The Pevensie siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, return to the land of Narnia! Many years after they ruled as kings and queens, a young prince uses Susan’s horn to call for help as he loses his battle against a false king. But the ways of Old Narnia and the reign of the four brothers and sisters have fallen into legend, and the call is a desperate last chance endeavor, doubted by many.
Although it’s exciting to see the Pevensie siblings back in Narnia, it’s the secondary characters who shine in book. The skeptical and practical dwarf, Trumpkin and the vengeful black dwarf, Nikabrik, with their distinctly different dispositions, are paired with Trufflehunter, the open and loyal badger. Add in Glenstorm the proud centaur, Wimbleweather the dim but kind giant, and the Bulgy Bears, who are very fond of eating and prone to sucking their paws, and you’ve got a cast of characters that is diverse and empathetic. But most exciting of all is the entrance of Reepicheep, the true hero and most beloved character of all the series—at least for me.
The pace is quite slow for most of the story. However, the sword fight between Peter and the false king is a shining moment for the Penvensie siblings and the beginning of the climax of the book. The final battle combines with the onslaught of the awakened trees and the river god and Bacchus destroying the bridge, which makes for an exciting ending.
Prince Caspian is a confusing book. The ostensible protagonists, the Pevensie siblings are whisked back to Narnia, where they don’t do a very good job of surviving and helping until Aslan’s arrival, and even then they are split up, dividing the action. The namesake of story is Prince Caspian, who is the rightful heir to the Narnian throne. Unfortunately, most of Caspian’s story is told by Trumpkin in backstory, so he feels distant, and when he shows up in person, he seems rather generic. In addition, some key plot points are revealed when characters are speaking in High Narnian dialogue, i.e. archaic courtly English, so if you or a young one happens to gloss over the ridiculously flowery language in favor of action, you will miss a couple of key plot points.
Recommended for fans of talking animals!
“’That’s the worst of girls,’ said Edmund to Peter and the Dwarf. ‘They never can carry a map in their heads.’
‘That’s because our heads have something inside them,’ said Lucy.”