The Horse and His Boy (Chronicles of Narnia #5)

I actually really enjoyed The Horse and His Boy. It’s the first book with a completely new main character. None of either the four original children or their cousin Eustace take up a main role. Although they do show up, it’s in a more minor capacity. A nice way to shake things up.

Timelinewise, it takes place after most of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but before the end when the children have grown and return to their own world. So Narnia is at peace, but it’s a new peace. So when we get to follow an outside threat (we hadn’t otherwise heard of) from countries that have been mentioned but only barely… that’s pretty cool.

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The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia #4)

The Silver Chair takes place a year and a lifetime after The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. In our world, Eustace (no N apparently) has grown up slightly and is now attending a–gasp–hyper secular school1. He’s still for the most part the better character he grew to be on his voyages and it’s nice to see someone we’ve seen before. But in Narnia, his friend King Caspian is old, with a son of his own, missing for years in his own right. And of course Eustace screws up his first–and perhaps last–meeting with an old friend.

Along for the ride is the first new female character we’ve seen in a while: Jill. She goes to school with Eustance and the both of them are outcasts, being bullied. I like her. One problem we’ve always had with Narnia is that women/girls are either perfect (like Susan and Lucy) or evil (like the White Witch). Jill is a pretty decent yet still nicely conflicted woman. I love this.

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The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Chronicles of Narnia #3)

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.

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Prince Caspian (Chronicles of Narnia #2)

Things never happen the same way twice.

It’s fascinating to read this back to back with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (as you should if you’re reading them in published order). For the children, only a year has passed, but for Narnia, it’s been far, far longer. So long, in fact, that talking animals, walking trees, and even Aslan himself are little more than myths and the Age of Man has come to a land we once knew.

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The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

I just finished reading The Boxcar Children (the first 19) to my children, so now it’s off to Narnia with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (in publication order). Oh man, we’re in for a ride.

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that > girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy > tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But > some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can > then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think > of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a > word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather, C. S. Lewis.

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