Woo! I’m going to write a review today! So, I just couldn’t read Emma (by Jane Austen). Couldn’t get into it, for whatever reason – despite loving Clueless! So I’ve set it aside for now, and jumped into something else: The Chronicles of Narnia.
I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe many, many years ago in elementary school. I tried to read it for a book report in 6th grade, but my teacher told me I couldn’t read a book that was that below my reading level that she knew I’d read already. Fair enough. Fine. But I think that’s the last time I READ a CoN book. I have, however, seen the three movies they put out in the last decade. Let me tell you, I loved them. All three! Dawn Treader wasn’t the best, but it was better than HP and the Half-Blood Prince movie, FOR REAL. Anyway. I’ve really been enjoying them, and, as you might expect, have been breezing through them while I read. So today I’m going to review the first (chronological) CoN book, The Magician’s Nephew.
REVIEW: The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis
Plot: Young Digory and Polly becomes friends one summer in London. Digory’s Uncle Andrew, who believes he is a magician, has somehow found a way to transport things (people, animals, etc.) to new worlds. When he sends Polly accidentally, Digory goes after her to make sure she can get home again, but that’s where the real adventure begins. When they’re forced to bring back sinister Queen Jadis, things go awry and they have to escape. Finally, they end up travelling to a brand new world that’s being built by a Lion. Named Aslan, he helps Digory find a way to cure Digory’s dying mother. The adventure begins Narnia’s existence, and helps readers understand the books that follow in the series.
Most Memorable Line(s): If I can be honest, there wasn’t one memorable line in this for me – which I’ll get into later. There WAS, however, a really memorable scene: Picture this, you’re in a strange world and all of a sudden you see a large lion walking near you. It really scares you, and you’ve got a broken lamp post in your hand, so what’s the best course of action? To throw the post at its head! Then you get to watch it bounce harmlessly between its eyes, and you proceed to run away. HAH. Too funny. Who thinks of that? Oh, it’s a lion, let me provoke it!
What I liked: Everything! Actually, that’s not exactly true, but from a *me* standpoint I really loved being able to go and read this book. Reading all of CoN is something I’ve always wanted to do. I thought this was a really interesting backstory. Digory and Polly aren’t nearly as captivating or developed as the Pevensies, but I really liked them both. Their dynamic with the adults in the story are really interesting – it’s very clear this was a book meant for children to understand and relate to. I loved being able to see Narnia’s creation by Aslan. The scene I just described, where the lamp post is thrown at him, was so funny but so poignant, as well. Everything this guy touches grows, and grows quickly. When the lamp post falls to the ground, it literally sprouts like a tulip into a full on regular lamp post. Having the add-on story (or so it felt to me) if Digory finding a way to cure his mom — picking a silver apple from a very particular tree — was a really nice touch, as well. It gave real meaning and purpose to Digory’s story, rather than JUST being a backstory to LW&W, which was published first. I also love the way the world of Charn, where Digory and Polly first meet Queen Jadis before getting stuck bringing her back to London, is described. The idea of the dying sun and world and what that would look like was very striking. How Digory ties in to the rest of the series was clever as well, I thought. I’m glad he *****SPOILER***** is the Professor, and I’m glad they gave an actual reason for the wardrobe’s capacity.
What I didn’t like: At many points, it felt like an under developed backstory, as though Lewis was like “well, I guess I should explain how Narnia got there and how the wardrobe became magical.” As I just said, I love that Digory becomes the Professor. That development works for me. But in a lot of ways, the rest of the book felt short on interesting or meaningful plot. I wanted more than Uncle Andrew being a magician who’s simply a greedy, drunken adult.
Grade: 7.5/10…for being a good story, but not a GREAT story, but part of a series I’m loving overall.