The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

9 08 2012

Okay, what’s the deal with the whiners?  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third book in the Narnia series that I’ve read this year, and it’s the third book to feature an intolerable little brat as one of the main characters.

In the first book, Edmund (the younger brother) is a whiny, obnoxious thing that betrays his siblings for some candy.  Halfway through the story he repents and becomes nice.  In the second book, Prince Caspian, the oldest sister, Susan – who was rational and normal in the first story – is so bossy that you wish she’d pop out of the page long enough for you to smack her a little.

Now, in the third book, the cousin of the four siblings, Eustace Stubb, is the whiniest, brattiest character ever.  Of course, these sorts of characters are part of what makes the books so good.  C.S. Lewis had trouble getting you to really care about his protagonists (in the first book, Susan, Lucy, and Peter have zero personality, and in book two, Prince Caspian, Peter, Edmund, and Lucy are non-characters), but he really gets you to like/dislike some of the other people in the book.

Eustace is a great character.  You want to smack him.  You want him to fall off the boat.  You want a sea monster to eat him.  Reepicheep, a two foot tall talking mouse, is one of may favorite characters in the series so far – he’s hilarious, and you root for him to feed Eustace to the sea monster.

This time around, the younger siblings (Edmund and Lucy, along with cousin Eustace) are sucked into a painting of a Narnian ship in Eustace’s house.  They find themselves on a sea voyage with Prince Caspian, who Lucy and Edmund met in book two.  Caspian’s father was murdered by his uncle, so the uncle could take the Narnian throne.  When he did this, the older Caspian’s chief counselors left Narnia.

Now that the throne is back in the right hands, Caspian has enlisted a crew and set out to find his father’s trusted men.  The book almost reads like a series of short stories, each one a different adventure Caspian and the children undergo during their quest.  The variety, as well as the fun characters, make it a much better story than the first two books.

So far, the Narnia stories are no where near as good as Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, or Percy Jackson, but they are fun, quick stories that are worth reading.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader puts me at 52 books so far this summer as I try to finish 90 books in 90 days.  

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