It is my first time ever reading C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. I’ve never fully watched any of the movies either. I have a basic knowledge of what the series is about and had some high hopes for this novel. What I hadn’t realized before picking it up, is that the novel doesn’t focus on the children from the rest of the books. Considering this book as a prequel of sorts (though it’s #1 in chronological order and #6 in publication) is probably the best way to view it.
This book takes place in the 1800s and begins with Digory meeting Polly. Digory lives with his Uncle Andrew, a magician, and his Aunt Letty, while his mom recovers from being ill. The inciting incident is when Digory and Letty enter Uncle Andrew’s room in the attic by accident and Letty becomes a guinea pig for Uncle Andrew’s experiment with magical buttons.
For what it is, I enjoyed the novel. The characters were interesting and the settings were described in a way that allowed me to really visualize them. I think I did myself a disservice reading/watching Lev Grossman’s The Magicians series because I kept thinking about the Neitherlands whenever Digory and Polly were in The Wood Between Worlds even though they only have dozens of pools/fountains in common.
This was a great introduction to Narnia as you get to see it from it’s creation. You see the creating of the Talking Beasts, the tree that protects Narnia, the origin of the wardrobe (kinda), and other elements of the series. Of course, you’re introduced to Aslan as well. Through his introduction you become aware of the gravitas of this magnificent beast. It’s a great novel for background info. If the series were published today, these would be probably be novellas a la The Assassin’s Blade, Fairest, or Dorothy Must Die Stories.
4 Stars out of 5.