By C.S. Lewis
Edmund and Lucy are dreading their upcoming summer holidays, which they will spend with their cousin Eustace Scrubb. However, not long into the holidays, everything turns around as they find themselves pulled back into the land of Narnia through a picture of a ship at sea. Edmund, Lucy, and Eustace have stepped into a grand sailing adventure, as King Caspian sets out to explore the Lone Islands and attempt to discover what happened to the 7 lords who set sail years ago. This time, only three years have passed in Narnia when the Pevensies return. While Edmund and Lucy are thrilled to be back with their friend Caspian in Aslan’s land of Narnia, Eustace complains about everything, until he finds himself turned into a dragon and rescued only with the guidance of Aslan. When his attitude turns around, he begins to participate in and enjoy the adventures on each of the unknown islands they visit. Caspian and his crew make their way across the eastern ocean, and their long days at sea are punctuated by inland adventures to rediscover and reclaim the Lone Islands, all the time wondering whether they will ever reach the fabled land of Aslan that lies beyond the end of the world.
“The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis is the 5th book in the Chronicles of Narnia series, originally published third. Lewis again takes the opportunity to expand the realm of Narnia by setting the adventures at sea. Not once do Edmund and Lucy actually step foot on Narnian soil in what turns out to be their last visit to Narnia. By visiting so many different islands, Lewis creates many different worlds that are pleasant, dangerous, bewildering, and all new. Each island comes with its own story and adventure, adding to both the geography of Narnia and the enjoyment of the novel. Much of their discoveries are fueled by the strong words of Reepicheep the Mouse, who despite (or because of) his small size motivates the crew to face each unknown adventure with courage and bravery. With Reepicheep’s words of encouragement and support, Caspian and his friends learn valuable lessons about persevering in the face of fear, and gain wisdom from each island where some previously unknown entity becomes known, whether something dangerous to be avoided or pleasant to be returned to.
Out of the whole series so far, I would say “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” has been my favorite book. I liked that each island was a different world, and the chapters moved quickly through each inland excursion. I particularly liked the end of the book as they neared Aslan’s land at the end of the world. Something about this book seemed a bit more engaging for me. I more frequently felt caught up in the story and less concerned about the impact of disparate time schemes on an aging body. Light, enjoyable, and quick-paced, this book makes for a good read.