69 of 76 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2000
Format: Library Binding
All of the stories in C.S. Lewis' excellent Chronicles of Narnia series are told in distinctly different ways. Prince Caspian could justifiably be said to be like an epic poem told in prose. It shares many qualities with other epics; most notably its beginning coming in the middle of the action. Prince Caspian, like other epics, contains a climactic battle. However, Prince Caspian (like all great epics) is not simply a book about battles. The great themes of Prince Caspian are those of awakenings, renewal and restoration.
As the book opens, the Pevensie children (Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy) are suddenly called back to the magical land of Narnia from a British rail station. They return to find that the land of Narnia is suffering from the oppression of the evil Telmarine King Miraz who rules with an iron fist. The king's nephew, (and son of the murdered rightful king) Caspian, has discovered the truth about Narnia and has fled the palace in fear of his life. In his flight, Caspian encounters some "old Narnians" who used to live freely before the Telmarines came to rule Narnia. Under the Telmarines, the old Narnians have been facing extermination. After initial mistrust, the old Narnians agree to stand with Caspian in an attempt to reclaim his rightful throne from his uncle and to save those that are left of the old Narnians from certain death. A struggle then ensues.
It is in the middle of this struggle that the Pevensies are called back to Narnia, where they once ruled as Kings and Queens. They encounter Caspian's loyal friend Trumpkin the dwarf. Trumpkin relates Caspian's story to them. The children agree to help Caspian. Together, the dwarf and the children set off to come to Caspian's aid.
It is on this journey that the Pevensies and Trumpkin learn the old lesson that "The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps." (Proverbs 16:9) Forced to take a different route back to Caspian's camp than the one Trumpkin took from it, the children and the dwarf become confused and lost. They strive to the utmost limits of their human strength and find that it is not enough. It is in the darkest hour of this struggle that Lucy thinks she sees something on the horizon...a Lion.
What follows is a test of Faith for all involved. Lucy, being the youngest of the children and possessing the most "child-like" faith, overcomes her doubts. She is then visited by the Great Lion Himself, Aslan (Lewis' allegorical representation of Jesus). In one of my favorite scenes in all of the Narnia books, Aslan and Lucy discuss the lack of faith shown by the others and what must be done:
"Now child," said Aslan, when they had left the trees behind them, "I will wait here. Go and wake the others and tell them to follow. If they will not, then you at least must follow me alone."
This piece of dialogue is one of the reasons why Lewis is one of my favorite authors. In the span of three sentences in a children's book, Lewis captures the essence of Christ's universal call to be His disciples. Another amazing thing about Lewis (and another reason why he's a favorite author of mine)...is that the book grows progressively more spellbinding and instructive from that point in the story on. Prince Caspian is, like many of Lewis' books, a whole education crammed into a tiny little package--all told in a warm and humorous way. I encourage you to get a copy today. Then read it. There is a lot to be learned from this book.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on December 23, 2007
PRINCE CASPIAN, the 4th book in C.S. Lewis' THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA series and the 2nd one published, continues the adventures of the Pevensie children in Narnia. The story opens with Peter, Edmund, Susan, and Lucy waiting at the train station to return to boarding school for the year where they are yanked by magic onto the shores of a strange forested island.
Time, one must remember, does not move the same way in Narnia as it does in the real world; the Pevensies could spend 100 years in Narnia and return to reality to find that no time at all has passed. It turns out that hundreds of Narnian years have passed during the year that the children have been away and the Narnian world has been thrown into chaos -- the animals no longer speak; a new line of kings govern the land with a harsh scepter; the oceans have risen and the landscapes changed; the people have forgotten the ways of the old line of kings; and the stories of the old Narnia have been forbidden to be told. Beyond that, it seems forever since the last time the great lion, King Aslan, has been seen at all, and his existence has been dismissed by most as mere silly legend.
This installment of the series pales only slightly to THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. The story of our four Narnian protagonists shows us once again that their identities in Aslan's Kingdom have nothing to do with what they do and everything to do with who(se) they are. Lucy is faced with the toughest decisions this time around, as she is asked to choose whether she will follow Aslan even if the people closest to her consider her crazy for doing so. I am struck again by the ease of C.S. Lewis' storytelling voice. While he may not deliver the most complex plots or character arcs, the tone and pacing of his language makes me wish I were a child again and could sit in front of the hearth and listen to his stories aloud.
--- Reviewed by Jonathan Stephens
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2004
In Narnia, the land between the lamp post and the Castle of Cair Paravel, animals talk. Magical things happen and adventures begin.
Four kids, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, are returning to boarding school when something stange happens. They are summoned from the dreary train station to return to the land of Narnia. Narnia is the land where they had ruled as kings and queens and where they were desperately needed.
I think that this book is a great book for all ages. If you like adventure books then you will love this book. Exciting things happen all the time and the book makes you keep guessing about what's going to happen next. I have only read 3 books by C.S. Lewis, but I know I'll be reading many more.
