Stephen Kings The Eyes of the Dragon was not too well-received by die-hard Stephen King fans when it first published as a limited edition 1984, because it was a departure from the author’s familiar horror genre and many people thought The Eyes of the Dragon was nothing more than a children’s book.
Stephen King was very disappointed with the reception that the book received and his disappointment is partly what inspired him to write Misery, because he felt he was trapped in the horror genre by his fans and he would never be allowed to write anything but horror Novels.
There is no doubt that The Eyes of the Dragon is a book that feels as though it is targeted at a younger audience, which is not surprising, since King originally wrote the book for his own children. It is definitely an epic fantasy rather than the more familiar Stephen King horror. However, please don’t write the book off as many other Stephen King fans have, just because it’s a slightly different style. It’s still a Stephen King book, through and through.
The Eyes of the Dragon is a story of dragons, princes, heroes and villains, and an evil magician called Flagg, who will be well known to those who have read The Stand or the Dark Tower Series of novels.
The novel is set in the Kingdom of Delain, which is located within In-World from The Dark Tower series. King Roland is murdered (no prizes or guessing by whom) and Peter, the king’s son and heir, is framed for the crime. Peter is locked up in the tower known as the Needle, and, guided by Flagg, Peter’s 12 year old brother Thomas is crowned king in Peter’s place. Somehow, Peter must escape from the Needle, join his friends, and do battle with the demonic Flagg to reclaim his throne. How he does that is both surprising and enchanting, but we aren’t going to give away all the details here.
The one and only reason that Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon wasn’t warmly received by all Stephen King fans is that is not a traditional horror story that people had come to expect from King, which is a great shame, because had the book been published under a different author’s name, those very same Stephen King fans would probably have read the book and said that it was great.
However, the professional critics did like The Eyes of the Dragon. Barbara Tritel of The New York Times described the book as "more elegant than any other novel Mr. King has written so far", and as a novel that was clearly influenced by European fairy tales.
So, if it’s stomach-churning horror, blood and gore, that you want, then The Eyes of the Dragon is certainly not going to give it to you. However, if you it’s a heart-warming and beautifully written tale of evil wizards, princes and magical kingdoms that you seek, then try reading The Eyes of the Dragon.
Sometimes, it’s just nice to escape into a fantasy, fairy tale world, and that’s exactly where Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon will take you.