Monday, January 3, 2011

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

Title: The Horse and His Boy (Goodreads)
Author: C.S. Lewis
Series: Chronicles of Narnia #3
Published: September 15, 1954 by HarperTrophy
Summary: Narnia . . . where some horses talk . . . where treachery is brewing . . . where destiny awaits. On a desperate journey, two runaways meet and join forces. Though they are only looking to escape their harsh and narrow lives, they soon find themselves at the center of a terrible battle. It is a battle that will decide their fate and the fate of Narnia itself.
My thoughts: Of all the novels in the series, the Horse and His Boy was my least favorite growing up. Maybe it was all the grown-up words or the immaculate details about the landscapes and scenery in the novel, but either way, I found it unnecessary and a little boring. I find now that my opinion varies quite a lot since the last time I went through the third book in the Chronicles of Narnia.
Shasta, a poor boy who has been abused by his 'father' all his life, finds escape in a talking horse. The horse, who Shasta nicknames Bree, is from a land called Narnia, that Shasta has never seen or heard of. So when he proclaims that Shasta must be from 'Narnia and the North', Shasta gladly runs away with him. I really think this book is slightly under-acknowledged as one of the series. It is filled with fantastic imagery and symbolism that makes you think. As with the rest of its set, Lewis writes a novel full of lovable, strange characters in an extremely imaginative and original world.
The story starts out quite slow, with long descriptions of the Calormene ways and long, unbroken paragraphs. But slowly, Lewis gives a necessary backstory that leads us to the same conclusions that the characters come to. Once the action (and there's quite a lot of it) begins, it doesn't really stop, and the adventures Shasta, Bree, and their new companions, Hwin (another Narnian horse) and Aravis (a snobbish, privileged girl) go on are fun and exciting.
This time in reading this novel, I was struck by how the characters all transform. I really enjoyed reading how all of the somewhat dense, self-centered characters were changed by the events which unfold within the story. Lewis has a certain way with words that makes the entire story seem magical (I suppose it is anyways) and I really loved the character development. I didn't totally see the ending coming (My 5-year-old self had a surprisingly bad memory) and I appreciated the little perks to being an older reader. There was a lot of metaphors and symbols that I didn't first understand as a kid and Lewis is great at writing so that the stories appeal to children, teens, and adults alike.
Overall Rating: 4.5 stars


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