REVIEW: The Magician’ s Nephew

Though C.S. Lewis’ The Magician’s Nephew contains many of his signature strengths as a writer as described here, it lacks in one vital area. Written as a precursor to The Chronicles of Narnia, it serves its purpose in creating a foundation for Narnia, it does little else. The Magician’s Nephew is, quite obviously, an afterthought.

Learning the history of a beloved magical world is intriguing, but this novel doesn’t add to, or enrich the experience of the rest of the series, being neither compelling or vital to the series.

While our young and adventurous protagonists, Diggory and Polly, do breathe life into The Magician’s Nephew, the surrounding characters appear to be thrown in simply to move the plot forward. It’s like coming up with a great punch line to a joke, and stumbling over the creation of the set up.

Am I disappointed I read The Magician’s Nephew? No. Do I think it is a requisite read in order to thoroughly experience The Chronicles of Narnia? No.

Rating: 3.5 Magic Rings

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REVIEW: Survivor

As discussed in my reviews for Another Roadside Attraction & Invisible Monsters, Chuck Palahniuk and I have had a long and turbulent relationship. After reading 5 novels of Palahniuk’s with the hope of rekindling our initial love affair which began with Fight Club, I finally found a work that justifies the special and twisted place he holds in my heart.

Survivor, stemming from another warped and satirical Palahniuk premise, has a sensitivity and depth to it, which engages the reader nailing you to your seat from beginning to end.

At the center of this nosedive of a novel is our protagonist, Tender Branson; a misplaced soul, with an intriguing and disturbing narrative. Branson, one of Palahniuk’s strongest characters, worms his way into your mind, gets you hooked, and then heartbroken when you have to part ways.

I expect to weep upon finishing a Hemingway; I never expected to weep when finishing a Palahniuk.

Welcome back to my heart, Chuck.

Rating: 4 Black Boxes