The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
First published 1955
1/7 Chronicles of Narnia (2013 Book Challenge)
A good children’s story is one that has great contextual and literary value even for an adult.
C.S. Lewis was a firm believer in this, and The Chronicles of Narnia go beyond any expectations of a children’s story.
The Magician’s Nephew, the first book in the chronicles, provides a worthy explanation for Narnia’s creation, the appearance of the Witch in Narnia, and the mystery of the wardrobe.
It follows the adventures of Digory and Polly who, being tricked by Uncle Andrew, disappear from our world by means of magic rings and appear in the Wood Between The Worlds. From there, they can choose any other world to get into, simply by jumping into a pond… A couple of wrong decisions on the kids’ part (especially Digory’s) leave them with an evil Witch who can destroy all life with a Deplorable Word, and wants to conquer the people of our world.
Thankfully, the agile Digory is able to bring the Witch into another world. A world of Nothing. A world not yet born. Until they hear a magnificent song.
And then it all begins, the creation of Narnia is uncovered for the young and old Reader. I assume this must have been hard for Lewis’s young contemporary readers, because this book was published second last in the series, and not in the order the chronicles should be read… So the poor children (and adults) did not get to know the beginning of Narnia until the very end.
This book features some unforgettable characters like Aslan and the Witch, and even Uncle Andrew whose smartest quote was “No great wisdom can be reached without sacrifice.” Uncle Andrew did not reach great magical wisdom, except not to meddle in magic anymore.
C.S.Lewis’s gentle, paternal and guiding voice leaks through the lines and it is just wonderful! The pace of the text carries you through very peacefully, almost like a bedtime story (which I suppose in a way it is).
It is a sweet book that I would recommend to any child as well as adult, but only if they continue with the series. I love the series. This, however, is not a standalone book, nor should it be read as such.