Friday, June 27, 2008

"The Eyes of the Dragon" review

Most people think Stephen King writes exclusively horror. But this idea is by no means true. The Dark Tower is a seven-book-long fantasy series. The Dead Zone, despite its morbid-sounding title, is more of a suspense/thriller book than outright horror. The Running Man, a novel which I will review here in the not-too-distant future, is more of a sci-fi/action blend than horror. And The Eyes of the Dragon is pure escapist fantasy.

The Eyes of the Dragon tells the story of King Roland the Good (though not great) and of his two sons, Peter and Thomas. Peter is a strong-willed boy who exemplifies all of Roland's best traits and seems to magnify them, to the happiness of the people. Thomas, however, is just like his father. Good, but not great. He longs for something he does to catch his father's eye in a good way, and for Roland to look at him as he looks at Peter.

The book also tells the story of the ageless magician Flagg and his desires to stop Peter from ascending to the throne. For what Flagg wants is chaos. Flagg has a plan to use Thomas to get what he wants. If Thomas was king, instead of Peter...

...if Peter were locked away in the Needle for a crime that he didn't commit.

The book tells the story of how Flagg, rejoicing at how well his plan is working does not notice Peter's subtle, but persistent struggle to regain the throne that was rightfully his.

The book is not one of Stephen King's longest, clocking in at just under 400 pages in length. The fast reader can finish it in a day. But King keeps the pages turning with the strength of his prose, and it's compulsive reading. Flagg, as you might have guessed, Constant Reader, is a villain whom King likes to write, and he wrote him fantastically in this gripping tale of kings and successions.

Go. Read.

My rating: 9/10

Monday, June 23, 2008

"The Stand" review

I've had a lot of reading time recently. During it, I read three Stephen King books. This is the first of three review posts.

The Stand is perhaps Stephen King's most popular work. It's long: in the paperback of the Complete and Uncut edition, there are 1141 pages. In other words, it's big, it's heavy, and it's epic. And it's very, very good.

A virus under experimentation for possible use in biological warfare is accidentally released upon the guards at a secret base. The base is put under quarantine, and the virus is almost contained with few deaths. But one of the employees escapes. He runs as far as he can get before the virus kills him and his family.

And the virus spreads.

A small percentage of Earth's population finds themselves immune to the virus. A group containing Frannie Goldsmith, Stuart Redman, Larry Underwood, Harold Lauder, and Mother Abigail, a mysterious black woman who appears in the others' dreams. Also in their dreams is the truly evil Randall Flagg, a man-- or perhaps something else-- who crucifies those who go against his will. And Flagg has followers, such as the Trashcan Man, a man who delights in the burning of things.

So the stage is set for a clash between good and evil of staggering importance, Mother Abigail's forces on one side, Flagg's on the other. It is time for a final Stand.

The book starts gripping and ends gripping. And everything in between is gripping, too. But that's not to say that the story is at the expense of the characters. The hefty page count gives Stephen King all the room he needs to tell the story at its fullest extent, with every aspect of the story playing out as King intended in his mind. There's very little criticism I can give to the masterwork of a master writer.

So enjoy, Constant Reader. Enjoy.

My rating: 10/10

Friday, June 20, 2008

Lots of Movie Ratings

The Mummy-- 8/10
The Mummy Returns-- 8.5/10

The Phantom of the Opera-- 10/10

Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark-- 10/10
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom-- 8/10
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade-- 9.5/10
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull-- 9.5/10

STAR WARS Episode I: The Phantom Menace-- 8/10
STAR WARS Episode II: Attack of the Clones-- 7.5/10
STAR WARS Episode III: Revenge of the Sith-- 9/10
STAR WARS Episode IV: A New Hope-- 10/10
STAR WARS Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back-- 9/10
STAR WARS Episode VI: Return of the Jedi-- 9.5/10
The STAR WARS Holiday Special-- 1/10

Blazing Saddles-- 10/10
The Producers-- 9/10
Spaceballs-- 9/10
Robin Hood: Men in Tights-- 8.5/10
History of the World: Part I-- 7/10
The Twelve Chairs-- 6.5/10
High Anxiety-- 7.5/10
Young Frankenstein-- 9.5/10
Silent Movie-- 7.5/10

Airplane!-- 10/10
Top Secret!-- 9.5/10
The Naked Gun-- 8.5/10
The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear-- 9/10
The Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult-- 8/10
Hot Shots!-- 8.5/10
Hot Shots! Part Deux-- 9/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl-- 10/10
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest-- 9/10
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End-- 9.5/10

