The Eyes of the Dragon
King Roland rules in Delain. He has two sons, Peter, the elder, and Thomas. The court advisor, Flagg, is a shadowy magician. Queen Sasha died when Thomas was born. Although Roland the Good loved both of his sons but favors Peter because Peter is so much like his mother. Thomas is more like Roland both in temperament and looks.
King Roland is an easy-going man, easily led by Flagg. What he doesn't realize is that Flagg is working to bring down the country of Delain. Flagg is older than anyone realizes. He has been making trouble for Delain for over hundreds of years. Flagg is just is present persona. Roland is a mediocre leader - not good, not bad. Flagg isn't able to sway him enough to turn him evil, just make the occasional mischief - like with Queen Sasha.
When Roland is murdered, Prince Peter is convicted of the murder and imprisoned in a tall tower. Young Prince Thomas, only twleve , is completely malleable. Flagg is able to twist King Thomas the Light-Bringer to Thomas the Tax-Bringer. Flagg's final plan for Delain is underway. Peter has to find a way to escape and retake his throne before that can happen.
I hadn't realized King had written any children's books. On the back flap he states he wrote a book his 13-year-old daughter would like. He succeeded.
This is a good fantasy for the tween group. The narrator occasionally stops his story to talk directly to the readers, pulling them into the story. He goes back and forth in the story, so we know Flagg has killed Queen Sasha before it happens. But the jumping around works because he only reveals enough to keep your interest, not enough to ruin the story.
The chracters are likeable and honorable when they're supposed to be, evil when they're supposed to be. Thomas, who is sneaky and jealous, isn't completely bad. He's caught up the circumstances The Eyes of the Dragon works well for its target audience and for us older readers as well. It's got all the elements a light, successful fantasy should have. It's not King's best work, but it's good for the tween set and enjoyable for the rest of us fantasy buffs as well.
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