Title: The Horse and His Boy
Author: C.S. Lewis
Genre: Christian Fantasy, Children’s Literature
Star Rating (out of 5): *****
One night, an orphaned boy named Shasta overhears the man who took him in preparing to sell him as a slave. He slips off to the stables, where the rich man who was bartering to buy him had left his horse, and is shocked when the horse talks to him. The horse reveals that he is a talking horse from Narnia who has been kidnapped, and suggests that he and the boy escape together. “To Narnia and the North!”
I adore this book. Lewis’ words are spare but every one evokes wonderful imagery or emotion (or both). For example, this description of Aslan is one of my favorite quotes from the book and gives me chills:
“Who are you?” asked Shasta.
“Myself,” said the Voice, very deep and low so that the earth shook: and again “Myself,” loud and clear and gay; and then the third time “Myself,” whispered so softly you could hardly hear it, and yet it seemed to come from all round you as if the leaves rustled with it. p. 176
It’s so exquisitely simple yet profound: instead of preaching about who God is, it’s just a few words that evoke the sense of God’s strength, joy, presence, and comfort. And also I feel like it’s a hint at the trinity: Father, Son, and Spirit.
I think my favorite thing about the book is that Aslan seems absent through most of it, and then at the end you see how he was always there and played an important role in so many of the difficult circumstances. It’s such a beautiful reminder, especially in the times in life when God seems silent.
There is also wonderful character development of all the main characters. Shasta develops bravery and learns he is capable of more than he ever thought possible, Aravis learns compassion, Bree learns humility, and Hwyn learns to speak up and trust her instincts.
There are many lessons in this book, but they are all told simply, interestingly, and without preaching. I loved it as a child and I’ve loved it more every time I’ve re-read it as an adult.