Stephanie's Reviews > The Horse and His Boy

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
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May 17, 12

Read in May, 2012

HHB probably has the best plot in the Narnia series. The story works well as an adventure, and it's almost always fast-paced and funny.

During the Tashbaan sequence, I kept thinking "Brilliant, Brilliant" because of the way different storylines are woven together without being contrived or feeling like one damn thing after another. Chapter 8 is the kind of plot George R.R. Martin wanted to do but epically failed at because he was trying to hard. In this one scene from HHB, you've got politics, intrigue, sexuality, culture, violence...And it's all witty and believable and none of it seems forced. In this one chapter Lewis did without trying what Martin took over 500 pages not to do.

Lewis, you win.

The supporting cast is excellent in this book. Bree is quite the douchebag and hilariously changes the subject whenever someone criticizes him. Aravis is a strong, brave girl with flaws that she overcomes by the end. I love the horse Hwin because she's so obviously the brains of the outfit but doesn't put on any airs. Lasaraleen is a hilarious comic character who is very self-centered and shallow (The kim Kardashian of the book) while still being likable.

Shasta himself isn't as interesting, but he's a sympathetic everyman character, and you're certainly rooting for him.

The only problem I had is, again, the religious part. The pacing slacks off a bit by the end, and that's not helped at all by the passages that are obviously there to give a moral lesson to the story. Aslan keeps appearing out of nowhere, delivering some speech and disappearing until the next time someone needs some quick life advice. It's very random and makes Aslan less of a character. I guess writing a God character tends to turn him into a plot device. Too bad.

Of course there is the debate about whether or not Lewis is racist. I think he's a bit conflicted, and you can see it in his writing. In the description of the city Tashbaan, Lewis really goes back and forth between being awed by the awesomeness of the place and enjoying writing about the Arabian Nights-inspired setting, and seriously pointing out the flaws he sees in the society.

So, the quick answer: Yes, Lewis believes in cultural stereotypes. Yes, there is still good stuff to get out of this book.
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