C.S. Lewis, the author of this book, wrote a seven book series, and Prince Of Caspian is one of the books. Everyone of his books enter you into enchanted world where anything is possible to happen. That's one of the reasons why I liked this book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2005
I will confess, first off, that while I read this book (as part of the entire series) as a child, I did not recall the story line, or any part of it. I will also confess that it did not strike me as exciting as the 1st book (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, for us.) But, while this book was not as exciting for me, it kept my 10 year old son constantly eager for "one more chapter."
In the book, when the children (from The Lion...) are whisked away to Narnia, very quickly they meet someone who begins to set the stage for the adventure they are about to have by explaining some things that have happened since they have been gone. I was quite ready to get on with the children's adventures well before the explanation was finished.
I am not saying that you did not need the background information, or that it was written in a manner that would bore a person; I'm saying that I was eager to see what would become of the children I was familiar with and who had just barely been reintroduced when the explaining begins.
I believe Lewis started on the train station to better tie in this book with the last--right away he starts with characters you've come to know and, hopefully, love--but that is where he traps himself. Having started you off on their story, he breaks for half the book to tell you another boy's story.
(My daughter just told me now that Lewis used the train platform to set up a theme of being drawn in--and that Lewis always felt that you saw things only from the "magician's perspective," and not from the perspective of those whom the magic was done on or to.)
At any rate, by the time the explaining is done, you are not only eager to be on with the adventure to find out what happens to our four famous heroes, but also because you want to know how the new boy makes out. (Only, now, you will have to wait a while to find out what happens to him. This reminds me of The Two Towers--how you have to wait half the book to find out what happens to Frodo and Sam and then read the other half about them while left hanging about the rest of the party--and I wonder what it is about second books in a fantasy series.)
What I loved most about this book was what transpired when Lucy first thinks she sees Aslan. From there until the children are reunited with him, there is something in the way the children interact with each other, and in the way they behave, which shows that these characters are growing and changing through their experience, and it adds depth to some of them and a realness to others. I found myself even more interested in their well being after this section of the book.
Lastly, we get to find out what happens to the other boy while finishing the tale of our four heroes. There is battle, the odds are not good, and everyone must play their part if good is to conquer evil again in Narnia.
My son really enjoyed the fighting part, as most boys his age do, and he would always beg for one more chapter when we were done readying. If I said no, being forbidden to read ahead, he would pick up the book and read through the chapter titles and stare at the picture and review the story in his head (up to where we were) and try to imagine what comes next.
And there you have it. While I did not like it as much as the first (The Lion...) book, I did enjoy a certain part a great deal. Meanwhile, the intended audience, my ten year old son, was "spell-bound," so I have chosen to give the book 5 stars. Perhaps it is only a 4 1/2, but I cannot go as low as 4 stars, so 5 stars it is.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2001
"The Return to Narnia!" Those who have read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" (Book 1 in the original ordering) know that those four words can invoke a rousing and passionate symphony that only those who believe in Narnia can hear. It is somewhat disconcerting, therefore, when the story opens with a rather clumsy squeak. The four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, find themselves unceremoniously _yanked_ back to Narnia after one Earth year and many Narnian centuries of being away. There is no party to welcome them, only apples growing wild to feed them, and only the ruins of a castle to shelter them.
As the children have been gone for so long, some backtracking is necessary before their heroic adventures can begin. As he did in all the books in "The Chronicles of Narnia", C.S. Lewis gives us a bit of Narnian history that puts the present events in perspective and is genuinely fun to read. This History lesson begins with the Telmarine invasion after the Golden Age of Narnia and ends with the battle between Prince Caspian and his evil uncle Miraz. It's a lesson so absorbing and believable that it makes Narnia seem more real than, say, Bavaria. The political intrigue sprinkled throughout the book is a fine bonus.
What I liked most about "Prince Caspian" was the chance to see the two Kings and two Queens of Cair Paravel in action. Their adventures and their characters were given very little space or elaboration at the end of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe"; so I was glad to be able to really see them as their royal Narnian selves. (Now that I've read further, I can say that "The Horse and His Boy" is even better for this purpose. After reading "Prince Caspian", I discovered why King Peter was dubbed Magnificent; and after reading "The Horse and His Boy", I learned why Queen Susan was called Gentle; King Edmund, Just; and Queen Lucy, Valiant.)
And what would Narnia be without Aslan? (I LOVE THIS LION!) In "Prince Caspian", the major lesson that he imparts is that we must have faith and follow him, even when we may appear foolish to others. If we keep insisting that we can find the way by ourselves, then we only get lost. There are other morals throughout the book, most of them woven into the story, such as King Peter's courage in challenging Miraz to a "clean wager of battle" (read: one-on-one combat), "to prevent the effusion of blood" (read: the blood of his innocent subjects). Lewis can moralize better than any other children's writer I know.
