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Imagine if you once saved a magical other world... only to return later and find that centuries had passed, and everything had changed.

Well, since the movie adaptation of "Prince Caspian" is about to come out, it seems appropriate to revisit C.S. Lewis's classic novel, the sequel to his even more classic "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." While it has some drippily allegorical moments near the end, Lewis does a pretty good job with what must have been a difficult sequel.

When his aunt gives birth to a baby boy, young Prince Caspian finds himself on the run from his usurping uncle Miraz -- and in the hands of Narnia's secret army of dwarves, centaurs, talking animals and nature spirits. Soon Caspian has an army backing his claim to the throne, but in a moment of desperation, he is forced to blow the magic horn of the legendary Queen Susan -- and subsequently pulls the Pevensies back into Narnia.

But while only a year has passed on Earth, centuries have passed in Narnia, and the kids find that it's no longer the place they left -- they and Aslan are distant memories, and their castle lies in ruins. And as they are led by a very skeptical dwarf to help Caspian, Lucy keeps glimpsing Aslan along the way -- a sign that things are about to change drastically in Narnia, both for the human and magical inhabitants...

The Chronicles of Narnia were probably the first books to feature what is now standard in the fantasy genre -- an ordinary person gets dragged into another world. Just take a look at successful, unique authors like Diana Wynne Jones and Garth Nix to get an example of how Lewis' stories have influenced the entire genre.

If you don't like allegory (religious or otherwise), then steer clear of "Prince Caspian," especially the second half. While Lewis's beliefs are presented in a more complicated and subtle manner in his other fictional works, here the parallels to basic Christian beliefs are very obvious. Reportedly even Tolkien, one of Lewis's best pals, found the allegory annoying.

But if you can get past the slightly ham-handed treatment, it's a lovely little read. Lewis interweaves mythical elements -- dwarves, nymphs, talking animals, witches -- with the chatty, slightly precious style of traditional British storytelling. But this one is a bit darker and more action-packed than "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," with some unexpected twists in the middle of it all. The scene with a strange witch and a werewolf is downright chilling, in fact.

But Lewis' plotting does sag near the end, during a drippy scene where Aslan wanders around fixing life for Narnian subjects. Fortunately after that, he gets back to a mystery that hangs over the whole book -- just where did all these humans come from, if they were such a rarity in the previous adventure?

Peter seems a bit more jaded than before and Edmund a bit more mature, but sadly the girls don't get enough to do this time around. But Caspian is a likable and believable prepubescent king-in-waiting, and surrounded by a bunch of unique Narnians -- a gentle yet fierce badger, a hostile dwarf, a fiery mouse, and the delightfully skeptical Trumpkin, who doesn't believe in lions.

Despite a few rough spots, "Prince Caspian" is a slightly darker, more intricate story, and its finale marks a turning point in the Chronicles of Narnia. Definitely give it a read before you see the movie.
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Imagine if you once saved a magical other world... only to return later and find that centuries had passed, and everything had changed.

Well, since the movie adaptation of "Prince Caspian" is about to come out, it seems appropriate to revisit C.S. Lewis's classic novel, the sequel to his even more classic "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe." While it has some drippily allegorical moments near the end, Lewis does a pretty good job with what must have been a difficult sequel.

When his aunt gives birth to a baby boy, young Prince Caspian finds himself on the run from his usurping uncle Miraz -- and in the hands of Narnia's secret army of dwarves, centaurs, talking animals and nature spirits. Soon Caspian has an army backing his claim to the throne, but in a moment of desperation, he is forced to blow the magic horn of the legendary Queen Susan -- and subsequently pulls the Pevensies back into Narnia.

But while only a year has passed on Earth, centuries have passed in Narnia, and the kids find that it's no longer the place they left -- they and Aslan are distant memories, and their castle lies in ruins. And as they are led by a very skeptical dwarf to help Caspian, Lucy keeps glimpsing Aslan along the way -- a sign that things are about to change drastically in Narnia, both for the human and magical inhabitants...

The Chronicles of Narnia were probably the first books to feature what is now standard in the fantasy genre -- an ordinary person gets dragged into another world. Just take a look at successful, unique authors like Diana Wynne Jones and Garth Nix to get an example of how Lewis' stories have influenced the entire genre.

If you don't like allegory (religious or otherwise), then steer clear of "Prince Caspian," especially the second half. While Lewis's beliefs are presented in a more complicated and subtle manner in his other fictional works, here the parallels to basic Christian beliefs are very obvious. Reportedly even Tolkien, one of Lewis's best pals, found the allegory annoying.

