shelves of his office, all with king's name on them. i really wanted to read one, see what it was dad read, and the reason he handed me this one was the same reason king wrote it: so his kids could read something he had written. in other words, it's kid-friendly, and actually written as a children's book (don't be fooled, though. there is plenty of poisonings, death, betrayal, etc, and the villain is flagg, of the stand fame). that said, it could be that my love for this book the second time around as an adult is deeply rooted in that first reading as a kid, meaning it could be that if you read it for the first time as an adult you might not feel the way that i do about it. think reading the hobbit vs. reading lord of the rings, and that's about the comparison to it and normal king fare.

the story itself could almost be considered stock fantasy, but the characters are brought to life with the amazing skill that you come to expect from stephen king. you have the kingdom of delain, ruled by king roland. roland has two sons, peter and thomas. the elder peter is the golden child, with thomas always living in his shadow. roland himself is a weak king, a virtual puppet of his adviser, flagg. with peter poised to take the throne after roland dies, flagg must see to it that somehow thomas, the weaker son who more resembles his father, is the one actually crowned king. this doesn't sound to original, does it? but i doubt you can find a story in which you feel such compassion for the spineless king roland, awe and respect for the venerable prince peter, and sympathy blended with shame for thomas. it's a quick read, engaging, and skillfully told. if you want a fantasy story that will bring you back to your childhood, this is it.
Profile Image for Tom Quinn.
545 reviews147 followers
February 4, 2021
Did you know Stephen King wrote a fantasy novel? Well he did, and it's glorious. All his best skills are on display here: short episodic chapters that end with a "what happens next?" cliffhanger, relatable inner monologuing from ordinary folks thrown into extraordinary situations, creative worldbuilding that fills out every scene. King has a knack for good old-fashioned storytelling, and here he does a rip-roaring fantasy tale that serves up the genre's tropes and conventions with ease and an enthusiasm befitting any 80s movie of the week.

4 stars. Melodrama that shows King has chops in the non-horror department, this was so much more fun than expected.
Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 6 books3,964 followers
January 15, 2020
I first read this about a year after it was published and hadn't thought too much about it since then, but for the young kid I was, it happened to be the first fantasy novel I ever read and the second novel... period.

It shaped my idea of what fantasy was, even if I've reformulated that about a million times since then, but let me be frank: I wasn't all that impressed. SF in all its shapes and forms caught my imagination more. In fact, it took something like a decade and a half before I went off the infrequent perusal of fantasies and did huge binge-reads of the genre.

The old castle, kings, queens, and princes just didn't do that much for me.

On the other hand, Stephen King will not be denied. I enjoyed the characters even tho they seemed to be nearly archetypal templates with hardly any differentiation from the ideals, was amused by the whole handkerchief plot, and was immensely interested in Flagg, that bigger-than-life evil bastard that spans many of King's novels.

This re-read didn't change my initial opinion all that much, but the core is still good if not purely fantastic. And this time, I got to wonder at all the kitchen-sink story elements that had been thrown into this tale, straight out of King's earlier novels. Such as the importance of storms, a-la IT, the incorporation of less than bright characters as extremely important heroes in their own rights, and elements of regret, redemption, and forgiveness for even the greatly-flawed and mostly despicable characters.

I haven't seen but a handful of characters in ALL of King's works that can be described as genuinely decent and/or good, but Peter happens to be one. That's pretty wild. :)

No, this isn't a King masterpiece, but it definitely has a lot of charm.

Can you believe it? It's King's only pure fantasy!
Profile Image for Peter Topside.
Author 4 books671 followers
August 17, 2020
I am not a fan of fantasy-heavy stories, but decided to give this a shot, as I was all about Stephen King after reading Desperation. It was a totally different experience, and I was very shocked by how engaged I became. The dragon sand was a really cool concept, and who knew dragons had a 9-chambered heart? I highly recommend to fans of King, as well as the likes of Tolkien.
Profile Image for Constantine.
832 reviews135 followers
February 17, 2022
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ ½
Genre: Fantasy + Young Adult

This is a straightforward fantasy story with less complexity and less emphasis on world-building. Mainly catered for the young adult audience. I have not read any Stephen King YA books before. Actually, I’m not sure if any of his other books are even in this genre. Still, you know this is King writing the story. You can tell from his writing even if you had no idea. All his quirky additions are still there and provide a great reading experience.

