Book Review: The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis {rewrite}

17 August 2011

Welcome, one and all, to the first of many rewritten book reviews! I decided I might as well start with one of my favorite collection of books of all time: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. To quote Shakespeare in his epic play, Henry V, "Shall we about it?"

The Magicians Nephew (Book 1 in TCoN series)
By C.S. Lewis
*Summary taken from the back of the book

NARNIA... where the woods are thick and cool, where Talking Beasts are called to life... a new world where the adventure begins.

Digory and Polly meet and become friends one cold, wet summer in London. Their lives burst into adventure when Digory's Uncle Andrew, who thinks he's a magician, sends them hurtling to... somewhere else. They find their way to Narnia, newborn from the Lion's song, and encounter the evil sorceress Jadis before they finally return home.

My Thoughts: Anyone who knows me well can tell you how much I love when I am given the history behind characters. This book is well beloved by me because it helps me connect the dots from the rest of the books in the series, mainly The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. You learn why the wardrobe in  the second book has the power to carry the Pevensies to Narnia; you learn why the Professor does not seem startled by Lucy's "make-believe." It gives reason behind every happening, of which I am particularly fond. I also found it beautiful how Aslan sang Narnia into existence. What a beautiful representation of our Lord's creation! Before Aslan's song has begun, there is darkness--nothingness. The place in which Digory, Polly, and several other characters find themselves is devoid of almost anything... except the Lion. And as he makes Narnia and brings light into the empty spaces, Polly and Digory are filled with this beautiful, delicious feeling. "And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness." ~Genesis 1:3-4~

Pros: This book is a wonderful allegory of Creation. C.S. Lewis is a brilliant author, and he has a wonderful way with words. Children adore the characters and story, while adults can find hints and allegories relating to the Gospel threaded into the tale. And as for reading the books in order, I can honestly say that 'tis up to the reader. I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe first (a month before the popular film came out, Daddy read a chapter aloud each night before we went to bed). Then I read Prince Caspian, since it also dealt with the Pevensies and it made more SENSE that way. Then I read The Magician's Nephew, then finished books #3, #5, #6, and #7. I loved read TMN after I had read books #2 and #4 because I had that delightful moment of, "Oh, I see...!" However, if you were to read the books in the order they are normally sold nowadays, you would probably understand TLtWaTW better... but you'd miss the wonderful thrill of realization. It's your choice. 

Cons: Digory's Uncle Andrew practices "magic." Although he pretends to be a magician and causes more harm than good with his magic rings, he is really a very silly and foolish old man and doesn't know as much about magic as he thinks. He also has a perpetuity to drink alcohol and swear at times. The witch Jadis is very evil and behaves in a despicable way; however, her behavior is frowned upon and thought to be very wrong by everyone but Uncle Andrew. Aunt Letty refers to Jadis as a "shameless hussy."

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for ages 10+ due to some violence and swearing (not much, just something for which to look out).

A Bit O' Reading For the Day:
"...I cannot tell that to [Uncle Andrew], and I cannot comfort him either; he has made himself unable to hear my voice. If I spoke to him, he would hear only growlings and roarings. Oh Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!" ~The Magician's Nephew, chapter 14

1 epistles:

  1. --I wrote this comment and then it was all deleted! Here's all I remember of what I originally typed--

    Wonderful review, Lizzy! I too love the Narnia series and, like you said, The magician's nephew sheds a lot of light on things in the other books. Which is interesting since it was written after the first four.

    I love the quote you posted. TMN is great in that is has the deep insightful bits and also the hysterical parts such as when the talking animals think Uncle Andrew is an animal and build a cage for him. Too funny! :)

    Love ya!


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