Any reader who truly likes stories will appreciate the way The King collides classic Arthurian tales with World War II. The book is a literary experiment with a delightful, if confusing, result. In order to appreciate this novel, it is necessary to have a fair understanding of WWII and Arthurian legend. Characters in The King have many sides to them, but don’t develop or learn much throughout the novel. Although irksome, this lack of development is intentional and serves to illustrate the author’s point about some things being unchangeable.
The King is like a giant tapestry. If one looks at the picture as a whole, it is beautiful yet blurry and abstract. To truly appreciate The King, a reader must examine the intricacy of the threads and the perfect way in which the two materials intertwine. Every little detail is perfect and no end is frayed. In a technical sense, The King is a flawlessly constructed book created in an unusual, innovative, and intriguing manner.
Truly viewing the book like this, however, is quite difficult. Thin strands of narration and plot are dragged down by heavy layers of dialog. The setting of the book is so nonstationary that it’s difficult for a reader to invest in or trust the universe of the book. Nothing is explained satisfactorily, and the ending seems to appear out of nowhere (although these two things are somewhat intentional.)
Overall I would give The King an 8/10, since I loved the way it was created and the concepts it plays with, but never really connected with the characters.