The story is about king Roland who has a wicked magician advisor (Randall Flagg). This magician keeps plotting to destroy Delain (the Kingdom). He causes big harm to the King’s family and a feud between his sons Peter and Thomas. I’ve read this book after The Stand in which Flagg is the main villain there and here as well. It is amazing how Stephen King lets his characters appear in different books even though the books are not in the same series. But they are all in the same Stephen King’s world. I’m very glad that I am reading these books in this order as I keep knowing these characters more and getting closer to them. I highly recommend the extended reading order for The Dark Tower series. It will take time to finish the series that way but I feel it gives me a much better understanding of the characters and their motives.

So should Stephen King write more young adult fantasy? Absolutely. I’m usually very picky about things when it comes to the YA genre, especially in fantasy. But this story was very pleasant. I think it might be a good entry point for those who never read a King’s book before but do not want to start with his usual horror stories.

Note: The Eyes of the Dragon comes as a part of my reading of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. This is Book No.4 of 24 books I am going to read for this series.
Profile Image for Gabriel.
485 reviews640 followers
February 11, 2022
Aunque la leí hace tiempo no es lo mejor de King pero me resultó entretenida, me la pasé bien y aunque no he leído La torre oscura, sé de sobra que hay referencias en este libro.

Mi opinión es que creo que es una buena historia, muy bonita y disfrutable para un público no tan adulto. Parece un cuento de hadas pero contado con los matices oscuros de King sin perder la magia de la literatura fantástica. Los personajes tienen su papel, sin embargo, los sentí muy sosos a excepción de Dennis, Sasha, (aparecen muy poco) Thomas y Flagg que son los mejores para mí, a pesar de que a este último lo vi muchas veces como una caricatura. Sentí que el villano estaba muy bien hecho pero que le faltó más; sé que no fue todo su potencial y lo limitó bastante que la historia fuera dirigida para niños. Eso se nota hasta sin gafas.

Peter, el príncipe heredero se me hizo un Gary stu de manual y si bien la historia me gustó, tiene unos deus ex machina que no se pasan por alto. También entiendo que es literatura infantil, pero alguien que ha leído bastante del género se da cuenta de los pequeños detalles que no concuerdan. Al final, lo único que espero es saber más acerca del encuentro entre Thomas y Flagg porque me dejó muy picado y fuentes confiables me han dicho que esto pasa en La torre oscura.
Profile Image for Mike's Book Reviews.
139 reviews5,694 followers
December 15, 2020
Full Video Review Here: https://youtu.be/wG7Lhb5y-T4

It's a rare case when I pick up a Stephen King book and it is not for a re-read.

After the fiasco that was my "break up" with Stephen King in 2004 when I read the last 2 Dark Tower books, I wrote off The Talisman and Eyes of the Dragon because the last thing I wanted was Stephen King doing fantasy again. Yes, I was that petty 16 years ago.

Now, doing my "Into the Multiverse" series for the channel, it came time for Eyes of the Dragon, a book that many a King fan puts near the bottom of their rankings. So, was it as bad as I was told? Heck no, I loved it.

Going into this with the knowledge that he wrote the story for his daughter really helped me to approach it as a fairy tale rather than epic fantasy. The Eyes of the Dragon is every bit a fairy tale. A very, very charming fairy tale.

What I didn't expect was so many Dark Tower references (maybe?) in this one. Any time you get more of arguable King's greatest villain ever created in Randall Flagg, well it's going to be a good time. Add to this not one, but two coming of age stories under very different circumstances and it is King at his best; even if there isn't the usual horror and bad language.

I had a ton of fun with this one and I'm already planning for it to be my oldest son's gateway into Stephen King when he's ready. I think this is absolutely the perfect book for Constant Readers to pass on to their kids should they want to share a love of King with them.
Profile Image for Shannon.
891 reviews225 followers
May 7, 2014
I read this about ten years ago and just read the book again about two years ago. Well, I'm delighted to say that it still has all its magic.

As an aspiring writer, I was breaking down the story, trying to figure out what made it special. It's not so much the setting as there are many fairy tale legends which are similar to this one . .. nor is it the actual idea as many good princes have been unjustly imprisoned and then tried to redeem themselves later.

This tale's strength is in its narrative prose as well as its nuances. The magical dollhouse, the napkins, the tidbits of legends, the extra push for detailing characters all explain why King is such a great storyteller.

If you like King, read this. If you like fantasy, read this. If you like fairy tales, read this . .. although, be warned: this is not for children.


Profile Image for Dannii Elle.
2,034 reviews1,422 followers
April 17, 2021
The King is dead and his favoured, eldest son is imprisoned for his murder. Will the wrongfully accused boy manage to free himself and will his subjects believe his innocence if he does?

I found this a very accessible fantasy story. King does not dwell on particulars of the fictional kingdom but, instead, focuses on the mystery inside of it. Even this he approaches from an unusual angle, as the reader is privy to the real perpetrator very early on and spends much of the book waiting for justice to be delivered.