But if you can get past the slightly ham-handed treatment, it's a lovely little read. Lewis interweaves mythical elements -- dwarves, nymphs, talking animals, witches -- with the chatty, slightly precious style of traditional British storytelling. But this one is a bit darker and more action-packed than "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," with some unexpected twists in the middle of it all. The scene with a strange witch and a werewolf is downright chilling, in fact.

But Lewis' plotting does sag near the end, during a drippy scene where Aslan wanders around fixing life for Narnian subjects. Fortunately after that, he gets back to a mystery that hangs over the whole book -- just where did all these humans come from, if they were such a rarity in the previous adventure?

Peter seems a bit more jaded than before and Edmund a bit more mature, but sadly the girls don't get enough to do this time around. But Caspian is a likable and believable prepubescent king-in-waiting, and surrounded by a bunch of unique Narnians -- a gentle yet fierce badger, a hostile dwarf, a fiery mouse, and the delightfully skeptical Trumpkin, who doesn't believe in lions.

Despite a few rough spots, "Prince Caspian" is a slightly darker, more intricate story, and its finale marks a turning point in the Chronicles of Narnia. Definitely give it a read before you see the movie.
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on May 22, 2017
my neighbor love it, New to making homemade bread. would purchase again. good . very fast, receive it next day,
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on June 6, 2003
The Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite books ever. They are true classics and I would recommend them to any child or adult who has the slightest interest in the realm of fantasy. My old paperbacks were read and re-read until they were literally falling apart, so I purchased this very good looking hardcover edition. However, I've since relegated it to the bookshelf (where it sure looks nice) and purchased a boxed set instead. There are a couple of things wrong with this edition. First, the books are presented in chronological order, not the order in which they were originally written by C.S. Lewis. Second, the text is printed in two columns - this may be okay for magazines, but it's rather hard to read a book that's printed this way. Last but not least, this is a mighty hefty book - making it rather hard to read to your children propped up on your lap - or indeed to read in any way except laid out on a desk or table.
So - if you are new to Narnia, do yourself a favor and get an edition where you can read the books in their original order. If you are a die-hard Narnia lover however, this book maybe worthwhile just for the enlarged maps (by illustrator Paulline Bayned) that accompany each book/section. Keep the book on your bookshelf and use it as a reference, while you wear out another edition.
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on December 15, 1999
THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA were the most wonderful and important books I read as a child. I am still upset by this set HarperCollins has published in the last few years that has re-ordered the seven volumes chronologically based on the historical line in the novels. This is apparently according to Lewis's wishes, if so, Lewis was wrong! The best part of the series was reading "The Magician's Nephew" sixth and discovering with a beautiful and never-replicated surprise about all the things that happened before "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe." (See several reviews below that already say this better.) By all means buy these books for your children, godchildren, nieces and nephews, but PLEASE, specify that the FIRST time they read them that they read them in the original order: LWW, PC, VDT, SC, HHB, MN, LB. They will reread them for the rest of their lives, in every possible order, but something great and beautiful and unsurpassed will be stolen from them if they read The Magician's Nephew first.
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on December 1, 2003
The 2nd of the Chronicles of Narnia to be published, the events in Prince Caspian place it 4th chronologically. It is perhaps the most accessible book in a very accessible series, as it includes plenty of action and has many parallels with the present day. In brief, the four children return to Narnia to aid the eponymous Prince Caspian in his battle against his uncle. I found one portion of the book, in which we are told Prince Caspian's history, dragged quite a bit, although children are likely to enjoy that same since it introduces us many of the forest animals. On the other hand, all the action later in the book leads to some violence that may be a bit much for younger children.
Present here is the powerful symbolism found throughout the chronicles. Caspian and the 4 children (disciples?) can be seen as Crusaders in a time (medieval and/or present day) when the word of Aslan has been lost. Combining ecological and religious perspectives, one might call it a time when the power of manipulation and modification is valued more than the power of creation. Lewis gives us some villains who willfully deny the word, and others who have become too cynical or too narrowly opportunistic to hear it. After a second coming of sorts, faith and good governance are restored throughout the kingdom.
Like all the Chronicles, this one inevitably shows its age to some extent. For example, the idea that only the boys would hunt and clean the carcass of the bear seems sexist today, but certainly would not have been frowned upon by many when the books were written.
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on May 28, 2003
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in the Chronicles of Narnia books. The main characters are Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy that were sent to London during the war because of air raids. When they got to London they were sent to a professers house to stay for the summer.
