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on January 11, 2015
This is my favorite story from the Narnia series-it tells of a boy in difficult circumstances who sets out on an adventure in order to change his fate. Along the way his eyes are gradually opened to his true purpose in life. The magical creatures of Narnia, as cool as they are, are just a back drop to this tale of self discovery. C.S. Lewis writes with humor and efficiency and keeps the story moving. Sometimes I wish he'd linger a bit more at certain scenes. But hey, keep 'em wanting more-that's a good thing for a storyteller.
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on November 7, 2015
Childrens' story, The Chronicles of Narnia. I first read them before I became a Christian in the summer of 1974, And I have read them to my children as well as pondered the stories myself. As recently as today I thought about a scene from The Magicians Nephew (the first book of the series) in where the bell hung in the world Jadis had devastated. The Horse and His Boy is a stand alone story in the world that Narnia is part of and as such can be read without the others.
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on December 12, 2011
My son is 8 years old and an avid reader. We read this book together. We both found it most delightful.
Although I did not find the climax of the story nearly as powerful as any of the Harry Potter books, the vocabulary is less deep, making this book excellent for the beginning reader.
The religeous theme is very under stated making this book (and any in the Narnia series so far) suitable for all.
A great thumbs up for CS Lewis!
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on July 6, 2016
Youngest's first Narnia read. He loved it just as I did.
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on February 20, 2017
CS Lewis is gold.
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on January 7, 2015
great book
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on August 3, 2014
Shasta, about to be sold into slavery, suddenly comes upon an amazing discovery, a horse that can talk. The horse, Bree, was stolen from Narnia and forced to be a slave, a war horse. The two decide to make a run for freedom together. Separately, they would both stand out and likely be caught. Together, they could blend in and hopefully make it to Narnia and the free north. Along the way, they run into another unlikely pair, Aravis and Hwin, who are also both fleeing to Narnia. Aravis, a Tarkheena of Calormen, has been promised to be married to Ahoshta, a disagreeable Grand Vizier to the Tisroc. Whin, also a talking horse like Bree, was stolen from her home in Narnia and enslaved in Calormen. As they make the perilous journey to Narnia, they must travel through the heart of the enemy in Tashbaan. Once in Tashbaan, they stumble upon Prince Rabadash's plan to storm Narnia and make Queen Susan his wife, whether she likes it or not.

I've only read three of the Narnia books thus far, but this was the slowest to get through. I found I wasn't as interested in most of the characters and kept wishing the book would hurry up and get to Narnia so I could be wowed. This had none of the magical enchanting quality that I enjoyed with The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe or that I loved in The Magician's Nephew. Still an ok story, but so far my least favorite of the series.

A good quote:
"He had not yet learned that if you do one good deed your reward usually is to be set to do another and harder and better one."
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on February 4, 2011
The Horse and His Boy (1954) is a children's fantasy novel, the fifth in C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Here, an adopted lower-class boy, a young, independent girl, and two Narnian talking horses attempt to flee from Calormen into Narnia; on the way, they get caught up in international political intrigue.

While Lewis wrote this book fifth, it takes place during the original reign of the Pevensies during the last chapter of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. The only reason for this chronological decision is so that Lewis can bring the Pevensies back in supporting roles, which he does (plus Mr. Tumnus). And it is nice to see them as adults, more mature but still distinctly the same characters.

I trust it will not be too great an affront to Lewis to say that this story reads like The Prince and the Pauper by way of Arabian Nights. Not that there's anything wrong with the story; it's well-told, but it doesn't feel particularly imaginative, and that's what separates the good Narnia stories from the great ones. The Horse and His Boy feels too much like Lewis took a number of trusty old story elements and gave them the Narnia treatment.

This is the only book in the series where children from Earth are not prominent characters (there's not much time spent in Narnia, either), and that alone gives The Horse and His Boy a different feel from the rest. But this isn't Lewis's best set of characters. Shasta is decent enough, but I feel like we've seen him before, in Twain and elsewhere. While the horses have their own personalities, they don't add much to the story. A highlight is Aravis (another character we've seen before), in whom Lewis has the strongest female character in the series. (Aslan, as usual, steals most of his scenes.)

Lewis offers lessons to be learned, of course. The most obvious theme is pride: the Calormenes are a prideful people in general, and several of the book's prominent characters have to learn to practice humility. Another is divine providence, which, thanks to Aslan, is present in all the books in a general way, but here is much more pronounced, culminating in Aslan explaining to Shasta how he has been present and involved at every key moment of the boy's life.

Some critics have pointed to The Horse and His Boy (as well as to The Last Battle) and cried "racism." In a book where most of the people who are good and right are light-skinned and the warmongering villains are dark-skinned, that's understandable, but, I think, taking it too far. Certainly Lewis has populated his other Narnia books with light-skinned enemies, and, while he has done Calormen in the style of the medieval Arab world and set this culture up as a rival to Narnia, there is nothing egregiously antagonistic on Lewis's part here, particularly since he portrays Aravis so sympathetically.

In short, while not Lewis's best, The Horse and His Boy is another quality adventure.
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