5.0 out of 5 stars The Horse and His Boy
I thought this was definitely one of the best books in the Narnia series. Unlike all of the other books, this one could stand alone as an independent story. This book does not follow the same order of the other chronicles and would probably fit somewhere between The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. It includes some of the main characters from the other...
Published on Feb. 29 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Another Underachievement
C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898. He was Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge, where he counted J.R.R. Tolkien among his friends. "The Horse and his Boy", the third book of the Chronicles of Narnia, was first published in 1954.
Although the series is known as the "Chronicles of Narnia", much of the action takes place in the...
Published on Jan. 23 2007 by Craobh Rua
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3.0 out of 5 stars Another Underachievement,
This review is from: The Horse And His Boy (Full Color) (Paperback)C.S. Lewis was born in Belfast in 1898. He was Professor of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge, where he counted J.R.R. Tolkien among his friends. "The Horse and his Boy", the third book of the Chronicles of Narnia, was first published in 1954.
Although the series is known as the "Chronicles of Narnia", much of the action takes place in the neighbouring countries of Calormen and Archenland. Shasta, the boy mentioned in the book's title, is introduced first - he's been brought up in Calormen by a fisherman called Arsheesh. One evening, a local prince stops with the pair and demands hospitality. Later, when Shasta overhears the prince and his father bartering for Shasta himself, he decides to run away. Luckily for Shasta, the prince's horse is a captured Narnian horse called Bree - and, as a Narnian, Bree can talk. Bree has also set his heart on escaping and returning home and agrees to take Shasta with him - recognising the boy as either a fellow Narnian or an Archenlander, rather than being native to Calormen. The pair make off together that night and, before long, they are joined on the road by another fleeing pair : Aravis and Hwin. Aravis is a Calormen princess being forced to marry against her will while Hwin, like Bree, is a captured Narnian horse. The four escapees must make their way through Calormen's capital, Tashbaan, and then across the northern desert to safety.
It's possible I'm seeing more in this book than was intended, and I know it's supposed to be a kid's book - but I'd have to describe the portrayal of Calormen's people as not only the book's big flaw but also very questionable. Physically, they're described as having dark faces and wear turbans, while their favoured weapon is the scimitar. As individuals, only Aravis is portrayed in anything vaguely resembling a positive light. Arsheesh, Shasta's foster-father, had no qualms about selling him into slavery, while Aravis' father was apparently happy to arrange her man to the Grand Vizier - someone old enough to be her grandfather. Meanwhile, the Tisroc - Calormen's ruler - is the sort of cheap and easy villain others have tried to fabricate again more recently : he actually sneers at the concept of freedom. Narnia's King Edmund and Queen Susan also appear briefly - Queen Lucy's appearance is barely even fleeting. Edmund, who didn't exactly cover himself in glory in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe", maintains his low standards when his refers to Prince Rabadash as Susan's "dark faced lover". He isn't long in adding that Rabadash is "proud, bloody, luxurious, cruel and a self-pleasing tyrant". (From only a slightly different perspective, of course, the very same thing could be said about Peter - Narnia's High King and Edmund's brother). All of which is a great pity, as the bones of this story are much stronger than those of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe".
4.0 out of 5 stars A Narnia side adventure that works,
The tale is a classic "young person escapes a bad life" story, and in the end becomes a classic "downtrodden young person saves the day" and a "young person of meager background is" - well, that would be giving something away. Time-tested clichés of the genre, to be sure, but not clichés in a bad way. In Lewis' tale, this is a Good Thing. Because it works.
The story concerns Shasta, a young boy, and a talking horse, Bree, who flee their evil masters in an attempt to reach the free land of Narnia to the north. In their flight they meet up with Aravis, a young girl also fleeing with a talking horse, Hwin. They adventure their way through the country of Calormen, a thinly-veiled substitute for the Middle Eastern countries of the real world.
Like the best of children's literature, the pacing is brisk and the obstacles to be overcome are introduced quickly and almost without pause.
As in all the Narnia books, we are introduced to Aslan. This time Aslan's role initially seems minor, but is revealed to have retroactively been a major role. It is among the worst uses of the lion in the series. Much of what the lions tells Shasta feel dreadfully like the famous poem "Footsteps," in which Jesus explains to a walker looking at his life traced in footsteps on the beach that those moments when there were but one set of footsteps, not two for the walker and Jesus, were moments when Jesus carried the walker through life, not the walker walking through his troubles alone. In "Horse," it slaps the reader from the story. Worse still is the fact that the entire meeting with Aslan is written in a gratingly worshipful tone that is horribly jarring; it does the story a great disservice. The scene, however, is mercifully short.
Because "The Horse and His Boy" is a side adventure in Narnia more than anything else, it does not have as strong a connection, and therefore sentimental tug, as the rest of the books. Still, heavy-handed Aslan scene aside, "Horse" is a delightfully simple adventure about young people escaping a bad situation. Escapism is almost never a bad thing, especially for younger people who prefer to read over playing video games, and Lewis does it very well. Most readers will thoroughly enjoy this, even if it isn't essential Narnia.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Book!,
This book is about a young boy named Shasta and a horse from Narnia named Bree. Shasta and Bree have one thing in common, they both want feedom! Shasta mannages to escape from his master, Arsheesh. Bree and Shasta encounter many adventurous perils on the way to Narnia. Some people in a kingdom even mistake young Shasta as a prince. Shasta has his moments of fame and luxury until the real prince arrives...
I enjoyed reading this book because of the great relationship Bree had with Shasta. I also had fun reading this book because when I read about all the mysterious animals such as the lions, I wanted to read more about it. It was fun reading about the part when Shasta was mistaken as Prince Corin. Here is a quote from the book that I enjoyed,"Shasta had so enjoyed his dinner and all the things Tumnus had been telling him that when he was left alone, his thoughts took a different turn. I couldn't believe that they couldn't tell the difference. There were many exciting parts in the book but to me, these were my favorite parts.
As much as I enjoyed this book, I did have some parts that I did not feel was very exciting. When Shasta and Bree met Aravis there was a lot of talking involved. I enjoy stories with diolouge but I dont enjoy it if there is eight full pages of it. Another reason why I disliked this book is because they talked in a different way that we Americans do. Arsheesh was a character in this story that I didn't like."My price is seventy."
My favorite part of this book was when the people of Tashban mistook Shasta as Price Corin. This chapter made me feel happy for Shasta because he got food and rest that he deserved. I did not like it when Aravis showed up. She was the daughter of a high nobleman and she was a little stuck up to me. Although Aravis was not my favorite character, I still enjoyed this book.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Horse and His Boy,
By A Customer
This review is from: Horse And His Boy (Paperback)I thought this was definitely one of the best books in the Narnia series. Unlike all of the other books, this one could stand alone as an independent story. This book does not follow the same order of the other chronicles and would probably fit somewhere between The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian. It includes some of the main characters from the other books such as Susan and Edmund but it is based on a boy named Shasta, a girl named Aravis, and their horses Bree and Hwin. It tells of how a boy comes to find his true identity while making friends and saving Archenland in the process. I highly recommend this book if you are looking for adventure, heroism, surprise, and fun.
5.0 out of 5 stars wholesome book can teach everyone a lesson,
4.0 out of 5 stars Prince Caspian,
By A Customer
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy were returning to boarding school when they were summoned from the dreary train station to return to the land of Narnia. Narnia is the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where their help was desperately needed. Will they leave boarding school and save their city? Well, read Prince Caspian to find out.
This book is a great book for kids of all ages. it's a wonderful adventure book and amazing and exciting things happen all the time. This is the first book that I have read by C.S. Lewis, but I know that it won't be my last.
4.0 out of 5 stars Horse and His Boy,
By A Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story, but not the best of the series,
This review is from: Horse And His Boy (Hardcover)"The Horse and His Boy" is set in the time of Narnia when our heroes from "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" are ruling Narnia. However, they are somewhat peripheral characters though, of course, Aslan is an ever-present force flowing through the world. This tale is set purely in the imaginary world - we have no journey from our world, no references back to it ... except that the lands we travel in are remarkably familiar.
The tale follows Shasta, a young boy living in the land of Calormene who overhears his "father" selling him into slavery and decides to run away. He discovers a talking horse Bree and escapes, only to run into some lions who force him together with a young girl, Aravis, who is also escaping - from an arranged marriage on another talking horse, Hwin. In classic CS Lewis moralizing, Aravis is the proud one who needs to be brought down a peg or two while Shasta is the down-trodden servant who seems destined for greater things.
The beginning of this book felt pretty slow to me. I also felt that the world Lewis was drawing upon for Calormene was too close to India / Persia for the rather obvious 'this is a worse place than Narnia which has Aslan a.k.a Christ'. Slavery, forced marriages, etc. all existed at one point around the world but the obvious parallels make it a little hard to stomach in today's world.
After a while, though, the story drags us in and such feelings disappear. Shavis is taken by a party from Narnia who mistake him for their missing prince (we obviously know what to expect as a resolution there!) while Aravis overhears a terrible plot by the Calormene's to invade Narnia and a neighboring country in revenge for a snub by Queen Susan on one of the princes (by not marrying him).
They escape and attempt to stave off the attack, finding a mysterious hermit along the way to help and, once again, being attacked by a lion.
It goes without saying that everything is resolved beautifully; those who need to be put in their place are, those who should be rewarded are and the world of Narnia lives for another wonderful tale. If you are going to read all of the Narnia chronicles (and if not, why not?!) then this one is well worth while. But if you only read a few of them, there are better ones out there.
5.0 out of 5 stars Much Better Then I Remembered,
I can remember being disappointed with this book as a kid, mainly because it doesn't involve a magical trip from our world to Narnia and we hardly see the four from the first book. When I sat down to reread it, I found that I had forgotten much of the story, so I was captured anew by these adventures. I found myself reading "just one more chapter" to find out what would happen next. And Aslan's scenes especially moved me as well.
If you start this book aware that this isn't your typical Narnia adventure, you're sure to find plenty to enjoy.
1.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous,
This review is from: The Horse And His Boy Unabridged Cd (Audio CD)This story is probably my favorite from the whole series and Focus on the Family does it full justice and then some. From the squalor of Shasta's house to the plush luxury of the palaces of Tashbaan to the blinding desert to the beautiful sparkling land of Narnia this dramatization brings it all alive, and contrary to another reviewer, I do not think it presents a false or pernicious view of Islamic peoples (on the contrary, based on a reference from "The Last Battle" Lewis must have been much more tolerant than many people I know). The Tashbaan settings and people do give an impression of Oriental lushness in a colorful way and one must remember that this is a purely imaginary realm.
The acting is superb (notably by the horses and the two children and the "real" prince-listen for his voice as Digory in "The Magician's Nephew"), and the sound and music are perfect. I highly recommend this as well as the rest of the series. Bravo Focus!
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The Horse And His Boy (Full Color) by C S Lewis (Paperback - Aug. 17 2000)
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