National Treasure-- 9/10
National Treasure: Book of Secrets-- 8.5/10

Spider-Man-- 9.5/10
Spider-Man 2-- 9.5/10
Spider-Man 3-- 9.5/10

X-Men-- 7.5/10
X2: X-Men United-- 9/10
X-Men: The Last Stand-- 9/10

Batman Begins-- 10/10

Iron Man-- 9.5/10

Fantastic 4-- 6/10
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer-- 4/10
Ferris Bueller's Day Off-- 10/10

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring-- 10/10
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers-- 10/10
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King-- 10/10

Dead Poet's Society-- 10/10

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe-- 8.5/10
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian-- 9/10

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone-- 8.5/10
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets-- 8/10
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban-- 9/10
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire-- 9/10
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix-- 9.5/10

Jurassic Park-- 9/10
The Lost World-- 8/10
Jurassic Park III-- 8.5/10

Monty Python and the Holy Grail-- 10/10
And Now For Something Completely Different-- 8.5/10

Friday, June 6, 2008

Lots of Book Ratings

In lieu of review...

Septimus Heap-- Magyk: 8.5/10
Septimus Heap-- Flyte: 9/10
Septimus Heap-- Physik: 9.5/10

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: 9.5/10
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets: 9/10
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: 9/10
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: 10/10
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: 9.5/10
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: 9.5/10
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: 10/10

The Name of the Wind: 10/10

Eragon: 9/10
Eldest: 8.5/10

Children of the Lamp-- The Akhenaten Adventure: 7/10
Children of the Lamp-- The Blue Djinn of Babylon: 7.5/10
Children of the Lamp-- The Cobra King of Kathmandu: 8/10
Children of the Lamp-- The Day of the Djinn Warriors: 8.5/10

PENDRAGON-- The Merchant of Death: 8.5/10
PENDRAGON-- The Lost City of Faar: 8/10
PENDRAGON-- The Never War: 9/10
PENDRAGON-- The Reality Bug: 9/10
PENDRAGON-- Black Water: 7.5/10
PENDRAGON-- The Rivers of Zadaa: 9/10
PENDRAGON-- The Quillan Games: 9.5/10
PENDRAGON-- The Pilgrims of Rayne: 10/10
PENDRAGON-- Raven Rise: 10/10

Gregor the Overlander: 9/10
Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane: 9.5/10
Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods: 8.5/10
Gregor and the Marks of Secret: 9.5/10
Gregor and the Code of Claw: 10/10

Maximum Ride-- The Angel Experiment: 9/10
Maximum Ride-- School's Out--Forever: 9/10
Maximum Ride-- Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports: 9.5/10
Maximum Ride-- The Final Warning: 7/10

Artemis Fowl: 8/10
Artemis Fowl-- The Arctic Incident: 7.5/10
Artemis Fowl-- The Eternity Code: 8.5/10
Artemis Fowl-- The Opal Deception: 9/10
Artemis Fowl-- The Lost Colony: 9.5/10

The Lightning Thief: 8.5/10
The Sea of Monsters: 9/10
The Titan's Curse: 9.5/10
The Battle of the Labyrinth: 9.5/10

Stoneheart: 8/10
Ironhand: 9/10
Peter and the Starcatchers: 9/10
Peter and the Shadow Thieves: 8.5/10
Peter and the Secret of Rundoon: 9.5/10

Here, There Be Dragons: 9/10
The Search for the Red Dragon: 9/10

Raising Dragons: 8/10
The Candlestone: 8.5/10
Circles of Seven: 9/10
Tears of a Dragon: 9.5/10

Eye of the Oracle: 8/10
Enoch's Ghost: 8.5/10

Inkheart: 8.5/10
Inkspell: 9/10

Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo: 8.5/10
Leven Thumps and the Whispered Secret: 9/10
Leven Thumps and the Eyes of the Want: 9.5/10

Midnight for Charlie Bone: 8/10
Charlie Bone and the Time Twister: 9/10
Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy: 7/10
Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors: 8.5/10
Charlie Bone and the Hidden King: 9.5/10
Charlie Bone and the Beast: 9/10

Abarat: 9/10
Abarat-- Days of Magic, Nights of War: 9.5/10

The Bad Beginning: 7/10
The Reptile Room: 7/10
The Wide Window: 7.5/10
The Miserable Mill: 7/10
The Austere Academy: 7.5/10
The Ersatz Elevator: 8/10
The Vile Village: 8.5/10
The Hostile Hospital: 8/10
The Carnivorous Carnival: 9/10
The Slippery Slope: 9/10
The Grim Grotto: 8.5/10
The Penultimate Peril: 9/10
The End: 9.5/10

The Magician's Nephew: 7.5/10
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: 10/10
The Horse and His Boy: 7/10
Prince Caspian: 9/10
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: 9/10
The Silver Chair: 9/10
The Last Battle: 9.5/10

The Thirteenth Tale: 11/10