“I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.”
I'm not sure if it was the change for the type of story, or else because the others who were familiar were gone, but I couldn't get into this one as well. It was the longest of the first four books also, so the scenes were dragged on a bit more.
Honestly there wasn't enough happening to have it over 200 pages. The story itself was good but I think being shortened could have improved on it, especially during their travels and grumbling about it. I did like the story of the signs, giants, and the battle with the witch. I'm surprised to find there are more types of White witches as I thought they were all dead - apparently some survived or else it was a plot point that was needed to continue the line of villainy.
The very end was depressing, then turned joyous again. Maybe depressing isn't the best word, but this one just feels darker and less optimistic, less youthful, and less potentially joyful as the others were. It almost feels like this was a filler book of sorts, even though the main story is important as it explains a big event in Narnia on the kingdom. In fact, the two kids were anxious to go home when confronted with the sadness of realities.
C.S. Lewis does have a knack at keeping story lines individualized, intriguing, and artfully different in each adventure. All the goals are important and can be catastrophic if not completed.
The central theme for this one is self-discipline, to follow instructions and to keep our eyes on the ball to succeed. How this rarely is what we do, and even if you fall, fall, and fall again, there can from that arise redemption and things can have a way of still working out in the end.
I like Eustace but Jill wasn't someone you latch on to easily and the book was told her POV. She wasn't that bright either and could irritate. I wonder why Eustace wasn't used as the central since he had the adventures in the last book and was an important character. Aslan was the same as always, his scenes being scarce but important when there. He was less present than in the previous three. Puddlegum was an okay companion but he didn't match up to the previous travelers. I thought it was cute about his gloom- and -doom personality, but he didn't hold a candle to Reepicheep, the Beavers, Caspian and others.
I think what makes Chronicles sad is that the books show a big sense of time. Time can be depressing. You see someone young, jubilant, and filled with energy and hope in one book, and in the next they have become old and on their death bed, hard of hearing, and different. So many changes. Change is inevitable but rarely in a series are you confronted with the harshness of the its realities. With Chronicles series there are always hefty changes occurring from one book, one world, to the next.
“Even in this world of course it is the stupidest children who are most childish and the stupidest grown-ups who are most grown-up.”
“When once a man is launched on such an adventure as this, he must bid farewell to hopes and fears, otherwise death or deliverance will both come too late to save his honor and his reason. Ho, my beauties!”
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: Silver Chair
I did a Reader's Autopsy post - The Bizarre Order That is the Chronicles of Narnia...