The Magician’s Nephew
Set in the past times of London, young Diggory Kirke meets his new neighbour Polly Plummer. Playing in her backyard, Polly sees Diggory peering over the fence, face grimy with dirt. The two become fast friends and decide to spend some time together and play. In the row of houses that they live in, there is a tunnel in the rafters that connects all the houses in a row together. The two new friends decide to explore the tunnel down to an old, abandoned house. After walking through the tunnel, the two fall into a room, but it wasn’t the room of the abandoned house. Instead, they are in the attic with Uncle Andrew, a Magician. There, Polly is tricked into touching a ring and is sent to another world. Diggory soon follows with the purpose of returning the two home.
Diggory then arrives in the Wood between the Worlds, a calm and relaxing place where he can feel life growing. When he arrives, he briefly forgets who he is, however, after seeing Polly, the two remember their purpose. Before returning to their own world, the two venture into another world, a place where the world was on its last hours. There, Diggory awakens a Witch, and sets the two new friends on an unforeseeable adventure.
Digory Kirke is a kind and honourable young boy who is also adventurous and impulsive. He proves that he is honourable when he goes to save Polly and continues to stick by her through the novel. He proves that he is impulsive and curious when he ends up hitting the bell that awakens the witch because he was curious what would happen. Polly Plummer is Digory’s neighbour and friend. She too is adventurous and curious about the possibility of other worlds though she is definitely the more level headed of the two kids as she is the one who decides to mark which of the pools they had used and also decided to check to make sure they could return home. She is also the one who does not trust the witch when they first meet which turns out to be the smart belief. Uncle Andrew is a selfish and mean, old man who thinks he is superior to all because he is a magician. Though he claims he wants to explore the other world we soon see that he in fact wanted to exploit the other world and is not very adventurous at all. He is willing to trick the children and put them in danger which shows what type of man he is.
The main strength of this novel is the setting and world building. The author brings to life each new setting, whether it would be London, Charn, or even the new world called Narnia. The Magic system in this novel is also rich in history and simple, with each world having its own natural system in place. Another strength of this novel is the characters. The protagonists in this novel are young, and the author has clearly represented their ages appropriately. The main weakness is the pacing and the details. Although the details are welcome for world building, it tends to slow down the plot. Being a shorter novel, the pacing seems a bit off.
All in all, the novel was an enjoyable read. The world is captivating and intriguing, the characters are realistic with many funny moments. In general, this novel can be read for people of all audiences, but will mainly be enjoyed by younger readers.
This was a very quick read, and an enjoyable one. The plot jumps around, but it is a good intro to the world of Narnia. The characters are developed very well, with at least 4 characters that we have a lot of information about.
I found the biggest strength of this book to be the descriptive language. Polly and Digory find themselves in many unique locations, and C.S. Lewis does a fantastic job of describing them. This was quite an easy novel to visual, even if some of the places were complex.
My biggest issue with this book was the jumping plot. It felt quite choppy and sudden, jumping from one idea to the next. The plot didn’t flow, and it caused more confusion than necessary. It could have been a much more enjoyable read if the plot didn’t jump from one plot idea to another quite suddenly.
I found this book to be a good introduction to the world of Narnia. Probably a book I would read again, one that I wished flowed more smoothly. I would say the novel can truly be enjoyed by all readers, young and old.
This book is a quick and easy read which is nice when you don’t want something to bulky. The characters are not super complex but they do have good personalities and are distinct enough that they are entertaining to follow and are easy to root for. The story itself is quite interesting and as it had been written after most of the other Chronicles of Narnia books it has many connections and references that were fun to spot. The detail in the book was quite vivid with the locations and scenery being described with great detail. My biggest problem with this novel was it’s pacing as it seemed to start off quite slow, then the pace picked up but then it slowed down again and then it picked up until the ending. Every time the book slowed down, I became less interested and was not as keen on continuing but then there were times when I did not want to put it down so at parts I was bored. Overall, I think this is a good book that is entertaining and a quick read while being a good introduction into the Narnia series.
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Lewis, C. S. (2005). The magician’s nephew. New York, NY: HarperCollins.