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The Eyes of a King

(The Last Descendants #1)

3.24  ·  Rating details ·  892 ratings  ·  98 reviews
FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD LEO NORTH’S prospects in life are limited. He attends military school, lives with his fearful grandmother, and looks after his brother Stirling. He resists his innate powers, because those who demonstrate any sort of magical ability are considered enemies of the state. But when he finds a blank book in the snow, his typical indifference melts away. From th ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published May 27th 2008 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published January 1st 2008)
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3.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  892 ratings  ·  98 reviews

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Aug 29, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: middle-school
As I started to read this, I was struck by something irritating about the writing style. The text felt like it was written by a 12-year-old trying hard to inflate her language and imitate an adult writer. There were too many clipped sentences used for dramatic effect, too many observations laden with detail, and the pacing was awkward. After wincing through several pages I couldn’t take any more and read other reviews of this. It turns out that this young author started writing this when she was ...more
Originally posted on The Authoress: Book Review and More.

I read somewhere that Catherine Banner was slated to be the next J.K. Rowling. I’m sure whoever said it had good intentions but I’m left going, Um no. The book was exciting at first because it was different, but soon, the flaws began to stand out. The writing began to show a amateur-istic choppiness. Then, the plot just didn’t make sense and by the end of it, I was left skimming the pages. I wish I had gotten more out of this because I thi
Apr 24, 2014 rated it it was ok I am only about halfway through the book but I don't think my thoughts are going to change between here and the end of the book so I am writing my review now.

For starters: I thoroughly detest this book and have pretty much since the first few pages. I am pretty much finishing out of pure stubbornness at this point (I have a thing about not abandoning books...) I am basically skimming just to get through it. Here is why I hate it so much:

The characters are flat and emotionless and there i
J.M. Cornwell
Aug 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
An intriguing fantasy of parallel worlds.

Leo remembers the day he picked up the blank book and his dreams of the magical land of England appeared on its pages. He and his brother, Stirling, lived with their grandmother and went to military school to learn to be soldiers. It was after the queen’s brother, Lucien, murdered the king and queen. Lucien was a brutal dictator, ruling over a poor and changed land, but he wasn’t foolish enough to ignore the prophecy; he exiled the young prince, Ryan. So
Jan 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Kudos to the youngin that had started this book at 14!


I could not get into it. The set up and imagery was great. It had a lot of "little details" thrown about to give authenticity. It wasn't all that bad for me until a certain someone decided to kick the bucket. After that it was just "WHA WHA WHA WHA WHA WHA...etc." from the main character. I'm a fan of angst but hot damn! ENOUGH!

I had an issue with the back and fourth between worlds and characters. It was easy to follow,
Sep 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you take into consideration that this book was written by a teenager - started when she was 14 and finished four years later - some of the problems I had with this book make sense. I found it to be all over the place, literally as well as figuratively.

The story is touted as being magical, but other than some characters being able to travel between two different worlds and some rather minor acts, magic was not a large part of the book. I found the main protagonist's worlds - both inner and out
Cady Lorenzana
Feb 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I bought this book because we were ask to make a book review for an english class. I am so confuse on how the story flows. Especially in the middle part. When I'm making the review, I will still go back to the parts to analyze the whole story. Its really confusing. The only part that I like was the end part---because of Ryan and Anna's story even if it is only short compared to the others.
Jan 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
I tried to read this book. The story seems so interesting that I was really looking forward to it. The writing was terrible. I had problems getting through the first chapter. Then I looked and saw that the author was young, a teenager I think, when she wrote this book. I think this author has the potential to improve. So I would maybe read future works. But skip this one.
Jul 07, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
The premise was truly promising ...
but wow, how many times did I think to myself how much longer is this book? Could we please move it along here?

The author has time to improve. She's either not quite yet or barely twenty.
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow this is different!

It was a real page turner, mostly because it was packed with tension (but sometimes the main character looses himself in emotion for eternity)
But also filled with so much emotion that I think I cried a little lake halfway through. In my opinion it was really well written and you could feel the emotions of Leo the protagonist as they were your own..

What I also really liked about it was that there were so many clichés which usually would have happened but not in this book! So
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2017
I'm puzzled by this book.

It has an interesting premise (maybe): (view spoiler) It felt like it could have been more - but the primary movers of the events surrounding the POV characters (view spoiler) are secondary to the narrative that the author chooses to tell.

