Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
223 pages

The third entry in The Chronicles of Narnia is an absolute delight and my favorite of the first three in the series. In this book Peter and Susan are left behind--Aslan told them they were too old to come back to Narnia in Prince Caspian--while Edmund and Lucy go on a dangerous trip to the end of the world with their annoying cousin Eustace Clarence Scrubb.

The book opens with Edmund and Lucy staying at their Aunt Alberta and Uncle Harold's house for the summer because their parents and Susan went to America for a job opportunity while Peter stayed with Professor Kirke from The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. In the first chapter Edmund and Lucy are talking about Narnia in the guest bedroom when Eustace comes in to make fun of them. He heard the siblings talking of Narnia and thought they were "playing a game."

Suddenly the three of them end up going inside a curious painting on the wall with a queer ship at sea. They end up having to swim for their lives. Luckily it is King Caspian's ship and he helps them get on board. Caspian explains to them that he is on a journey to find the seven noble lords his Uncle Miraz sent away when he stole the throne. They are Lord Rhoop, Lord Bern, Lord Octesian, Lord Restimar, Lord Revilian, Lord Mavramorn, and Lord Argoz. There is also a plan to reach the end of the world if possible where brave mouse Reepicheep believes Aslan's country is located.

They found Lord Bern alive and well on their first stop, he actually bought Caspian from slave traders because he knew Caspian's father. Caspian appointed Bern the Duke of the Lone Islands after seeing how corrupt to governor was who allowed the slave trading. The next part of the journey is interesting because of Eustace's foul attitude. He wrote journal entries where he was convinced Caspian and his cousins were rotten and he was a victim of illegal actions. His character remains annoying and insulting until he turns into a dragon on an island where they discover Lord Octesian's crest. Octesian is presumed dead, either eaten by a dragon or turned into one and passed away in that form. When Eustace turns into a dragon after intentionally leaving his crew behind to get some solitude, he feels lonely for the first time in his life and his perspective changes.

After showing the passengers of the Dawn Treader that he is Eustace in dragon form he enjoyed their company. He turned back to a human in a dream like sequence where Aslan shed his dragon exterior. Afterwards Eustace was no longer an extreme nuisance. They moved onward and found Lord Restimar turned into solid gold on Deathwater Island in a magic body of water that turns everything to gold. They landed on an island where they were threatened to be killed by invisible creatures called Dufflepuds whom were under the spell of a powerful magician. Lucy had to read a spell to make them visible again.

There was a deadly sea serpent attack and a place called Dark Island where they found a nearly insane Lord Rhoop. Dark Island is a place where all your dreams come true, meaning your worst nightmares will come alive and terrorize you. After rescuing Lord Rhoop they discover that Lords Mavramorn, Argoz, and Revilian are on a retired star named Ramandu's island, but they are in an enchanted sleep. The only way for them to wake up is for Caspian's crew to go to the end of the world and for a person to go there and never come back. Reepicheep volunteers. They have a pleasant, non-dramatic voyage to the end of the world where they reach Aslan's country.

Aslan tells Caspian he is to return to Narnia and that Edmund, Lucy, Eustace and Reepicheep are to stay behind. Reepicheep sails off to Aslan's country and is never seen or heard from again, while the children go back to the guest bedroom in England. It is a bittersweet ending because Aslan tells Edmund and Lucy they're too old to come back to Narnia. But he promises they'll see him again one day. Eustace is changed for the better from then on. Caspian gets closure on his evil Uncle Miraz's reign after the return voyage with the surviving lords. He marries the retired star's daughter they met on Ramandu's island and rule Narnia for generations.

The story was very pleasant and I loved the imagery and the adventure. My favorite of all is Reepicheep. He is the bravest character I've ever read about in any book, which makes him one of my favorite ever. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a great, quick read that is good for children and imaginative adults.

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