I thoroughly enjoyed both the story and how it was conveyed. It provided me with some straight-forward escapism, which did not require too much thought and instead allowed me to become immediately immersed in the story and remain gently carried along by its meandering trajectory.
Profile Image for Char.
1,634 reviews1,487 followers
October 15, 2021
A fairy tale type of story with all the things we love about fairy tales. Two princes, a King and an evil advisor/magician named Flagg. That’s right. Flagg.

I’ve got some things going on in life right note and this story was the perfect listen. Bronson Pinchot narrates the hell out out of it, what else can I say. This is a perfect distraction from the shit show that is daily life in these unprecedented times.

I am so thankful for storytellers like this, and the narrators that give these tales life. As such, I’m giving this 5 fat stars.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,211 reviews133 followers
November 29, 2022

Something a little different from Mr King— a straightforward fairy tale set in a kingdom of another time and place.

Charming and a great bed time take for older elementary kids, I enjoyed the tale. Old King. Two princes. Evil magician.

Unfortunately, about a 100 pages too long and not nearly as creative a storyline as I’ve come to expect from the master of storytelling.

I’m considering it a solid primer for his Fairy Tale novel, which I hope is darker and more complicated than this tale.

Final note- I was very intrigued that the evil magician’s name was Flagg. I love King’s connectivity!
Profile Image for Choko.
1,198 reviews2,583 followers
March 9, 2016
*** 3.40 ***

A buddy read with my fairy tales loving friends at BB&B!!!

I have never jumped on the Steven King fan band wagon, but it was never because of his writing. It usually relates to the thematics and my inability to cope with thrillers and imaginative mind, which brings all his monsters to life and I just can't deal...

However, this book is not his usual fair. It is a fairytale!!! And I am a humongous fan of anything resembling a classic fairytale or Fantasy... So, this is how several BB&B members found ourselves reading this book.

Mr. King wrote this in order to have something he created appropriate enough to read to his children when they were very young. And he did just that - he created a fairytale good for children as young as 6 and as old as time:-) I truly enjoyed the story. I also think, that if I had read it as a youth I would have rated it with all the stars. However, I am reading it in a ripe old age and although magically written, it was a bit too straight forward and linear for my expectations of the modern Fantasy genre. This in no way diminished it's value or enjoyment factor. It just made it a bit young and predictable for what we all have gotten accustomed to. Despite everything, it read really fast and I engulfed it in one sitting.

As I said, I enjoyed reading this with friends and recommend it to all those young at heart - a simple story of good verses evil!!! I hope you all have a great time reading!!!
Profile Image for Santy.
77 reviews73 followers
August 29, 2020
La clásica historia de reyes y dragones de la mano de King.

"Creo que una verdadera amistad siempre nos hace sentir este dulce sentimiento, ya que el mundo casi siempre parece un árido desierto y las flores que en él crecen parecen hacerlo en contra de todas esas circunstancias desfavorables."

 Al grano: no me convenció. En cuanto supe de la existencia de este libro se dispararon mis expectativas, o sea, ¿King haciendo cuentos de hadas? Sonaba algo que definitivamente tenía que leer, y lo hice. Quizá me jugaron en contra. Quizá, siendo mi autor favorito y habiendo leído más de 15 novelas esperaba algo más. ¿Quién sabe? Esta fue mi experiencia:

Estaba al tanto de que es una historia para su hija y, por lo tanto, de su infantilidad; de hecho, esta no se me hizo molesta en ningún momento, es una novela firme y (bastante) extensa para el rol del cuento antes de dormir. Tenemos un rey, un mago, príncipes, entre otros elementos de fantasía clásicos, que se iban presentando y, viniendo del autor, no sabía qué esperar de sus roles, pero, lamento decir, que no me sorprendieron en absoluto. La historia es muy básica, lejos de ser una de las mejores. A pesar de su narración de lectura veloz, se me hizo bastante pesada, creo que perdía ligereza con descripciones excesivas y explicaciones de sobra. Otro punto que no me gusto fue que había sucesos que sucedían por casualidad o porque sí en vez de tener razones complejas o ingeniosas (quizá es por su carácter más infantil, pero no lo justifica ya que no deja de ser una novela y pretenciosa).

 El narrador en primera persona aportó mucho, desde el humor como desde el suspenso (algo destacado en esta novela en particular). En relación al tema de los personajes admito que ninguno me agradó o disgusto lo suficiente, una nada, fueron bastante lineales y superficiales, piezas de una novela y ya; a pesar de esto, debo hacer una excepción con el gran antagonista, Flagg. Siniestro, poderoso, simplemente digno del papel, además me hizo recordar a Voldemort. Sé que aparece en otros libros (ninguno que haya leído yo) y sé que la novela en general tiene conexiones con la Torre Oscura (de la que solo leí el primero), por lo que luego investigaré más de esto para saber cuando llegue el momento (si alguien quiere comentarme, mejor). 

Hacia el final, a eso de las últimas 60 páginas, fue cuando empecé a conectar con ella (no es precisamente un cumplido el conectar casi cuando está acabando pero es algo ¿no?). Toda esta última parte fue un acierto, el desenlace, la acción y algo de oscuridad. Su versión realista del "y todos vivieron felices para siempre" me gustó, y su final también. 

 En pocas palabras, una novela que tiene algunos aciertos y algunos desajustes. No es de mis preferidas del autor, sino que se queda en una franja regular. Aún así, amo que salga de su zona de confort o su cotidianidad para explorar y experimentar con otros géneros.
Profile Image for Celeste.
906 reviews2,342 followers
April 25, 2020
The Eyes of the Dragon is billed as both King’s only high fantasy and his only novel that could be classified as a children’s book. I wasn’t sure how successful he’d be with either of those things, but now I really wish he would write more of both. This book so radically exceeded my expectations that, even though I’ve come to passionately love King’s work, I couldn’t help but be surprised. I loved everything about this, and it’s the first King novel I’ve ever read that I could comfortably recommend to literally anyone of any age.
“He knew as well as we in our own world do that the road to hell is paved with good intentions--but he also knew that, for human beings, good intentions are sometimes all there are. Angels may be safe from damnation, but human beings are less fortunate things, and for them hell is always close.”

I love the change in voice King uses here. The presence of an omniscient narrator who makes his own personality known frequently throughout the telling of the story is so reminiscent of classic fairy tales, and it was a sweet, and very successful, decision. King’s storyteller in this book is pitch perfect and wonderfully balanced, and I wish I could read a dozen more stories told in this voice.
“I tell tales, not tea leaves.”

Character development has alway been one of King’s strengths in my opinion, and that strength was well showcased here. Peter could have easily been too perfect to be believable if King had not deftly fleshed him out well enough to come across as wholly three dimensional. Thomas could have been so easy to hate, but King managed to make him sympathetic. The supporting cast could have been cardboard cutouts just fulfilling their designated jobs, but King made sure that readers would see them as actual people. And then there’s Flagg. If you have any experience with King, you’ve probably heard the name. I won’t get too into his character and role in the book except to say that he’s absolutely terrifying.
“One of the great things about tales is how fast time may pass when not much of note is happening. Real life is never that way, and it is probably a good thing.”

The Eyes of the Dragon is a great example of classic high fantasy. This is a genre that produces such a multitude of works that many entries end up feeling derivative and predictable. However, I felt that in this book King actually did some things in the genre that I had actually never seen before. It was really refreshing. And considering the fact that this was written in 1987, I think the fact that it still feels so fresh speaks so highly of both the book and the author.
“Did they all live happily ever after?

They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say. They had their good days, as you do, and they had their bad days, and you know about those. They had their victories, as you do, and they had their defeats, and you know about those, too. There were times when they felt ashamed of themselves, knowing that they had not done their best, and there were times when they knew they had stood where their God had meant them to stand. All I'm trying to say is that they lived as well as they could, each and every one of them; some lived longer than others, but all lived well, and bravely, and I love them all, and am not ashamed of my love.”

This is a book that I would happily read to a classroom full of students. I would gift it to fantasy fans and people who don’t usually like King’s writing. I would read The Eyes of the Dragon again in a heartbeat, and would as just quickly recommend it to almost every type of reader. I loved it.

You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.
Profile Image for Ron.
387 reviews89 followers
October 15, 2020
Whoever said the second time wasn't a charm? This fine little book, written some 35 years ago during the time King was writing other stories like IT and Misery, had escaped my attention since first reading not long after IT. You can't compare The Eyes of the Dragon to the books that had come before it (many being big and scary), unless you were King's daughter at the time. I read somewhere that his son Joe had read a couple of King's books by that point, even if he was younger than his sister. But Naomi hadn't (the scary stuff just wasn't for her). So her dad asked her what she most liked, and then wrote this story during the mornings (while working in tandem on Misery), with no intention to publish. King also said, or so I've heard, that when you write you can't write for another person only. You also have to write for yourself. I know that's a big reason why I like The Eyes of the Dragon. Like most good books, this reads for adults as well as the young. The idea of morality is in here. “Good vs Evil” is in here as well, like so many of Stephen King's works. Roland though, he is unlike the Roland of Gilead that I know. Weak and without will, this Roland flounders. So the good is left to his son Peter instead, until he runs into trouble. And of course that's where the evil presents itself. As they say, “Where there is good...”. Randall Flagg. He is the same in name, and almost in persona too - he always seems to change a little with each story, but that's what he does and who he is.

