The Horse and His Boy is the only book in the Chronicles of Narnia that doesn’t involve children from our world magically finding themselves in Narnia.
In the first book – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – there is a period of time near the end of the book when the four Pevensie siblings rule Narnia as Kings and Queens.
The Horse and His Boy is a story of a couple of children (not from our world), and a couple of talking horses, who have their own adventure during the period of time that Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy are ruling Narnia.
If you’ve been reading my reviews on the previous books in the series, you already know that I feel that some of them (books 3 & 4) don’t really add much to the series, other than being adventures for children. However, I have to admit that each book does teach the reader something new about the magical world C.S. Lewis has created.
Where other books might spend time on developing the characters, the Chronicles of Narnia seem to be focusing more on “world development”. For example, even though we refer to this magical world as Narnia, it gets its name because of the country Narnia (which is only a portion of this world.) This country called Narnia is where the events in book 1 take place, and what most people think of when they haven’t read the entire series.
Also, guess what else…
In book 3 we learn what is East of Narnia
In book 4 we learn what is North of Narnia
Now that we’ve made it to book 5, we finally learn what is South of Narnia
Some might say that this world development is the point of having so many books. And sure, I see the point. But couldn’t there be something else more substantial in each book to accompany the geography lessons?
The characters in The Horse and His Boy don’t appear again until a curtain call at the end of the series, and the only thing we really take with us is the name of the countries south of Narnia. Knowing about these countries is helpful when reading book 7.
Overall, The Horse and His Boy is my least favorite book of the entire series. And that’s not to say it’s a bad book. The Chronicles of Narnia are classics, and C.S. Lewis is an accomplished author.
It just feels like this book could have been omitted, and, as long as you’re aware there is a country called Calormen south of Narnia, you’re set for book 7.