Monday 12 March 2012
Devouring Stephen King: The Eyes of the Dragon
I had two main problems with the book, and one of them had a massive effect on the other. The narrative voice is mostly detached from the story, offering the narrator's own thoughts and shielding some of the thoughts of the characters from the reader. This in itself isn't really a bad thing, although I definitely prefer books not having a narrator who isn't also a character in the story, except when that voice is, say, Jane Austen's because hey, she's awesome! The main problem with the way it's written, though, is that, as well as having this narrator, everything that happens is looked at from the angle of what seems like every character. I don't necessarily mind this either, but when a story is literally (slight spoiler, but don't even bother reading this book, please) 'Boy is born. Boy is accused of killing his father. Boy is locked up. Boy escapes. Boy's brother kills evil magician who has masterminded it all. Boy takes up crown, brother goes on a quest,' I honestly don't appreciate it being 470 pages long. I genuinely think it could have been about 100 pages long, and it would have been fine.
So, yeah. The story's not too bad in itself, and if it was shorter, I would have appreciated it much more. Having said that, I didn't really have a problem ploughing through it, because, come in, it's still Stephen King's writing, even if the narrator is detached from the story. The thing about this book is, it could have been so much more... interesting. The evil villain of the piece is Randall Flagg, who I know we all remember from The Stand, and he also makes a later appearance in The Dark Tower series. I find this so intriguing, and there are lots of things I want to know about this- is this set before or after The Stand, how does Flagg have the ability to go between worlds, is he some kind of ultimate evil, can he ever be killed? Nothing even close to this is covered, and so the villain might as well be basically anyone else. Yeah, it's pretty annoying.
The thing I like best about The Eyes of the Dragon is the knowledge that he essentially wrote it for his daughter who wasn't a fan of horror stories. Which just makes me all mushy and awwwww-ish, and makes me like the book in spite of not really liking it! (Thanks to Matthew for pointing me in the direction of the link) So, by all means read this if you're not a fan of horror stories either, but I doubt it's one that I'll be revisiting.