After Shasta learnt from the mysterious stranger that he was not Arsheesh’s son, he decides to escape from the cruel land of Calormen, and with the help and persuasion of the talking horse Bree, he goes north towards Narnia where the air is sweet and freedon reigns. As they set out on their journey across the harsh desert, Shasta tries to glimpse what is aheads. It all looks so endless, wild, lonely…and free. (Goodreads Summary)
I’ve recently begun reading through the Narnia series for the first time, but this is the first book in which I had absolutely no idea what happens before I read it, which was a pleasant change. Much as I enjoyed it though, I felt that it was lacking some of the brilliance of ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ and ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ as it was set entirely in C. S. Lewis’ imaginary worlds, with no intrusion from the real world. Consequently it was lacking the lovely juxtaposing of the magic of Narnia with the practicality of England, although Lewis makes up for it with some delightfully out of place, old fashioned English phrases (my favourite being Shasta, a boy from an Arabian type culture, referring to another character as a ‘brick’; so very Famous Five). However, I get the impression that the awareness of the wider geography of the lands surrounding Narnia may serve some purpose later in the series and so this novel being set purely in and around Narnia may have a narrative purpose. Either way the story was still entertaining, I just didn’t love it as much as the first two books
The Horse and His Boy by C. S. Lewis. Published by Diamond, 1996, pp. 175. Originally published in 1954.
N.B. This is an old review written in 2010 and posted on Goodreads and LibraryThing before I started keeping track of all the books I read here at Old English Rose Reads. I’ve decided to keep copies here so that this remains a complete record of my reading since I started reviewing books for my own pleasure.