Back through the wardrobe we go, boys and girls! It’s time for another Narnia story!
Out of all the main-line Narnia stories (which is pretty much all of them except for ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ and ‘The Horse and His Boy’), this one is probably the best. It introduces some strong new characters and the plot is pretty exciting! Unfortunately, the ending is pretty lackluster and the villains aren’t all that effective. Still, it’s an enjoyable enough read.
While waiting for the train to take them to school, our old friends Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie are all once again sucked into the land of Narnia! But things have taken a turn for the worse! While only one year has passed in London, over a thousand have passed in Narnia! Now, the once prosperous and magical land is gone, ruled by humans that seek to snuff out all traces of it. However, one human, the young Prince Caspian, seeks to reclaim the throne that had been stolen from him and restore Narnia to its former glory! Can he, along with our four heroes, restore the land to what it was in its golden age?
This book suffers from an issue I have with all the Narnia series: the Aslan problem. The human characters spend a good chunk of the story struggling to actually save the day. Then Aslan shows up and does all the work for them. It makes you wonder why the human characters are even there in the first place.
Oh well. I guess the ham fisted God metaphor can’t ever lose.
Before that happens, however, this book is really enjoyable! Seeing how Narnia has changed over the centuries was interesting; I love fantasy settings where the magic of the world has all but disappeared. And Caspian himself makes for a pretty good protagonist! A noble prince thrown out of his home, struggling to reclaim his throne and bring back the old magic of the world that his ancestors drove away is a simple but wonderfully effective character! Shame he gets shoved aside for the old four!
Also, what’s the deal with those two random evil dudes who wanted to bring back the White Witch? Is that foreshadowing for a future Narnia book? An odd callback to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe? Or is it a complete dead end? Whichever it is, it feels oddly out of place for this particular story.
All in all, this is a decently fun fantasy story. It gets off to a really strong start but loses momentum quickly as the plot goes on. Luckily, just as with all the others, it’s nice and short, so you can finish it in an afternoon or two.