Title: The Magician's Nephew.
Author: C.S. Lewis.
Genre: Literature, fiction, YA lit, fantasy.
Publication Date: May 2nd, 1955.
Summary: On a daring quest to save a beloved life, two friends, Digory and Polly, are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the Great Lion Aslan's song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will become known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible...
My rating: 8/10
My review: Though Lewis wanted this book to be read first, I feel it really shows its' full value once you've read the entire series. In itself, the plot is very minimal, and it feels like almost an aside-novel, but it fills in all the great details and backstory on which all the subsequent books heavily rely, like the creation of Narnia itself. Like many children's fantasy classics, Lewis disguises deep morals, sharp and apt parallels to our world, and painful lessons behind whimsical, often humorous magical characters and motifs. Unlike many other children's authors, however, he doesn't play down or disguise darkness, setting up a the tone for the series to be only partly light-hearted. My favourite concept, and something I feel is indicative of this, is when Aslan is seen as dangerous and terrifying, but 'good'.
♥ "You mean that little boys ought to keep their promises. Very true: most right and proper, I'm sure, and I'm very glad you have been taught to do it. But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys - and servants - and women - and even people in general, can't possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages."
♥ "No great wisdom can be reached without sacrifice."
♥ Children have one kind of silliness, as you know, and grown-ups have another kind."
♥ He certainly was a dreadful sight by now: for of course, the more dressed up you were to begin with, the worse you look after you've crawled out of a smashed hansom cab and fallen into a muddy brook.
♥ The Lion, whose eyes never blinked, stared at the animals as hard as if he was going to burn them up with his mere stare. And gradually a change came over them. The smaller ones - the rabbits, moles, and such-like - grew a good deal larger. The very big ones - you noticed it most with the elephants - grew a little smaller. Many animals sat up on their hind legs. Most put their heads on one side as if they were trying very hard to understand. The Lion opened his mouth, but no sound came from it; he was breathing out, a long, warm breath; it seemed to sway all the beasts as the wind sways a line of trees. Far overhead from beyond the veil of blue sky which hid them the stars sang again; a pure, cold, difficult music. Then there came a swift flash fire (but it burnt nobody) either from the sky or from the Lion itself, and every drop of blood tingled in the children's bodies, and the deepest, wildest voice they had ever heard was saying.
"Narnia, Narnia, Narnia, awake. Love. Think. Speak. Be walking trees. Be talking beasts. be divine waters."
♥ "Creatures, I give you yourselves. I give to you forever this land of Narnia. I give you the woods, the fruits, the rivers. I give you the stars and I give you myself. The Dumb Beasts whom I have not chosen are yours also. Treat them gently and cherish them but do not go back to their ways lest you cease to be Talking Beasts. For out of them you were taken and into them you can return. Do not so."
♥ And all the other animals began making various queer noises which are their ways of laughing and which, of course, no one has ever heard in our world. They tried at first to repress it, but Aslan said:
"Laugh and fear not, creatures. Now that you are no longer dumb and witless, you need not always be grave. For jokes as well as justice come in with speech."
♥ For what you see and hear depends a good deal on where you are standing: it also depends on what sort of person you are.
♥ Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.
♥ But the beasts could not understand him any more than he could understand them. They didn't hear any words: only a vague sizzling noise. Perhaps it was just as well they didn't for no dog that I ever knew, least of all a Talking Dog of Narnia, likes being called a Good Doggie then; any more than you would like being called My Little Man.
♥ The young woman had apparently been in the middle of a washing day, for she wore an apron, her sleeves were rolled up to the elbow, and there were soapsuds on her hands. If she had had time to put on her good clothes (her best that had imitation cherries on it) she would have looked dreadful; as it was, she looked rather nice.
♥ Come in by the gold gates or not at all,
Take of my fruit for others or forbear,
For those who steal or those who climb my walls
Shall find their heart's desire and find despair.
♥ "Oh, Adam's sons, how cleverly you defend yourselves against all that might do you good!"
♥ "Things always work according to their nature. She has won her heart's desire; she has unwearying strength and endless days like a goddess. But length of days with an evil heart is only length of misery and already she begins to know it. All get what they want; they do not always like it."
♥ "Please," he said, "may we go home now?" He had forgotten to say "Thank you," but he meant it, and Aslan understood.