The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (#5) by C. S Lewis

Published: March 5th 2002 (originally 15 September 1952)
Goodreads badgePublisher: HarperTrophy
Pages: 272
Format: Book
Genre: Junior Fiction/ Fantasy
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ – 5 Stars

A voyage to the very ends of the world. 

Narnia… where a dragon awakens… where stars walk the earth… where anything can happen. A king and some unexpected companions embark on a voyage that will take them beyond all known lands. As they sail father and farther from charted waters, they discover that their quest is more than they imagined and that the world’s end is only the beginning.

Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the third published but chronological fifth book in the Narnia series and yet another I rather liked. The way Lewis has created this world and these stories is so elegant and magical that you do forget his shortcomings if you find them and get carried off in the narrative.

Following the events of the previous story we are introduced to cousin Eustace and his horrid and bratty ways. This is the first book without Peter or Susan, Peter is studying and Susan is travelling in America. The story begins with Lucy and Edmund arriving at their cousin’s house to stay for the holidays. Given that Lucy and Edmund have been king and queen of an ancient land they really do put up with a lot from their cousin. Lewis manages to capture his personality
well and you do get a sense of his intolerance and spoilt nature. When the inevitable call from Narnia comes the three travellers find themselves onboard the ships of Caspian, now the king of Narnia. Three years has passed in the Narnian world and Caspian and his crew are sailing the seas and distant Narnian lands looking for the seven lost Lords; a quest for his coronation. Despite being in the land, Eustace still refuses to accept the stories his cousins told him are true and makes the entire journey tedious for all involved.

This book follows Caspian as he searches the lands for the missing Lords and in doing so the visiting trio get swept up in the adventures. Lucy and Edmund are older now so they also act and carry themselves as more grown up, added their royal position and the effect Narnia has on them only makes them more likeable in this book. There are a lot of new faces; I especially like Reepicheep, simply because despite him being a mouse he is a tough fighter and doesn’t take any of Eustace’s nonsense. Though I will say Eustace does not remain as intolerable for long and he redeems himself. Aside from the characters, the lands the ship visits, and the adventures and situations the crew find themselves in are quite wonderful; they are beautifully dangerous, magical, mysterious, and enchanting all at once. There is magic, dragons, slavery, mysterious mist, sand footprints, all you could ever want in an adventure!

I did like the dragon inclusion in this novel. When I was younger I used to think dragons were real; I thought they were like dinosaurs in that they existed a long time ago and were now extinct. I was quite happy to believe this until I realised the truth; and I’m a little sorry to say it was a real disappointment, one of those ‘feel it in your chest’ disappointments. And so I must now get my dragon delights through literature.

I do not want to ruin the story by giving anything away but there were some issues I found, nothing to affect my overall opinion just a few small details that caught my eye. I will admit I did not understand the ending completely until the film came out, but I understood enough. It was the third time I had the sense Lewis was trying to push religion on his readers through the story. This was blatantly obvious in the film, but I was glad the book had some restraint about it. As per usual Aslan does make an appearance, though not for long, instead he is more of an ideal at first, similar to that in Prince Caspian or A Horse and His Boy.

Having come so far changes are inevitable, especially since we are now privy to these Narnian rules, however unexplained they may be. I think by reading the other non-Pevensie focused books you do not miss the absent Pevensie’s as much, nor mind new characters being brought in because you have been exposed to others and different stories. I think if we had nothing but the four siblings then having them gradually be removed would be strange, almost like recasting to keep a series going. As the series is coming to an end you really have to keep going till the end, and now with new faces being introduced there is a chance of different styles of adventures.

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