The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is the fifth book in the Chronicles of Narnia series. Here a reader finds Edmund and Lucy Pevensie forced to spend their summer away from their parents and siblings with their uncle Harold and Aunt Alberta. And while neither Edmund or Lucy look forward to their visit with family, the worst part is having to live with their cousin, Eustace Scrub: an intellectual bully, who wishes nothing more than to torment them as much as possible.
One day, Eustace catches his cousins admiring a painting of a Narnia-esque ship, reminiscing a bit about their wonderful adventures in Narnia. Naturally, the house bully cannot allow this opportunity to pass and begins to needle Lucy and Edmund about their lack of culture and refinement in the arts. However, while he taunts Lucy regarding ignorant descriptions of the vividness and absolute realism of the painting, something magical happens: the waves begin to surge forth from the painting!
Immediately, the whole room is filled with the onrushing waves of the mighty ocean, and the three children are both frozen to the core by its wintry embrace and their fear. However, before terror engulfs them, strong hands and tight ropes drawn them forth from the water then dump them unceremoniously upon the deck of a marvelous ship. A ship that they discover is home to an old companion, King Caspian, who greets the appearance of Edmund and Lucy with both surprise and joy. Of course, Eustace’s annoying presence causes immediately problems as he demands to be taken to the closest British Consulate, but even his irritating bellyaching cannot extinguish the joy of Edmund, Lucy and Caspian’s reunion.
Once the reunited friends compare notes, the Pevensies’ discover that several years have passed in Narnia, and that after securing Narnia from its enemies – both internal and external – Caspian has undertaken this epic sea voyage to rediscover little known Narnian territories across the sea and find seven lords that his evil Uncle Miraz sent out to explore the Eastern Sea. At least, that is Caspian’s mission. The mighty mouse Reepicheep, however, has determined that his destiny and that of his companions is to sail unto the utter east until they reach the land of Aslan himself. And so, Edmund, Lucy and a less enthusiastic Eustace become entangled in this world spanning journey.
And what amazing adventures follow! Soon, the three children find themselves sailing from island to island, rediscovering ancient Narnians, encountering dragons and sea serpents, running afoul of magic after magic, and find themselves changed by all that they see and face.
1) Another wonderful audio book. This rendition dazzles in the amazing characterization given to each character, the spectacular sound effects that compliment the setting, and the silky descriptions of the narrator. It is just a very immersive experience.
2) While there is much Christian symbolism in this book, it is subtly done and never feels out of place in the tale itself.
3) The actor voicing the feisty mouse Reepicheep goes a wonderful job bringing this character to life. Though he is not the main character by any means, his appearances always brought a smile to my face and those of my children.
1) As much as I loved the sea voyage and the constant discoveries by the adventurers, I found myself growing weary of yet another island with yet another magical danger or unexpected friend. Indeed, by the time our group discovers Aslan’s Table, I wanted the story to hurry up and get over with all ready.
2) The ending – while heartfelt and moving – left me feeling a little disappointed. I can’t really explain it other than to say that I obviously compared it to the ending of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and – while that comparison might not be fair – The Voyage of the Dawn Treader did not have the same emotional impact as that other parting upon the shores.
All in all, this was an excellent audio book that I would recommend to everyone. I found it very enjoyable and will, undoubtably, listen to it again in the future.