"Prince Caspian" is not to blame for being the second book in the series--therefore, the sequel that can't help but be slightly disappointing. Though I gave it four stars for the bumpy linkages in the plot, child readers will, if asked, say it deserves five.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 22, 1999
This is the second volume published in the allegorical Chronicles of Narnia series (and, in my opinion, the second to be read even though it is not the second in the internal time sequence in the series). The four children return to Narnia a year later to discover that centuries have passed in Narnia. The talking animals are in hiding and an evil king has usurped the throne. The children aid the young Prince Caspian to obtain the throne and lead the talking animals back to their proper place: once more, a battle between good and evil.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2003
Prince Caspian is the second book, in order of their release, in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia once again, but only to find it a sad and corrupted land. The human king of the Telmarine men, Miraz, has taken over this magical land where men don't belong, and what was once great, is now almost lost. There is one man, or boy rather, who can see the wrongs that have been done to this land by his uncle. This boy, Prince Caspian, longs for the days of Old Narnia, when talking beasts and other creatures roamed the land, and is determined to bring them back. He flees from the castle to find the last of the Old Narnians hiding somewhere in the forest. He eventually gains their trust and plans to lead them in a rebellion against the Telmarines. The forces are ready, but can they do it? Will They succeed?
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend this book and all of the Chronicles of Narnia to any others who enjoy action/adventure books with a bit of magic mixed in. Prince Caspian was a wonderful addition to the Chronicles of Narnia, and it was very exciting, well written, and easily read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Continuing through the Chronicles of Narnia, "Prince Caspian" is the fourth novel chronologically, and the second published. Because of the order in which the books were written, this book takes up where "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" left off, with the four Pevensies being called back to Narnia by magic, one year later in their time, but eons later in Narnian time.
In the blink of an eye, the children are transported from a train platform, (not Platform 9 ¾), into the forests of Narnia, soon discovering the ruins of Cair Paravel, where they once ruled as Kings and Queens. After eating enough apples to keep the doctor away for a very long time, they rescue a Dwarf from certain peril, and begin another fascinating adventure together.
The present King Miraz is doing his best to stifle the stories of old Narnia, where animals talk, and Naiads and Dryads and Dwarfs and Fauns were a part of daily life, and becomes highly upset when he discovers that his nephew Caspian has been drinking up the folklore, thanks to his devoted nurse, who of course gets the boot shortly after that. Unbeknownst to Miraz, the new tutor is also a closet Narnia believer, who begins his "Introduction to Narnia 101" and helps Caspian to escape impending doom.
Learning that his usurping Uncle Miraz is up to no good, Caspian flees for his life, where by good fortune he is saved by some of the same Narnian creatures he has been dying to encounter. Having established his right to the throne of Narnia, King Caspian begins his first great adventure by getting acquainted with talking animals, dwarfs and other Narnians. Inspired by the great Centaur Glenstorm, a council of war is quickly organized, to make plans for an overthrow of the present government.
Unfortunately, before he can warm up to the job, his runaway horse inadvertently gives the game away, and rather too soon, war breaks out. With the magical mound known as Aslan's How as their command center, in the midst of the mysterious woods, the battle does not go well, due to inexperience.
Playing his last hole card, King Caspian blows the magical horn, and sure enough, without a moment to spare, help arrives via the Pevensies, former Kings and Queens of Narnia, "located" by Trumpkin, the rescued dwarf. Getting there however, was almost another adventure altogether, with boys who don't ask for directions, and don't listen to good advice. With the appearance of Aslan, and their faith duly restored, they reach their destination late but safely.
The boys are tasked with straightening things out, and issue a challenge to Miraz, to duel for the right to rule. Circumstances then lead to a great and glorious battle, while the girls team up with Aslan to do some back-up work, right some wrongs, and perform a miracle or two. (This part happens very quickly, as if the author was trying to push in as much magic as possible in the closing pages.)
Another exciting episode in the Chronicles of Narnia, but there's more to come.
Amanda Richards, September 2, 2004
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on May 21, 2003
In this installment of the Chronicles of Narnia, the children go back to the land a year after their first visit. They are surprised to find that, although only a year has passed on Earth, many hundreds of years have passed in Narnia, and almost everything is different. Most of the magic is gone out of the land--the talking animals, moving trees, dwarves, and other creatures are little more than memories now, and the land is ruled and dominated by a race of men. The men, incidentally, are skeptical in nature, and do all they can to oppress magic and the true history of Narnia.
The symbolism in this book is very vivid, and Lewis uses the plot very well to show the situation of much of modern society. The race of men (led by Caspian's uncle) refuse to believe in magic, and also don't believe in Aslan. Aslan is a Christ figure, so this unbelief in him is symbolic of twentieth-century skepticism. Many people today do not believe in miracles or anything that cannot be scientifically `proven,' and a similar situation exists in Narnia, where men here the old stories of magic but many do not believe them. In an allegorical sense, then, this novel shows us the folly of skepticism, and the absurdity of believing in a world in which nothing wonderful can occur.
Like the rest of the Chronicles of Narnia, this book is a delightful children's story. But there is a deep theology at work here, and this is one of the qualities which makes it appealing to adults. I highly recommend this book, along with the rest of the Chronicles, to anyone interested either in fairy tales or in Christian allegory or theology.