I’m finding it interesting to read all the books in a series consecutively, because it means that I know exactly what book I’m going to read before I finish the one I’m currently working on. There’s no need to look over the books in my shelves to see which seems like a good option.
Also, because these Narnia books are such quick reads, I’m writing the review for book 2 while reading book 5. Being so far ahead gives me some additional context when writing about my opinion on the value an individual book adds to the series.
Keep in mind that I’m reading the series in order of publication. More recent editions of the series rearranged the books into chronological order.
As far as the setting for Prince Caspian is concerned, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are back in Narnia only to find that, during the year they were away, hundreds or even thousands of years have passed in Narnia.
On top of that, the Narnia they knew – the Narnia of talking animals and mythical creatures – has nearly been wiped out by the Telmarines (humans).
I appreciated Prince Caspian because it still felt like it had a purpose in the same way that The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe had a purpose (which isn’t something I can say about some of the other books in the series).
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe introduces you to the main characters, takes you on your first adventure in Narnia, and could potentially have been a solid standalone children’s book
Prince Caspian gives a prime example of how time moves differently in Narnia than it does in our world, introduces you to a “new” Narnia, and takes you on a journey that you’re emotionally invested in as they try to save the “old” Narnia.
Also, I noticed a slight difference in maturity level in this book. Not only are the children a year older than they were in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but Prince Caspian feels like it was written for a slightly older audience. Not much older, as it’s still a children’s book. But it doesn’t feel as lighthearted, and there is more detail throughout the book.
I wouldn’t say it’s as good as the first one, but I’d still recommend it as an entertaining children’s book.