This is an odd Narnia book. It’s almost completely disconnected from every other story in this series. In fact, it’s so independent that it ultimately ends up as an in-universe myth. You could skip it entirely and lose absolutely nothing.
Not that you should. Because I’m not gonna lie: this is kinda the best Narnia story.
This story stars Shasta, a young boy living in a land neighboring Narnia. One day, he meets a talking horse from Narnia, a noble animal enslaved as a youth. Together, the two flee from their bondage and begin their journey towards Narnia.
It’s refreshing to experience a story that doesn’t take place entirely within Narnia. Seeing a more traditional fantasy setting is a nice change of place. Plus, it makes Narnia seem all the more magical, as we see how mundane and kind of shitty it is everywhere else.
The characters within this story are… meh? They’re decent. But none of them are all that memorable. Shasta’s a pretty good protagonist, albeit a cliché one; oh, wow, he’s a long lost prince, who could’ve seen that coming! But the main four characters share decent chemistry, which makes this book very enjoyable to read.
Also, can we take a moment to address how Aslan is a huge asshole in this book? His masterplan is to scare children by his being a fucking lion, nearly kill a horse, maul a fucking child, then turn a dude into a donkey. It’s refreshing to see Aslan, who is normally so mystical and godly and plot-ruining (I’ll discuss that later), act like a total jackass.
And… well, that’s about all I have to say about this one. This is a pretty fun adventure. I enjoyed it a lot more than most of the other books in this series, but I wouldn’t call it especially amazing. If you need something decently fun to read in an afternoon, I’d say to give this one a chance. Otherwise, you could find a lot of better fantasy alternatives.
So… do you think that the Shasta soda brand was named after this book’s hero or am I grasping at straws?