Very glad to have reread this one. It's not something I'd actively planned to do, until I started rereading The Dark Tower Series. It doesn't advance that series, but it has a way of rounding it out with the concept of “other worlds” in ways I hadn't thought about.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,260 followers
March 21, 2017
"I think that real friendship always makes us feel such sweet gratitude, because the world almost always seems like a very hard desert, and the flowers that grow there seem to grow there against such high odds."

A beautiful YA fantasy novel focusing on the tale of King Roland of Delain and his two sons, Peter and Thomas, with the story being told by an unknown narrator. King Roland is killed by an unusual poison, with his son Peter being accused of murder and imprisoned at the top of a high tower, following the meddling of a certain Randall Flagg, the King's magician. What follows is an exciting story looking at themes including, but not limited to, friendship, loyalty, heroism and adventure.

Stephen King? Young adult fantasy, you cry?! What's the Master of Horror doing in this genre? Part of the reason I found this book so sweet was that he had written it for his daughter Naomi. When she was young, he asked her what she liked reading about, and she said "Dragons", and this is what came next. He even named a minor character after her too - adorable!

Initially I felt apprehensive as I'm not a huge fan of young adult, nor am I really into the fantasy genre, apart from a few exceptions (The Dark Tower series, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones - okay, maybe I do like fantasy!!). This is also my friend Sadie's favourite King book, and she is a huge fantasy fan too, so there was also a little pressure to enjoy it, or else she might fly over here and resort to violence. But luckily within about 10 pages, I was hooked!

One of the best parts about this book was meeting Randall Flagg again. That guy really is everywhere, scheming and causing trouble. This time, he wants to see the Kingdom of Delain crumble and fall, all whilst he hides in the shadows and watches. Another highlight for me was the narrator himself, the storyteller. No-one, and I mean no-one, can fill this role like Stephen King himself. When he tells his stories to us Constant Readers, it feels like we're all sitting around a campfire, elbows on our knees, head in our hands, absorbing it all. So it was fun for him to tell this story in a more traditional storyteller prose, similar to his introductions where he speaks directly to the Constant Reader. The illustrations in my edition were incredible too, I loooove illustrations. It really helps bring the characters and locations to life.

This is a nice book to direct people towards if they don't like horror, but wish to read some Stephen King. It's also a nice starting point for young readers, a stepping stone to the more macabre and adult books. I can imagine myself reading this to a young child at bedtime (perhaps leaving out more adult parts at the beginning surrounding sex!). This book is really proof that King is able to transcend across any genre he likes. So far, I have read the following from King: horror, romance, fantasy, young adult, supernatural, sci-fi... the list goes on. And he has excelled at all of these.

So, enough fangirling for now... I give this fairytale 5 stars out of 5! It appears I'll be taking a short break from King, but sometimes it's good to branch out to other authors. This is me trying to convince myself. Anyway...until next time! Long days and pleasant nights.
Profile Image for Lisa Wolf.
1,619 reviews176 followers
May 5, 2019
The Eyes of the Dragon, as far as I can tell, is one of King's early departures from writing straight-up horror. It's not a horror story at all -- instead, it's fantasy set in a far-off kingdom, where an evil magician is determined to thrust the land into chaos and bloodshed in order to satisfy his own dark purposes.

King Roland the Good is an okay king, kind but not particularly effective, and perhaps a little too under the sway of his advisor, the magician Flagg. Roland has two sons -- his heir, Peter, and a younger son, Thomas, who grows up in his older brother's shadow, always plagued by feelings of inadequacy and jealousy as he watches Peter grow into a fine, beloved young man. When Flagg's schemes end with Peter falsely imprisoned on charges of murdering his father, Thomas gains the throne, but he's guided in all things by Flagg, who uses Thomas's weakness to destabilize the country. But Peter is strong and smart, and doesn't give up so easily...

Such a terrific story! I was completely enthralled by this tale of loyalty, royalty, friendship, betrayal, and the evil that threatens to undermine families and kingdoms. The characters are so well drawn, showing shades of personality and motivation, and finding hidden dimensions in characters that might otherwise seem like a stock type.

The Eyes of the Dragon is an excellent adventure -- don't miss it!
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