CBR Bingo: YOUTHS!
I missed posting last night but am determined to knock just a few more reviews out before the week is over! All of the below qualify for the “Youth” category of CBR Bingo which makes them pretty easy to lump together for tonight’s lightening round of catching up on Cannonball! !!
The Secret History of Us, Jessi Kirby
In the “YA” faction of youthdom we have The Secret History of Us which follows Olivia (Liv) as she wakes up from a coma following a traumatic car accident. The eighteen year old recent high school graduate groggily comes to the realization that despite miraculously surviving a near death experience she has lost the last 4 years of her memory. In that time she has lost touch with one of her best friends, fallen in love with her boyfriend of two years (and had sex!) and given up her passion for photography. While she pieces together her past life she has this nagging feeling that she is not getting the whole picture of who she really is when no one is around. She begins investigating herself and comes to the startling realization that she may have had a secret life.
I actually really enjoyed this one and felt like the mystery was solid, if not predictable, and I enjoyed Kirby’s writing style. My biggest complaint would be the pacing went from plotting along nicely to wrapping up at a breakneck speed. I wish Kirby would have let the back half of the story breathe a little more and given us another 50 pages or so.
“It’s the worst feeling in the world to think that everyone who knows you has what they think is a good enough reason to lie to you.”
I read the first four Narnia books in July and had been planning to read them chronologically but I accidently read Prince Caspian before The Horse and His Boy. I don’t think it matters that much except the Pevensie are living in Narnia as Kings and Queens in The Horse and His Boy while they are transported to Narnia after an extended time away (and returning to their childhood) in Prince Caspian.
Prince Caspian, CS Lewis
Prince Caspian is set over a thousand years after the Pevensie children have returned to England and to the ages they were at the beginning of The Lion the Witch and the Wadrobe. They’re on a train on their way to boarding school when they’re transported to a strange beach near the ruins of a castle (they later realize is Cair Paravel). It turns out they were summoned by Prince Caspian, the rightful heir to the throne whose uncle is trying to have him assassinated, using Susan’s magical horn.
“What do you mean by old Narnians, please?” asked Lucy.
“Why, that’s us,” said the Dwarf. “We’re a kind of rebellion, I suppose.”
“I see,” said Peter. “And Caspian is the chief Old Narnian.”
“Well, in a manner of speaking,” said the Dwarf, scratching his head. “But he’s really a New Narnian himself, a Telmarine, if you follow me.”
“I don’t,” said Edmund.
“It’s worse than the Wars of the Roses,” said Lucy.”
The children learn about Caspian and the centuries that followed their own rule from a dwarf named Trumpkin who they rescue from soldiers trying to drown him. After they’re filled in on the past the Pevensies and Trumpkin make their way to Caspian; it is a long and difficult journey but Aslan appears to Lucy who guides them. There is a battle between the Narnians and the evil king that ends in a one on one battle between Peter and the King. At the end of the book Peter and Susan are told they cannot come back to Narnia because they’ve grown too old. Which is weird because Susan would be the age Peter was when he went the first time and also, the Magician and cab driver from Magician’s Nephew were much older and able to make the journey.
The Horse and His Boy, CS Lewis
So the events in The Horse and His Boy take place before Caspian and seem to be happening concurrently with the final chapter of The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe because the Pevensies are still ruling Narnia (meaning they haven’t gone home yet). It doesn’t really matter when you read this one, clearly since I read it “after” I was supposed to, because the events happen almost in a bubble. Or maybe they are connected to later books, I haven’t read any more Narnia books this summer since they seem to pale in comparison to The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe (is there a pithier abbreviation for that? TLTWTW maybe?)
Shasta, a poor fisherman’s son who is treated more like a slave, overhears his father bartering with a traveler who wants to buy him. Shasta decides to run away and coincidentally discovers the traveler’s horse is a talking horse, from Narnia, who also wants to run away. Together they will looks less suspicious so the duo set off for the horse’s homeland. The come across another runaway, Arvais, one night when they are trying to escape a lion. Arvais is of noble birth and is hoping to escape an arrange marriage; she also has a talking Narnian horse guiding her.
The quartet arrive in Tashbaan where Shasta is mistaken for Prince Corin of Archenland and taken back to the castle where he overhears the Narnians plot their escape so Queen Susan doesn’t have to marry the Prince of Calorman. At the same time Arvais is recognized by a friend who has married a nobleman of Tashbaan who promises not to blow her cover and help her get to the tombs to meet Shasta. After Corin comes back from his adventure Shasta sneaks out and meets Arvais and the horses before setting off for Archenland.
On their way to Archenland they are attacked by a lion (Aslan) who scratches Arvais’s back; you find out later he did this in an “eye for an eye” style punishment for her servant girl getting whipped when it was discovered Arvais had run away (What the hell Lewis!? ) Aslan has actually been following them during their whole journey pushing them along.
“I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you.”
Since Arvais is recovering from her lion attack it is up to Shasta to warn King Lune of Archenland of the impending attack on their kingdom. There is, surprise surprise, a big battle where Aslan is present and the good guys preserve.