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The Chronicles of Narnia Boxed Set Paperback – Box set, March 5, 2002
"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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It was described as being "Used - Good", but it arrived in excellent condition (no noticeable tears on the book itself with only slight page wear). This version came with a book jacket which is identical to the hard cover itself, so I threw away the jacket which was well worn. Also, the book description says "text only", which is strange, because this copy has tons of the original illustrations in full-color (I'll try to post pictures soon).
I feel like I hit the jackpot with this purchase and I highly encourage everyone to get this copy ASAP, because I've noticed the price of the "all-in-one" books skyrocketing lately (Barnes and Noble used to have a "leather"-bound copy for $20 three years ago which is $100 now). I sure hope these books don't go out of print, but if they do, you'll be glad you purchased this particular version, because it'll be passed down the family.
The art on the outter box is beautiful on all sides, with a little read up at the top. For paperbacks, I believe this is the way to go! Highly recommended!
But, with that out of the way, these books are some of the most delightful and thought-provoking stories you will ever encounter. I fell in love with them as a child, and still consider them among my favorite works of fiction—now I get to introduce a new generation of young readers to them, who I hope will enjoy them as much as I did at their age! C.S. Lewis is truly a master storyteller who incorporates important observations of human nature and lessons of morality and faith into a world of magic and endless possibilities.
I love that Digory wants so badly to use the apples for his mother and that the witch says the excuses we think ourselves. Here's a paraphrased conversation between him and the witch.
Witch: "Use the apple to make your mother well."
"Oh!" Digory put his hand to his head. For he now knew that the most terrible choice lay before him.
"Cruel, pitiless boy! You would let your own Mother die!"
"But I promised!"
"But you didn't know what you were promising."
"Mother would tell me not to, if she were here."
"She need never know."
Writer thoughts: CS Lewis knows how to write about the hearts of people. I haven't found another author better at writing about what really goes on inside the depths of humans' souls. Orson Scott Card reveals candid glimpses, but it's nothing as consistent as Lewis. What makes me say Lewis does this so well?
Think about Terry Pratchett's explanation of second thoughts (and third thoughts and fourth thoughts). He shows a little of what humans are thinking behind the first layer of thinking. CS Lewis discusses these innermost thoughts quite casually, throwing them in his prose for all readers to consider.
If you saw your enemy drowning, your first layer of thoughts might be, "Somebody help him!" Everyone really is a decent human being on the surface. The next layer might be, "I should help him," but is your compunction here strong enough to overcome the third thoughts ("He deserves to drown") and your fourth thoughts ("I'd probably drown and cause more harm than good") or does your enemy drown? Perhaps there are fifth and sixth thoughts helping you decide what to do in that moment, too.
The thing is, many authors focus on the first layer of thoughts (if they breach inner dialogue at all). Other authors let readers glimpse second and third thoughts. Very good authors make the readers aware of fourth thoughts, even if they don't always state them. CS Lewis consistently lays bare all layers of thoughts/motivations/feelings/impulses/instincts that his characters have at complicated moments.
That's the key, though. He picks just the right moments, when his characters are in full moral dilemma, to show readers how conflicted the characters are.
I have read the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe before and this really does explain every part of that, from how the white witch started to how there was another world to who the professor was other than just "professor" and even how the wardrobe got there and became a portal practically.
Not to mention the warning here from Aslan made sense, with the whole world war 2 setting the lion, the witch, and the wardrobe has.
I feel like this should be a big formal review for a book like this, but I can't do that.
But I do know if you're 8 or younger, you won't really get Narnia, so you might as well leave it alone. I had to read Narnia when I was about 8. And not only was I bored, but I had no idea what was going on.
But reading Narnia now, a few years later, and I can't put it down.
So it's great unless you're a smallish child.