I was recommended this book by a friend at work and of course, I had to read it ASAP. One because it is a Stephen King novel and two because she said it wasn’t like his other books and that it was a fantasy. I never turn down a fantasy. It isn’t like any of his novels and that is why it stands out. Naturally, I was curious and learned that this book is out of print which made it more exciting for me. After acquiring it, I jumped head first into the epic fantasy world of Stephen King.
The King is dead. The kingdom grieves over its lost leader and blames the young Prince Peter. He now rots in prison while his little brother rules. Yet, it isn’t truly Thomas who sits on the throne. Yes, he occupies it but someone else occupies his mind. Flagg, the King’s Magician, is a shady fellow who up front seems like a trustworthy friend but inside he is tricky and false. He is behind the fall of Delain. Peter watches from his prison cell high in a tower as his home is ripped to shreds. He knows he must prove his innocence and that Flagg is the true culprit. Can Peter prove that he didn’t murder his father? Does he still have allies within the kingdom to help him or will his death silence any questions?
My friend was right, this book isn’t like any other of Kings novels. While there are still thrills, this one is an epic fantasy adventure that begs to be read. Really quick, I am going to address the things I did not like about the book. The biggest thing is how slow the beginning was. Oh my gosh, it DRAGGED on. The narrative was weird which I think was the problem. The story was being told like a conversation across a table, kind of like the ones you hear in a coffee shop. It was choppy and sometimes too much information was being given. Don’t let that scare you off though, like I say often, the set up of the whole story is sometimes the worst part. Push through the first 100 pages and the story/narrative becomes much smoother and easier to read.
This story was very interesting to move through and the characters that were introduced were fun to watch develop through the book. You see the King grow old, the two princes grow up and become their own people. Then you see Flagg, our resident bad guy, get worse and more powerful with each turn of the page. After the long intro, you really get to dig deep into the story. Peter and his time in the tower, trying to find a way to prove that he didn’t kill his father before he himself is killed. I really liked the way his story unfolds; the author and the character knows the plan but the reader has to wait and see what happens.
Then we have our Magician and the young King. Flagg has been alive for hundreds of years, ruling the kingdom from behind a king whose mind has been stolen. History repeated itself in this story as Flagg has done this many times; killing the light in the kingdom, putting the murder on someone else, then putting a weaker mind on the throne so he can do whatever he wants and twist it his way. Flagg is really a cunning character that you love to hate. Thomas, is one who you want to help but just sit back and watch him be manipulated by Flagg because really, the story wouldn’t be the same without it.
The last 150 pages or so were the best part of the novel; they were so action packed I didn’t want to stop reading. Around the time where you find out what Peters plan is, everything breaks loose. The story takes a different tone, the one you look for the whole book. The chapters become short and sometimes hurried reflecting feelings of the character which in turn makes you feel hurried and a member of the book.
One thing that did make a difference for me and I was extremely excited about was the pictures that would pop up every once in a while. Any reader knows that the best part of reading a book is seeing how your mind builds the scenes. I have no problem creating scenes and characters in my mind, I just thought it was fun seeing them they way Stephen King saw the people and the scenes.
Story is easy to follow
Characters are easy to like and dislike, depending on who you root for
The ending is action packed
Story is unpredictable
The set up/beginning of the book is so slow it is sometimes hard to read
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is a King fan or looking for an epic fantasy to dive into. It is quite a fun read.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Up Next: The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn