First sentence: This is the story of an adventure that happened in Narnia and Calormen and the lands between, in the Golden Age when Peter was High King in Narnia and his brothers and his two sisters were Kings and Queens under him.
Premise/plot: Shasta is a young boy--a boy who's never fit in--who decides to run away when he learns that his "father" is about to sell him as a slave. He discusses the matter over with the would-be-master's horse. Bree is a talking horse from Narnia, a patient horse who's been waiting for the right opportunity to run away. Bree needs a human to ride him. Together these two seek to make their way to Narnia. On the journey, they are pursued by lion(s). Eventually they meet another runaway pair: Aravis, a young girl from a very wealthy family, and another talking horse, Hwin. These four team up, but, it won't be easy to make it all the way to Narnia without running into DANGER. There are many, many risks....
My thoughts: I like this one. There are a few scenes that I absolutely ADORE. My favorite scenes involve Aslan. Aslan has very intimate conversations with Shasta and then Aravis. (There's also a great conversation with Bree.) One definitely sees providence as a theme in this one. One also sees Aslan at work outside of Narnia. He is not a "god" tied to one specific place or country. There is some tension between two religions in this one. (Though not as much perhaps as in The Last Battle.) Aravis has been raised worshiping Tash, and hearing rumors of a lion-demon, but readers have every reason to believe that she comes to worship Aslan and turns from the god(s) of her past.
- No one can teach riding like a horse.
- For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.
- There was only one lion," said the Voice. "What on earth do you mean? I've just told you there were at least two that first night, and--" "there was only one: but he was swift of foot." "How do you know?" "I was the lion." And as Shasta gaped with open mouth and said nothing, the Voice continued. "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 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.""Then it was you who wounded Aravas.""It was I.""But what for?" "Child," said the voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own. "Who are you?" asked Shasta. "Myself," said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again, "Myself," loud and clear and gay: and then the third time: "Myself," whispered so softly you could no longer hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all around you as if the leaves rustled with it.
- Now, Bree," he said you poor, proud, frightened Horse, draw near. Nearer still, my son. Do not dare not to dare. Touch me. Smell me. Here are my paws, here is my tail, these are my whiskers. I am a true beast.
© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible