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Prince Caspian: The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 2
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.
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What's the story?
The four Pevensie children from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are called back to Narnia when Caspian, the nephew of the evil usurping ruler, sides with the true Narnians to oppose him. There they find that centuries have passed since their last visit, and that, once again, they face a battle against overwhelming odds.
Is it any good?
PRINCE CASPIAN is an altogether simpler and more straightforward adventure tale than its predecessor, and far simpler than most modern fantasies. Once again Lucy is the heroine of heart and spirit, while Peter is the hero of the sword. Edmund has learned his lessons well, and is stalwart and kind, while Susan -- well, Susan mostly grumbles, and one can see Lewis already setting up her fall from grace, which occurs in the last book. The novel is structured as two parallel, and eventually intersecting, stories: one of Caspian escaping from, and rebelling against, his evil uncle; the other of the Pevensies rediscovering a Narnia that has changed a great deal in the centuries since their last visit.
Gone, for the most part, is the heavy dose of Christian symbolism, replaced by a hodgepodge of mythological elements, including Bacchus and his Maenads, nature spirits, and a river god. The plain but very literary writing and simplicity of storytelling, combined exciting adventures and a moderate length make this book well-suited to middle-grade readers.