Published: 1994 (originally published 1954)
Read from June 30th to July 25th, 2012
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Shasta is a young boy living in Calormene with a cruel man who claims to be his father. One night he overhears his "father" offering to sell him as a slave, so Shasta makes a break and sets out for the North. He meets Bree, a talking horse who becomes his companion. On their way they encounter Aravis, a high-born girl escaping an arranged marriage, and her talking horse. Despite their differences the children and horses learn to work together to reach the freedom they long for. In the meantime, they uncover a Calormene plot to conquer Narnia.
I had a really hard time getting into this book. It wasn't until about half-way through that I got really into it and just wanted to keep reading. I'm not entirely sure why that is. I think it's because of Aravis. It was about when she showed up that I began liking the book more. I also started to like Shasta's character more after Aravis appeared. I don't know if that's because of his interaction with Aravis or for other reasons though. I was reading this book in the car while driving to Florida, and my cousin Danielle said she'd tried reading the Chronicles of Narnia before and stopped at some point during this book because she got bored with it, so apparently I'm not the only one who didn't enjoy the beginning much.
I did come to love Shasta and Aravis though. I know they appear in later books, and I can't wait to see them again. I really enjoyed Hwin and Bree as well. Athough Bree sometimes got on my nerves, I enjoyed his character development over the course of the book.
I also really liked Aslan in this book. *SPOILERS* I knew all along that he was the cat that sat with Shasta at the tombs and the lion that hurt Aravis. I honestly didn't pick up on him being the first two lions they saw until he told Shasta later though. Aslan in this book reminded me a lot of the footprints in the sand story. When Aslan was walking up the mountain with Shasta and talking to him I kept thinking about that.
If you begin reading this book and aren't very interested in the beginning, then I recommend sticking with it at least until Aravis and Hwin enter the story. It may actually be my favorite Chronicles of Narnia book now out of the three I've read, and I really enjoyed Shasta, Aravis, and Aslan's characterizations.