The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: The Magician’s Nephew

Author: C. S. Lewis

Published: 1995

Number of Pages: 202

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

The adventure begins

Narnia … where Talking Beasts walk … where a witch waits … where a new world is about to be born.

On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible …

When Digory and Polly try to return the wicked witch Jadis to her own world, the magic gets mixed up and they all land in Narnia where they witness Aslan blessing the animals with human speech.

Quote:

What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.

Review:

Well, apparently, this summer has been quite busier than I previously expected. I apologize sincerely for the month-long gap. In that time, I have read The Fellowship of the Ring (the first of the Lord of the Rings series), The Magician’s Nephew (the first of the Chronicles of Narnia), and have gotten mid-way through Two Towers (book two of the LOTR). Ideally, I will have reviews for them all posted by the end of the summer.

And without further ado…

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis, as I said before, is the first of the Chronicles of Narnia. I read about half of them years ago, but remember very little of them. How I managed to forget Lewis’s incredible symbolism, cleverness, and humor is beyond me. Upon rereading this book, I’ve become eager to read the rest.

Many people are familiar with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. It’s certainly one of the most beloved Lewis novels. However, this book proves that Lewis’s brilliance is present in his other novels as well – perhaps even to a greater degree. Reading this book now, older and prepared to truly appreciate it, I marveled at the work Lewis did to tell this story.

Undoubtedly, my Christian upbringing enriched The Magician’s Nephew. Every chapter held something that I could relate to something scriptural. I loved this. Not only because it was fascinating to see how Lewis managed it, but because I felt I was reading something worthwhile and beneficial. However, you need not have a similar background in order too apprciate the story and characters themselves.

The characters, Digory and Polly, are quintessential little children from the time period. Their behaviors are always in character, yet Lewis accounts for natural diversions from the expected. Both of the children made decisions throughout the book that demonstrated their increasing development. I could not help but be glad that, though cute and fun, both kids were deliciously human. Similarly, the “magician,” Digory’s uncle, is very human… in a less positive way. His greediness and shallow character made him very fun to dislike.

And then there’s Aslan. What can a person say about Aslan that is not entirely positive? His wisdom and empathy are admirable and beautiful. Who would have thought a giant cat could be so wonderful?

If you’re not the type to be intrigued by symbolism and character, there’s most certainly something here for you. The worlds themselves are confusing in an intriguing way, and there’s a perfectly fabulous villain to spice things up. Jadis and her interactions with other people are hilarious and terrifying at the same time. As a reader, I certainly knew what was at stake and who I would cheer for.

This book builds the world that Lewis and his characters continue to explore in later novels. The birth of Narnia is breathtaking, particularly when written in Lewis’s style – beautifully detailed in a uniquely witty way (and with many parentheses).

Ultimately, any lover of fantasy, AND/OR symbolism, AND/OR adventure, AND/OR character, AND/OR Narnia itself is bound to appreciate some aspect of this unique story. I can honestly say I have never read anything quite like it. Because of its depth and the many ways one could interpret parts of it, I recommend this book as a book club book. Because of its entertaining qualities and enjoyable lessons, I recommend this book as a book to read your children. Because of its myriad enriching qualities, I recommend it to everyone.

2 Commentsto “The Magician’s Nephew by C. S. Lewis; Review”

  1. I love The Chronicles of Narnia— I mean, who doesn't? They are definitely geared toward children since the stories are fairly simple, but there is the underlying religious symbolism which gives the books a lot of depth. I am not quite sure what my favorite is but I really enjoy "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" and "The Last Battle". I do love all of them though. Good review!

    • I can't believe I didn't reply to this 49 WEEKS AGO! I must have been really distracted. 🙂 Thanks for the reply, and, yes, the symbolism is one of the greatest parts of the book. It's particularly evident in this one. 🙂

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