The Magician's Nephew
The Chronicles of Narnia

written by C.S. Lewis
illustrated by Pauline Baynes

C.S. Lewis's The Magician's Nephew (Chronicles of Narnia)
illustrated by Pauline Baynes

Book review by Natasha Withers

Ages 9-12

Witness the birth of a new world, watched over by a mysterious lion, where all things are possible

Young Digory Kirke has just moved to the city in London—and he is not pleased. He has been crying quite a bit when he meets his new neighbor, Polly Plummer. The two children play together and have little adventures in the house when something goes wrong. They stumble into the secret room of Digory’s not-quite-as friendly-as-he-tries-to-seem uncle, Mr. Andrew Ketterley. (A minor magician.)

Review continues.

from The Magician's Nephew

Now dear old Uncle Andrew is not your average crazy uncle on that side of the family—he’s a crazy uncle on that side of the family who dabbles in magic. Unfortunately for the two young companions who are about to become his guinea pigs, Uncle Andrew doesn’t really know what he’s doing when he spirits them away and out of their world entirely.

The Magician's Nephew - The Chronicles of Narnia

The two children end up in a world between worlds and from there, enter another world—-a cold and lonely land where they meet a powerful sorceress.

After being awakened by the children in a moment of weakness, she seeks to enslave both them and their world; but a botched attempt sends them to a new land, a new world in the process of being born by a song of creation sung by the noble and beautiful lion, Aslan.

After allowing evil to enter this innocent, new world, it’s up to Digory and Polly to set things right. What’s that? How can two children possibly hope to save this strange land? Well…one should know that all things are possible in the world of Narnia.

The Magician’s Nephew is the installment in the The Chronicles of Narnia series that shows how the magical land came to be, how evil first entered it, and how all the other stories could only occur due to young Digory Kirke and Polly Plummer.

I have to make clear, however, that although this is portrayed as the first volume of the series, C.S Lewis did not exactly write the books in the order the events occur chronologically.

(Read a review of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book published in the series.)

Some readers will read it one way, some the other. I personally read it in the order that C.S Lewis wrote it, but doing this or otherwise will not ruin or add to the greatness of the series. Whatever order you choose to read the series in, this volume is an amazing story that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime.

Lewis has made interesting characters that are flawed and capable of earning sympathy and simultaneous disappointment from the reader.

Uncle Andrew is the character one loves to hate, but at the same time, even the reader will begin to have pity after seeing the punishing results of his actions.

The evil sorceress, who we will come to know as Jadis, is the same. She hardly seems like a character that needs pity: she has superhuman strength, she is giant-like in stature, and of course is very adept at sorcery and dark magic. At the same time, we see that she is a pitiful creature trying to rule over others when she can barely control herself and the punishments that Uncle Andrew faces are almost nothing compared to hers.

Aslan is of course the object of utter perfection in the world of Narnia: his Christ-like nature is gentle, strict, compassionate, and everything that the new world needs in a protector and ruler.

The Magician's Nephew - The Chronicles of Narnia

If there is anything that should encourage one to read this book, however, it is the chapters that depict Aslan’s creation of the world. I could never do it justice trying to explain it myself, but Lewis’s description is unlike anything that has ever been, and probably ever will be, written. I must warn that there will be moments when the reader will wish with all his or her heart that they were in the book watching this happen. The Magician's Nephew is a must-read classic filled with magic, danger, emotion and faith.

Read more of Natasha's reviews.

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