“Wouldn't it be dreadful if some day in our own world, at home, men start going wild inside, like the animals here, and still look like men, so that you'd never know which were which.”
I wasn't sure if I'd like this one as much as Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe before I picked it up. The first story was original, refreshing, and had become the most legendary out of all of them. I had no idea of the plot for other books or movies.
I was pleasantly surprised to like it just as much. It did not have all the introductory magic of the first where they discovered all for the first time. Instead, they rediscover a fallen world and help again rebuild what had once been glorious and has now been undone. High emphasis is again placed on the children - Lucy, Peter, Susan and Edmund - but entering is a new great, Prince Caspian.
I missed the older animals from the first book but since so much time has passed, it must be assumed they have died natural deaths. The new animals are a treat to behold, too - I really loved the little mouse army and hope to see more of them.
Aslan was as awesome as ever and the Christianity tie in made more clear than before. The teacher they approached in the tiny schoolhouse, for example. It was said from the start the little boys she taught were piglike. It was repeated. When they looked through the window to see what the teacher stared at, they screamed and ran away in fright like pigs. I'm sure this brings to mind to people a famous section of the bible? In addition, when Aslan goes to heal a dying woman, she looks into his face and is radiant, asking if he was finally there for her, and in which he replies that he is not there to take her on her "long journey" yet.
There is a difference in Susan. In the first book she was called Queen Susan the Gentle and always seemed peaceful. Here she comes across for the better part of the beginning as the difficult child. It's not an aspect I picked up the first book. It is even stated that Lucy is Peters favorite sister, when before I would have assumed the two oldest would have been the closest to each other.
Their villain this time isn't as powerfully exciting as the White Witch - still, it is more focused on bonding together and defeating the way the world has been overturned as a team. I found it curious how only Lucy could Aslan at first and then slowly others were able to believe enough again over time. The sword fight was the more intense part of the battle for this one - and much emphasis was placed in the book on Peter being the great, respected High King.
Because a section of this one went back in time for a big for an explanation (maybe three chapters), and some of it was through introduction and changes regarding that, the pacing may be a smidge slower than the first. It didn't lose my interest, staying fascinating with the children, the newcomers, and the experiences.
We also get to see how the horn has come into play with its importance. Nifty. I do have to wonder what Edmund's presents would have been if he hadn't went down the wrong path in the first book and if they held a story of their own too.
The ending was happy and glorious with some hints on how the world came to change and that there are at least two long stories Aslan did not explain yet. There was also a sad note as Peter announced something Aslan revealed to him and Susan in confidence (Won't spoil this if you haven't read the book.)
Truly a great sequel to the original and a promising lead into the rest of the series.
“But all night, Aslan and the Moon gazed upon each other with joyful and unblinking eyes.”
“The whole journey was odd and dream-like -- the roaring stream, the wet grey grass, the glimmering cliffs which they were approaching, and always the glorious, silently pacing beast ahead.”
Special Week Feature:
I did a special weeks feature for the Chronicles of Narnia series back in 2012. Here is link to the full feature listing, along with other special weeks done.
Posts from that feature for this book:
Cover Comparison: Prince Caspian
I did a Reader's Autopsy post - The Bizarre Order That is the Chronicles of Narnia...
Book to Film Comparison: