A young boy called Shasta is found as a baby and raised by Arsheesh, a Calormene fisherman. As the story begins, Shasta overhears Arsheesh agreeing to sell him to a powerful Calormene feudal noble. Shasta has never really loved the fisherman and is relieved to discover that he is not really Arsheesh's son, and awaits his new master in the donkey stable outside the fisherman's house. The noble's stallion, Bree, astounds Shasta by speaking to him, and suggesting that they escape a life of servitude together by riding north for Narnia. They meet another pair of escaping travellers, Aravis, a young Calormene aristocrat, and her talking horse, Hwin. Aravis is fleeing a forced marriage to the Tisroc's grand vizier. Together they have many adventures and Aslan is never far away.
Narnia... where horses talk and hermits like company, where evil men turn into donkeys, where boys go into battle... and where the adventure begins.
During the Golden Age of Narnia, when Peter is High King, a boy named Shasta discovers he is not the son of Arsheesh, the Calormene fishermen, and decides to run far away to the North---to Narnia. When he is mistaken for another runaway, Shasta is led to discover who he really is and even finds his real father.
A very good book.
In my opinion, it's a good book. But it is sort of boring at first, as there isn't much happening. I really like it though I'm only halfway through. =D But once the adventures are started, they never end.
The Narnia series is a wonderful window into different adventures, and the Horse and His Boy adds to Narnia's mystery and intrigue. Although the Horse and His Boy was probably my least favorite in the series, I now realize it was probably because this book was C.S. Lewis' richest attempt at echoeing a Middle Eastern-like culture---one of more complicated plot lines, more human rather than magical creature interaction, and most of all, a longer book with a bit more advanced writing than the other books that preceded it. The Horse and His Boy definitely takes the reader on an adventure with an almost Middle Eastern slant, full of adventures in the desert and odd-named characters, from Rabadash to Hwin.
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- Reading Age: 10+
- Reading Aloud Age: 8+
The book starts out with Shasta's father bargaining to sell Shasta into slavery to a stranger. A brief mention is made of Shasta's father 'boxing his ears'. Lions chase after Shasta and Bree, his horse. Both Shasta and Aravis run away from home (him for not wanting to be sold into slavery, her for not wanting to be married). Prince Corin arrives in one scene with a black eye, a missing tooth, and blood and mud on his clothes. One scene talks about 'the Tombs'---black rocks in a desert. A lion chases down and attempts to attack Aravis, and her horse, Hwin, leaving Aravis' 'back..covered with blood.' A battle scene is described by the Hermit as he says who is being killed and what's happening. Rabadash is brought in once in chains.
Prince Rabadash mocks Aslan, calling him a 'demon', and saying such things as "Let the earth gape! Let blood and fire obliderate the world!" in his frustration at being defeated. Rabadash is turned into a donkey, his nose sinking into his face, his clothes disappearing, and his arms and hands growing longer and gaining hair. After the transformation, Aslan says, "Justice shall be mixed with mercy. You shall not always be an A_s." (A play on words, I think intentionally.)
Non-swear words are used infrequently throughout the book, such as 'my word', 'what on earth', 'pshaw', 'curse you', and 'faugh'.
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