Review Detail

A Grand Nautical Adventure
Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style 
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable) 
 
4.0
I read this book along with the rest in the Chronicles of Narnia back in middle school. It's amazing to realize how much my tastes have changed since then. I recall this being my least favorite of all seven books. But this time around I appreciated it from a whole new angle.

C.S. Lewis' prose is, of course, elegant in the sense that makes all his works such classics--imaginatively sweeping, interwoven with profundity and winsome characterization. Moreso than others in this series The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is a journeying adventure, with self-searching qualities encountered at every island and point of destination.

I do remember that, in my embittered youth, my primary reason for resenting this book centered entirely around Eustace--the irritatingly narcissistic tag-along cousin of the Pevensie children (though this tale is limited to Edmund and Lucy, as Peter and Susan, we learn, have essentially aged out of the Narnia experience.)

Lewis' cheeky opening line for the book says it best:

"There was a boy called Eustace Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."

I couldn't stand Eustace--and for whatever reason, I didn't want to believe he could show character growth, no matter the circumstances he might encounter. But Lewis has a tendency toward redemption, and much like Edmund's transformation in The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe, Eustace too gets his chance at a heart change. What I noticed this time around was how well Edmund apparently recalled his own past behavior, going so far as to state his former vileness surpassed even Eustace. And I realized...he was right. Yet, between the end of TLTWATW and this book, I found that I, as a reader, had completely forgiven Edmund and even came to favor him. So why not Eustace?

So ultimately, this reader experienced an attitudinal check. And really, only great books have much chance of sparking that kind of introspection.
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