The children started to explore in the house but the first few doors only led into spare bedrooms. After they searched some more doors they came across an empty room that had a wardrobe in it . Lucy and her siblings went inside ,they looked around for a bit and went to the end and then they weren't in the wardrobe any more. They were in a land called Narnia. Later they met amazing creatures such as a fawn Mr. Tumnus and a lion god named Aslan. The animals talked and amazing things started to happen. The children get caught up in a war with the evil snow queen after she cast a spell on Edmund, he starts to like her and does every thing the witch desires.
I liked the book because it has lots of adventure and action and because it's a series and it goes on. I think anyone who likes good over evil will like this book because good wins over evil and the kids become Kings and Queens.
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on October 4, 2002
Of the many C.S. Lewis books I have read, the Narnia Chronicles are his best. I should stress that I am not a christian. These books stand on their own quite well without the christian-myth overtones. Duty, honor, loyalty, courage, and the consequences of wrongdoing come through vividly. The stories are not simple morality tales, however. They present stories of similar scope and complexity to the Middle Earth series, but more accessible to younger readers. I read it when I was eight or nine, at the same time as I first read "The Hobbit" and (tried to read) its sequels. I finished the Narnia chronicles, but it took me a few years to mature enough to "get" the last two books of the Middle Earth series. Lewis targets youngsters who are far more prone to search their own attics for magical wardrobes and relics of times past than they are to get caught up in the minutia of Hobbit history. That kind of attention comes later. The christian angle never really hit me, despite being raised catholic, until I was twenty. The "Jesus figure" Aslan is hardly similar to the traditional christian conception of the "son of god" - the Aslan character is actually far more morally consistent and a better spiritual guide. The story is also broader in scope than the christian myth. Deliberately so - christianinty is based on "real" events, whereas Narnia was composed in the imagination. Lewis' imagination and grasp of moral principles and his ability to convey them in a compelling story elevate these books above even the beliefs (and intent) of their author. No mean feat. They are a great starting place for future book-lovers.
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on February 1, 2002
When I was a kid, this was a truly magical series. It's lost some of its luster, but I think I can see the appeal. They are still delightful adventure stories and real page turners. Where it loses its luster is in the Christian allegories. In my younger days, these went right over my head. Now, the rivets are showing a little more than I'm comfortable with, but it's still easy enough to gloss over those bits and focus on the storytelling parts. The characters are strong, and the fantasy aura still entrancing. I noticed this time how much natural history Lewis throws in: he's always referring to constellations, trees, flowers, and other elements of the Narnian natural world. It definitely adds to the realism of the stories.
I was somewhat surprised at my revised opinions of the individual books. If you'd asked me a week ago what my favorites were, I would have said Lion, Dawn Treader, and Horse, with The Magician's Nephew, The Last Battle, and The Silver Chair as the weakest. Now, I would put Prince Caspian and Horse at the top, possibly still with Dawn Treader, but move Lion down a notch and Magician's Nephew and The Silver Chair each up a notch.
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on December 3, 2001
The Chronicles of Narnia Boxed Set is a good series. For those of you who have read Lord of the Rings and such, these are very closely on the same line.
I remember reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in fifth grade, and had thought it a good book. Recently I got the whole set, and I was very impressed. I will do a review on each book.
The Magician's Nephew: This is to show you how the land of Narnia began, and gives insight into the others. It's not that great of a book on it's own, but great as a prelude to the ones to come. Story seems to end rather abruptly, but it was worth reading, probably the worse of them all. It show how Narnia was created and such.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: This is the book that really kicked off the series. It has plenty of action, and has a very creative element to it. The story has an old feel to it, but a good one I should add. Probably one of the better out of the series. Four children are find a doorway to Narnia in a wardrobe.
The Horse and His Boy: A truly awesome book, I think this might have been the best one. This focuses on a boy and a talking horse who are trying to get to Narnia.
Prince Caspian: This had a slow start, but picked up and was going strong, but ends rather abruptly as well. The four (Peter, Lucy, Edmund, Susan) children are summoned once again to Narnia to restore peace to the land, thousands of years after their first adventure in Narnian years.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The second best out of them. This takes place only 3 years after Prince Caspian, in which Lucy, Edmund, and their cousin Eustace are brought on board the Narnian ship The Dawn Treader to look for men that were exiled years ago.
The Silver Chair: A decent read, not the worse, but it could have used improvement in places. Eustace returns to Narnia, with a friend Jill, nearly 60 years after the last adventure to help Caspian find his lost son Prince Rilian.
The Last Battle: I haven't gotten to this book yet, not very far at least, so I can't give an accurate review.
Overall, it's worth buying this series, if you like Fantasy, and it's long enough to keep anyone busy for awhile.
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