Following Prince Caspian much more closely than it in turn followed The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader follows King Caspian along with Edmund, Lucy, and new character cousin Eustance as they set out on a great voyage across the sea to find a series of Lords exiled before Caspian took the throne.
After that, the entire book basically takes the form of a series of smaller adventures, each taking a chapter or two. It reminds me a lot of Ulysses; perhaps that’s the boat connection. Each of the stories is actually pretty good (my daughter and I both particularly enjoyed the Dufflepuds. They’re just silly enough for her age group. That being said, it’s weird that the King can do something like that (leaving his kindom, potentially for years) and it means that the story doesn’t have much of an overarching plot, but it works well enough.
Speaking of works well enough, I actually really liked Eustance’s character. He felt fairly real and actually had rather a lot of character growth, from stuck up sheltered little boy thrown in over his head to actually a pretty good kid by the end. Worth reading as much as anything in this book.
Random things that annoyed me about this story:
Aslan just keeps showing up and either saving them from whatever problem they’ve found themselves in or letting them know he disapproves and thus changing their action. Deus ex machina much?
Wow Reepicheep is annoying. He’s courageous well past the point it becomes a fault, getting them into trouble a number of times and insisting that he sail off the end of the world for some reason. At least perhaps we won’t see him again because of that?
The ending got kind of weird. I realize that Narnia is a thin allegory for Christianity, but it’s somewhat hitting the nail on the head in those last two chapters and they really do seem to drag on.