Review: The Magician’s Nephew

February 20, 2011 Whitney Review 8 Comments

Review: The Magician’s NephewThe Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Series: The Chronicles of Narnia #6
Published by HarperCollins on May 4, 2005
Genres: Fantasy
Source: Gift

When Digory and Polly are tricked by Digory's peculiar Uncle Andrew into becoming part of an experiment, they set off on the adventure of a lifetime. What happens to the children when they touch Uncle Andrew's magic rings is far beyond anything even the old magician could have imagined.

Hurtled into the Wood between the Worlds, the children soon find that they can enter many worlds through the mysterious pools there. In one world they encounter the evil Queen Jadis, who wreaks havoc in the streets of London when she is accidentally brought back with them. When they finally manage to pull her out of London, unintentionally taking along Uncle Andrew and a coachman with his horse, they find themselves in what will come to be known as the land of Narnia.

There has been much debate as to when to read The Magician’s Nephew.  It was the sixth book in the series to be published (1955) but in 1994, Harper Collins took possession and reordered the series chronologically putting The Magician’s Nephew first as a prequel to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  Purists, often disagree with the new numbering saying they should be read in the order of publication– as the way the author intended, personally I like reading things in chronological order but either way you cannot deny that Narnia is a magical place.

Now a brief on the principal characters, Digory, who pops up again as a wise old soul Professor Kirke and his friend Polly Plummer are like an old married couple.  Constantly bickering and nagging each other and actually reminded me of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, two good friends there for each other through thick and thin but fighting along the way.

Did anyone watch the Strawberry Shortcake cartoon in the 80s?  The “evil-doer” was The Purple Pieman who would have liked to have turned Huckleberry Pie actually into a pie.  Anyway, he was tall and gangly and wore a crooked chef’s hat, I kept picturing Uncle Andrew as such.   Uncle Andrew looked (and was) devilish and conniving but when actually faced with danger himself became an old scaredy cat and made a run for the liquor bottle.  Jadis was just pure evil and the contrast between Aslan, who is all that is good and her wickedness was a perfect blend.

Some may say that reading this first takes away some of the mystery in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as you learn of the existence of the wardrobe and lamppost but I disagree, I felt it only gave the reader a better understanding of the world of Narnia and eagerness to move further in the fantasy land.


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