Eustace Returns to Narnia
Set somewhere around a year after the events of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Eustace Scrubb remains much better off for having had the experience. Back at the fairly dreadful school he’s attending in the real world, he encounters a crying classmate named Jill. In attempting to lift her spirits, he tells her about Narnia. And when bullying classmates come after her, he tries to help her flee. In the middle of their hiding efforts, they open a door and slip not away from their school, but into Narnia. There, a peculiar adventure awaits.
Narnia is again in peril. King Caspian is nearing the end of his life, and his sole heir son has long been missing. Together with their comically dreary guide, Puddleglum, Eustace and Jill must set off on a quest to retrieve Prince Rilian. But only Jill received clear instructions from Aslan himself. And the harshness of their journey threatens to make her miss the signs she was so carefully taught to look for.
“Suppose... suppose we have only dreamed and made up these things like sun, sky, stars, and moon, and Aslan himself. In that case, it seems to me that the made-up things are a good deal better than the real ones. And if this black pits of a kingdom is the best you can make, then it's a poor world. And we four can make a dream world to lick your real one hollow.”
Well-paced, rich in vocabulary, and rife with vivid imagery. Charming as ever, Mr. Lewis!
I appreciated that there are a few invaluable message elements underlying the story itself. Concepts like, “Looks can be deceiving.” And how dangerously tempting it can be to believe what we wish to believe—particularly when we are weary. Potentially thought-provoking for young and older readers alike.
While not my absolute favorite of the 7-book series, still a solidly enjoyable installment. (And so good to see that Eustace’s character development held over from the previous book.)