Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis

Prince Caspian is my second favorite in the Chronicles of Narnia. Hands down, my favorite is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but I love Caspian too. I guess it's because of Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy. I'm attached to them, and when they aren't in the story, it's just not the same.
Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia after a year of being back in their own world, only to discover it's been over a hundred years in Narnia. Things have definitely changed there too. Narnia is now being ruled by an evil king which has led all the enchanted creatures to go into hiding. The four children, along with Aslan, help Caspian, the nephew to the current king and the rightful heir return Narnia to the days of old.
Another great installment in the Chronicles of Narnia and one that many will enjoy. I give it a B, Recommended.

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis

I decided to revisit the world of Narnia this year. I hadn't read the Narnia books since I was a student in elementary and middle school, and while I remember enjoying them at the time, the only one that really stuck with me all those years was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. And, maybe that was because I remember the animated movie that I watched as a child. No, not the Disney one, nor the live-action one from the BBC. This one was from the late-70's and was entirely animated. Don't remember it? That's okay -- you're probably not the only one. Anyway, back to the Narnia books. I started reading the series in the chronological order, rather than in publication order and that meant starting with The Magician's Nephew, which was a new way for me to go.

I've just finished with The Horse and His Boy and came away thinking it was a good stand-alone adventure. I don't really think it can be appreciated as well in between The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Prince Caspian, because, frankly it gets lost in the shuffle. It's definitely not as strong a story as those other two and doesn't have as dynamic characters. That's not to say it's not a worthwhile story with plenty of action. It's just not going to stand out in the midst of those. I give it a 'B', Recommended.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Airman by Eoin Colfer

Since I adore Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, I'm always hesitant to read any of his other stories. I know they aren't going to have the same feel, and I worry that I won't like them.

Conor is the son of the king's head bodyguard and has enjoyed a childhood with much freedom and friendships. He's especially close friends with the king's daughter. One night, Conor overhears plans to murder the king, but is unable to stop the assassination. The conspirators then set him up as the fall guy and send him to jail, hoping he will die in prison. Conor has other ideas and begins to plan a way to escape. You see, Conor has always been interested in flight, and has always wanted to design an airship. Hot hair balloons are a rarity and no one has successfully built a flying machine. But, Conor thinks he can ... and it'll be his way to freedom.

Airman is way different that Artemis Fowl. There's no smart-aleck Artemis, no strong and silent Butler, no heroic Holly, but I still loved it. I enjoyed the richly depicted characters, even the evil ones. I felt like I was there in the stinking prison, having to dive for pearls, worried if I'd live until tomorrow. I miss the humor that is always a part of the Artemis Fowl books, but I found I could overlook it. The story was just that fulfilling.

My grade? An 'A', Highly Recommended.