The Magician’s Nephew (1955)

The Magician’s Nephew Book Review……………………………………………………………..

The Magician’s Nephew Book Review

The Magician’s Nephew is a 1955 fantasy novel written by C. S. Lewis. It is the sixth installment in the Chronicles of Narnia series and undoubtedly the best.

This is by far my favorite of all the seven Narnia books and I will explain in-depth why I love it so much. But first let’s just say that I think this entry is very underrated as I am in the minority in my thinking here and most consider ‘The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe’ to be the absolute best when it comes to Narnia books when in reality this one is much richer in terms of storytelling and infinitely more magical. All of Narnia books are great, but this is the only one that is almost flawless.

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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.

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The Magician’s Nephew Book Review……………………………………………………………..

The story is a wonder to behold. It is the quintessential example of a highly successful prequel as it does everything a prequel should do – it connects the dots wonderfully, it perfectly explains the beginning of Narnia while still being a great stand alone story in its own right.

Let’s talk about some of the highlights. The beginning is superb and it instantly hooked me in. It introduces you to its characters in such a short time marvelously and they are really well developed. But I will talk about the characters later. I have to say that the first half of the book is so perfect on every conceivable level that the second half came as a tad bit of a disappointment. Now don’t get me wrong, it is great, but it isn’t as perfect as the first half clearly was.

I loved the world building here, I just loved the explanation that there are different worlds and the forest with the pools representing the worlds was such a beautiful and original idea and that place was probably my favorite here and that says a lot. The scenes in Charn are also excellent, so mysterious and otherworldly. This is the kind of dystopia done right.

Now the next couple of chapters in London weren’t my favorites and this is the only part of the book that is a bit flawed in my opinion. That is because it was a bit too childish in its descriptions and a bit too silly and ordinary which is quite the contrary from what came before and afterwards. But most of its childishness I still found to be pleasant and childlike instead of childish and its more comedic and lighter tone is why many find it problematic, yet that is why I found it to be the most charming of all the entries.

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The Magician’s Nephew Book Review……………………………………………………………..

Now naturally the creation of Narnia was a sight to behold. It was so wonderfully depicted and written that I clearly imagined it in my head as if I watched a movie which is a testament to how strong Lewis’s writing is here and his strongest in the whole series. I loved its Biblical metaphors and they were not too obvious, nor too vague, but done just right. But the imagery of animals coming to life and starting to speak and Aslan giving a speech was just so powerful.

I loved everything about Digory’s trial which was a terrific and clever test from Aslan and a great storytelling device. The ending is just magnificent and even emotional as it was immensely satisfying learning about the wardrobe and how it became magical. But because Lucy’s adventure was obviously mentioned here a lot, I find the chronological reading order to be foolish as the order by publication was clearly how the author intended it to be read.

Now is the perfect time to talk about the characters. Very strong character development this time around as all of them felt real and well developed. Digory is fantastic and a great main character and although I wished that Polly had a bigger role in the second half, I still really liked her and they are a great duo.

Uncle Andrew is such a memorable, if typical character and I loved how he was portrayed as a comic relief rather than full-on villain. That role belonged to Jadis and it was spectacular watching her origins and her backstory was excellent and she remained a strong villain from beginning to end. Aslan is superb as usual, but I really liked a cabby who eventually became Narnia’s first king. He is such a wonderful man and his horse Fledge was quite memorable.

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The Magician’s Nephew Book Review……………………………………………………………..

The dialogue is great and some of the lines are quite majestic. The same goes for the humor which is surprisingly strong and although present probably a bit too much, I still enjoyed that lightheartedness here. The attention to detail is even greater here than it had been before, a lot of the imagery here is simply unforgettable and the pacing is mostly excellent too. The Magician’s Nephew is thematically very rich and there is an abundance of literary inspirations for this work and Lewis had been writing it for almost five years and it shows as the work is remarkable and so polished and perfectly constructed.

In the end, The Magician’s Nephew is without any doubt the best Narnia entry thanks to great characters, solid humor, amazing story that is thematically rich and just magical, memorable imagery, many unforgettable moments and it serves as an almost perfect prequel showing us how Narnia was created in a vivid and beautiful manner. This is one enchaning book.

My Rating – 4.8

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