Leo's story is a story about grief - dealing with grie
Audrey Irwin
Aug 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
When I first looked at the blurb I thought " Hey, this might be cool'. I was very wrong.
1)The charectord were boring, and annoying or useless. Maria and her baby- not important, Leo-selfish Stirling- could have been used much better, Aldebaran-cliché.
2) The book was nearly useless. 300 pages in and so far the book hasn't been used to change, or do anything except tell the story of Ryan and Anna.
3) The writings bad. I know 12 year-olds that could write a story better than this. Its choppy, and
Dec 31, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book had quite a bit of potential in it. The author had so many paths which she could walk this book down.
For example, Leo and Stirling could have progressed in the military school and gone to war, she could have expanded on the Silent fever and explored that, maybe she could have expanded on Leo's and Maria's love interests and develop their characters that way, Leo could have become Aldebaran's apprentice and go that way, she could have developed the conflict between Malonia's two royal f
May 25, 2018 rated it it was ok
I did not like this book. The first half was slow, and the whole time I was waiting for something good to happen. Then, something awful happens and the rest of the book is the main character complaining, boo-hooing, and crying the entire time. It was just too much. There’s never any real excitement until the very end, and in my eyes it totally fizzled compared to other books I’ve read. A little disappointed in this book. I will not read the next two in the trilogy.
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
I bought this book because it was fantasy and the book cover looked amazing - but the inside was quite the disappointment. The intention and the idea was good but execution was pretty bad and the whole story lacked depth.
Summer Seeds
Jun 24, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I couldn’t get past the writing style. It was choppy and odd. Whoever edited the edition I have kept putting commas in places commas do not belong. You could tell it was written by someone young with little writing experience. Honestly, I didn’t finish it, but what I did read was pretty bad.
Biggy Marshall
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I just loved the book. Banner's fantasy country is populated with believable characters and her writing style is captivating. I feel as if I have walked the streets of the city. I can recommend the book and am looking forward to read the sequel.
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this series while I was au-pair en England, long ago 😏
Shaan Mutreja
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked the ideas in the book but it was a bit too confusing
I have to admit, I was humbled by the fact this book was written by a fourteen year old. I've read some interviews with Catherine Banner and was blown away by her insight and character. As a person, she is an incredibly charming and pleasant young lady. However, you have to put all of that aside when reviewing her novel which was, sadly, just terrible.

So, "the Eyes of a King" is basically the story of fifteen year old Leo North's life before, during, and after a traumatic event in his life. Now
M.J. Moores
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Leo’s life is running according to everyone else’s plans until he finds a mysterious book in the snow on his way home from military school late one evening. It is a blank book that fills its pages with the story of a distant relative, exiled from Malonia. With the war at the border and a severely ill relative, this orphaned boy finds his life fatefully intertwined with another dimension and another life.

The Eyes of a King opens much like the Russian story of the Royal Family and the lost daughte
Nov 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The paragraph on the back of the book is only the start of this story, as it unfolds, you cannot believe how brilliantly the story is being told. It's such a powerful, magical story, at times I thought I was going to cry. I was defiantly caught off guard with the way this book unraveled, and how amazingly it was written. This story is so out of the ordinary, and I won't do the book any justice by telling you what it's about, it's one of those stories that has so much depth and mystery..I don't k ...more
Lauren (Ink Feather Books Reviews)

In The Eyes of a King, teen author Catherine Banner combines fiction and reality in her debut novel. This book definitely had some interesting points. The author was fourteen when she started writing it. Also, she jumps between four different voices and points of view in a way that I have never experienced before. The main character, a boy named Leo, is reading from a book that he wrote for a mysterious someone. The story in the book is about his life and a mysterious journal he found.

The main
Amanda H
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 06, 2009 rated it it was ok
Not sure what to say about this one. Found myself getting impatient with the seemingly endless angst of the main character in this story. His name is Leo North. He lives in a society where military school is a must for boys his age and where magical abilities of any kind are frowned on, in fact outlawed under the current regime. When his 9 year old younger brother Stirling dies of the "silent fever" Leo comes unhinged. It becomes the seminal event of his life. During this period he finds a book ...more
Desiree Nowlin
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Who would I recommend this book to? YA readers and fantasy lovers. Possibly historical-fiction lovers.

Where to begin?

For a young author, this book was very well written. The vocabulary was versatile and added to the story. Banner's style didn't distract from the book, but it wasn't too developed (as expected from a younger author). Her description was perfect.

I did enjoy that it changed its pov throughout, not giving away too many plot points at a time in order to bring in suspense for the reade
Jul 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Fifteen-year-old Leo North lives in Malonia with his younger brother, Stirling and his grandmother. When Leo was five years old the monarchy was overthrown by the tyrant Lucien and his parents fled Malonia to save their lives.
One night on his way home, Leo finds a mysterious book. The pages of the book are blank. But soon the pages begin to fill, telling the story of two people in England, which is thought to be a fairy tale world. The pages only appear a few at a time, but Leo feels as though h
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by The Story Siren for

Fifteen-year-old Leo North lived in Malonia with his younger brother, Stirling, and his grandmother. When Leo was five years old the monarchy was overthrown by the tyrant Lucien, and his parents fled to save their lives.

One night on his way home, Leo finds a mysterious book. The pages of the book are blank. But t soon the pages begin to fill, telling the story of two people in England, which is thought to be a fairy tale world. The pages only appe
Oct 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
*This review contains spoilers.

First off, the given synopsis doesn’t really do justice to what this book truly is, which is a very dark journey through life under an oppressive government during the midst of war, and the psychological trauma of losing a family member who is the representation of hope and light in a family. Banner does a wonderful job of revealing the content throughout the novel, so as not to give the whole thing away immediately. However, it continues to move toward a very dark
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Catherine Banner was born in Cambridge, UK, in 1989 and began writing at the age of fourteen. She studied English at Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge, before moving to County Durham where she worked as a secondary school teacher. She has published a trilogy of young adult novels, The Last Descendants.

Her debut adult novel, The House at the Edge of Night, tells the story of the 2008 financial crisis

Other books in the series

The Last Descendants (3 books)
  • Voices in the Dark (The Last Descendants, #2)
  • The Heart at War (The Last Descendants, #3)
“Because heaven’s not high above us, beyond the stars. It’s everywhere; it’s close; it’s all around us. All around us, in another dimension. And in some places the barrier wears thin.” 1 likes
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