With their parents and Susan in America and Peter away from home, Edmund and Lucy Pevensie are sent to spend the summer at their troublesome cousin, Eustace's house. One day, Eustace walks in on Edmund and Lucy discussing a painting of a ship on the wall of Lucy's bedroom and how it reminds them of their beloved Narnia. Before they know it, all three children have been swept into the painting, back to the magical realm over which Edmund and Lucy used to rule and right onto the Dawn Treader, a ship carrying their old friends Caspian and Reepicheep. In spite of Eustace's objections, it is decided that the trio will join the crew of the ship who are on a voyage to find the seven lost lords of Narnia. Along the way the intrepid adventurers encounter many perils, meet new friends, and make amazing discoveries, but once their mission is complete they must decide whether to return to Narnia or sail in search of the World's End where legend says Aslan's home can be found.
I've been a fan of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe since I was a child, but for whatever reason, I never got around to reading the rest of The Chronicles of Narnia. With the books now being made into major motion pictures, I've been taking the opportunity to rectify that situation, and I'm so glad to be discovering them. Each "new" book I read in the series takes me on another adventure of both mind and spirit. C. S. Lewis constantly amazes me with his ability to make me feel like I'm there in Narnia with the characters. His descriptions of the Dawn Treader, the sometimes perilous sea voyage, the places they see, and all the people they meet along the way are so well drawn that they kept me engrossed and anxious to continue reading. Somehow in a mere 216 pages, Mr. Lewis took me on a grand escapade that made me feel as though I'd sailed to the ends of the Earth myself, while also imparting some important spiritual truths that spoke to the depths of my soul. Aside from Aslan's sacrifice and his forgiveness of Edmund in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I haven't always been able to clearly identify the allegorical parallels to Christian beliefs that I know are found in The Chronicles of Narnia. The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" was a whole different story for me. I could see so many things in it that nurtured my spirit with its gentle, easy to understand message. It was a feel-good book which also left me pondering the deeper meaning in life.
The characters are such a joy to visit with. Edmund and Lucy are back, and make their travels to Narnia with a new player, their cousin, Eustace. Edmund has grown a great deal since his close call with the White Witch. I've always loved Lucy. She is brave, while also being a kind, caring and sweet girl to everyone, but as this book proved, even she can be tempted by power. Eustace begins the story as quite the spoiled brat, making me hope for a quick comeuppance. Some amazing things do happen to Eustace which lead to a loving transformation courtesy of Aslan, after which he's not perfect, but much nicer. On the Narnian side of things, Caspian and Reepicheep also return. Caspian is now King and going in search of the seven lost lords of Narnia who were friends and supporters of his father. The brave little mouse, Reepicheep, his loyal and fearless companion is very wise and ready to conquer any challenge that crosses his path. All of these combine with lots of new characters who are met along the way to create a thoroughly entertaining cast.
The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" is a book that presents something new and exciting in nearly every chapter. There is a little something here for everyone: adventure, mystery, magic, and discoveries galore to be made. I'm a "purist" who has been reading the books in their original order, which makes The Voyage of the "Dawn Treader" the third book of the series, and I'm a little sad that it seems many of my favorite characters may not be back for the remaining stories. However, that doesn't deter me from greatly looking forward to continuing The Chronicles of Narnia soon.
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