Book Review: “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis

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Of the four Pevensie children — Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy — the elder two have already seen their last glimpse of Narnia. But for Edmund and Lucy, another adventure begins when they are pulled into a painting, along with their beastly cousin, Eustace Scrubb.

They find themselves in Narnia only three years after their last visit, joining King Caspian the Tenth on a voyage across the eastern sea, in search of seven lost Telmarine Lords, the land of Aslan, and the end of the world. Joined by able officers and sailors, as well as the valiant mouse Reepicheep, they have a variety of adventures in strange and perilous lands.

From the slave market of the Lone Islands, to the transforming magic of Dragon Island that changes Eustace for the better, to a land where dreams come true (and once you understand what that means, you can’t get away from it fast enough) they go, guided in subtle ways by Aslan the Lion. They encounter a sea serpent, a wizard and an island of invisible people, an enchanted feast, a land whose name is changed from Goldwater to Deathwater, and an underwater kingdom. They see a magic book, a magic map, and a sea of sweet water covered with silver lilies. And finally, Aslan hints about who he is in “our world,” and how there is a door into his country from all the worlds.

It’s a journey full of magic, adventure, moral lessons, and the sometimes sobering reality of different personalities living together in close quarters for a long time. It is likely that you will both laugh and cry while reading this story. I especially liked the way Caspian took charge of things in the Lone Islands. And Reepicheep is simply unforgettable. None of the characters are flawless people, but that makes them so much more charming, and leaving them is like parting from good friends. And none of the settings or adventures are particularly realistic, but underneath the fantasy one senses a current of truth, a sense of a deeper meaning worth pondering.

The first sentence of the book is one of those absolutely perfect openers that one sees once in a thousand books (maybe a hundred, if you stick to really good books).

And by the way, you will see Eustace Scrubb again…