Audiobook Review: The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

 

“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….

I originally read The Eyes of the Dragon ages ago, probably not long after its release in the late 80s. And honestly, I didn’t remember much about it, other than (a) it was a real departure for Stephen King at that point, and (b) I liked it.

Why did I decide to revisit this story? I’m not really sure what brought it back to my attention — I think maybe it popped up on my Audible recommendation list? In any case, the audiobook caught my eye right when I was in between listens and I decided to give it a try. Great choice!

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 audiobook is narrated by actor Bronson Pinchot, and he’s wonderful. He captures the folksy nature of the storytelling (as the book’s narrative voice often interjects the narrator’s own opinions and speaks directly to the reader/listener), and also does an amazing job with the voices, from old King Roland to timid Dennis the butler to upright Peter, and of course, most especially, the insidiously scary Flagg.

The Eyes of the Dragon is an excellent adventure — don’t miss it!

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: The Eyes of the Dragon
Author: Stephen King
Narrator: Bronson Pinchot
Publisher: Scribner
Publication date: February 2, 1987
Print length: 484 pages
Audiobook length: 10 hours, 23 mintues
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Purchased

12 thoughts on “Audiobook Review: The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King

  1. Hi Lisa, this does sound very different from what I expected from Stephen King. I could probably handle this one! Glad you liked the audio version of it – it’s nice to switch things up a bit.

    • It’s really enjoyable! From what I read online after finishing the book, he got a lot of backlash from fans when he published this because he wrote something other than horror! (And supposedly, that experience was part of what inspired Misery…)

  2. Isn’t this the story where the boy takes several threads from his napkin each night and eventually makes a rope? I think it is, but then again it’s been ages since I read it!

    • Yes! You remember better than I had before starting the audiobook. 🙂 But it did come back to me as I went through the book. So much fun!

  3. Great review 🙂 I can’t believe I’ve never come across this one before – it sounds very Dark Tower-ish, with Roland and Flagg. Might have to check this one out…

    • I haven’t read all of the Dark Tower books yet (only the first three). As far as I know, Flagg is Flagg across many books, although possibly different versions, but I don’t think this Roland is the same Roland. But, worth checking out no matter the connections!

  4. This is one King I have yet to get around to. Bronson Pinchot really is a fantastic narrator though, I may have to give it a try on audio!

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