The Horse and His Boy is the third book, chronologically, in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.
Quick Review (read on for full review)
A fairy tale-like story full of beautiful landscapes and adventure. 4 / 5
Summary (from Goodreads)
The Horse and his Boy is a stirring and dramatic fantasy story that finds a young boy named Shasta on the run from his homeland with the talking horse, Bree. When the pair discover a deadly plot by the Calormen people to conquer the land of Narnia, the race is on to warn the inhabitants of the impending danger and to rescue them all from certain death.
“Child,” said the Voice, “I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own.”
(From The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, page 130)
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. It had a fairy tale quality to it which I liked. I didn’t expect most of the tale to take place outside of Narnia, in the kingdom to south called Calormen, but I found the location fascinating.
One of my favourite parts was the description of the journey north, and the different landscapes they passed through as they try to reach Narnia. I liked the characters. Bree and Shasta, and Hwin and Aravis were interesting and I liked how Shasta and Aravis interacted. Aravis’s shy, gentle talking horse was my favourite. And, although the main characters were different, we still got to meet the Pevensies, who were now all grown up.
What I really didn’t like about the book was that you can’t get away from the undertone of racism in some of descriptions of the people. This certainly dates the book back to a time when this was acceptable, and it did hamper my enjoyment of it, hence the loss of a star, though I wonder if it should have lost another…I did struggle to rate this book because of this.
I noted a couple of similarities between Lewis’s Narnia and Tolkien’s Middle Earth. The first was the use of the name “Bree”. The second was a description of the city of Tashbaan, which reminded me a little of Minas Tirith. I still prefer Middle Earth over Narnia, both in terms of location and stories, but I am really enjoying this series and am happy to be working my way through it, from beginning to end.
Chronologically-speaking, The Horse and His Boy, is the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia, but it was the fifth book to be published. The next book in the series is Prince Caspian, which I am really looking forward to reading. I hope I get around to doing so soon.