WARNING: If you haven’t read any of the other Narnia books, especially The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe you might want to skip the middle of the review. Those few points are going to be spoilerific.
The Magician’s Nephew is the first/sixth book in the The Chronicles of Narnia series. It was written by C.S. Lewis sixth, but it is what we now call a “prequel”. Once all seven books were published, Lewis requested that they be re-ordered according to the Narnian timeline, putting The Magician’s Nephew before The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. It was the author’s request and it was complied with. If you want to know the order of the books in which they were published, you have to look it up.
I like that I read The Magician’s Nephew sixth. I liked all the discoveries I made and “gasp” moments when the events connected more and more with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe and the other books. They were fun, happy moments of discovery. So, while I respect anyone’s choice to read them in the Narnian order, I really enjoyed (so far, since I have one more book to go) the experience of reading them in publication order.
Okay, so here are the spoilers!
The birth of Narnia! Wow.
We get to see where The White Queen comes from!!!! Ahh! The moment when I realized that was fantastic. I suspected almost immediately after Digory and Polly met Jadis, but it was so good to get that final confirmation.
Digory is the professor that the Pevensies in during the war! That’s so awesome!
The wardrobe! Wood from Narnia! Amazing.
No more spoilers.
All these moments made me so happy and so excited, that I couldn’t contain them. These are the reasons that I’m glad I read the books in publication order.
There is one more thing I have to mention. This is probably one of the only Narnia books I’ve read that I don’t have any complaints about the girl. In the first book especially, I felt like the girls weren’t “as good” as the boys. Yes, Lucy had a pivotal role in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, but Susan was marginalized. Even though she is second oldest, she wasn’t to fight in the battles. War wasn’t for women. Each time Lewis made those sorts of comments, it made me cringe. Maybe his feelings towards the role of women changed in the years between his first book and the sixth.
In The Magician’s Nephew it is Digory that is influenced by emotion (over his dying mother). Digory gets angry, pushy and hurts Polly. The bad decisions (from the two children) are his. Polly is the one who thinks things through. She tries to stop Digory and she helps him. Polly is more logical and less emotional than her male friend. It made me so happy.
What are you waiting for? If you haven’t read The Chronicles of Narnia start now. If you have read it, then you know what I’m talking about. These are great books and The Magician’s Nephew reminded me of what I love the series. The Last Battle is the last book I have left. I’ve drawn out the series for long enough, I think. I’ll be reading The Last Battle soon.