The Eyes of a King
Catherine Banner

Random House
Trade Paperback/435 pages
ISBN: 978-0-375-83875-0
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"An intriguing fantasy of parallel worlds."

The Eyes of a King : An intriguing fantasy of parallel worlds.

Leo remembers the day he picked up the blank book and his dreams of the magical land of England appeared on its pages. He and his brother Stirling live with their grandmother and attend military school to become soldiers. It was after the queen’s brother Lucien had murdered the king and queen. Lucien was a brutal dictator, ruling over a poor and changed land, but he wasn’t foolish enough to ignore the prophecy; he exiled the young prince, Ryan. Some people whispered that Lucien had killed Ryan, but in Leo’s dreams, Ryan lives with Leo’s uncle, Aldebaran, in the fairy land of England.

As the pages magically fill with Leo’s dreams, his world changes, moving toward a crisis that will mark him and his family and end the stalemate between Lucien and Ryan.

The beginning of The Eyes of a King sent me plummeting into a story that felt more like coming in at the middle of an intense conversation where I couldn’t grasp the context before I was plunged into the midst of yet another story. It took a while for me to get my bearings before author Catherine Banner switched tracks and dropped me into the midst of yet a third story. Each story was far too compelling to give up before figuring out how they connected.

The introduction to two of the stories is jarring. Each drew me deep into the different worlds while the rhythm of Banner’s prose mesmerized and held me captive. As the pace quickened and all the stories converged, The Eyes of the King became nearly impossible to put down. It is well worth wading through the fog into Malonia and England, following Leo on his dark journey.

The Eyes of the King is an ambitious tale that is at times as confusing as it is dark. Despite the rocky beginning, it becomes an exciting tale of adventure, love and intrigue that breathes new life into the fantasy genre, as though channeling Neil Gaiman by way of Peter Straub.

Catherine Banner has created a phantasm with a touch of fairy, a healthy dose of pure darkness and a deep understanding of the politics of a gripping adventure tale.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell