I think this might the book in this series I’ve read the least, even below the two books I actually don’t really like all that much (The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle). It’s certainly the book I remembered the least. I remembered the broad strokes, but details had been completely lost to me, which means I didn’t read it enough to burn it into my brain like I did the others. What this meant is that I was able to read this in a more fresh state of mind, more like reading a new to me book, than I can with the others. And wow this one is super allegorical! Like, could not be more allegorical if it tried. The scene underground where the witch tries to make them forget about Aslan and that Narnia is real, and they’re like, I will remember and live as it was real anyway! Wow.
So in addition to that, I also wasn’t a huge fan of Jill, and Eustace was way less fun than he was in the last book, and Prince Rilian was kind of a wet blanket. I enjoyed Puddleglum and his gloom and doom shtick, but seriously, anybody could have guessed those giants were going to eat those kids. I’m kind of talking myself down on this one, but I really do like it better overall as a reading experience than I do those other two, so 3.5 stars feels right.
I do have a bone to pick with Lewis about worldbuilding and logistics. This is something I noticed in a couple of the others. He doesn’t tend to have the strongest grasp on timelines and things that should match up with each other in the various books (like Jadis’s origin story for instance; there are discrepancies there). The thing that bothered me here is that Rilian is a young man, at most thirty, meaning he disappeared when he was twenty or younger. Caspian is portrayed as a man so old, it having been seventy years since the last book, that he is not long for this world. I just find it incredibly hard to believe that Caspian waited thirty to forty years to have a kid with Ramandu’s daughter (who still doesn’t have a name!!). He would have been what, in his forties and fifties? It feels like he just wanted the shock there of seeing someone who was so young be so old, and he didn’t think through the logistics of it.
So, a fun book, but it doesn’t hit deep for me.