I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Bree, the talking horse, has been kidnapped from Narnia, and longs to return. Shasta decides to run away with him. Before they know it, they are on a wild and dangerous journey together, through strange cities, eerie tombs and harsh deserts.
I know for a fact that I read this book as a child. We had a small school library and I read every book in it that had anything to do with horses. I have always been obsessive like that--when I find a subject that interests me, I read everything I can get my hands on about it. Despite this, I did not remember a word of The Horse and His Boy.
My first thought is that the title would make you believe that it was Bree, the Narnian horse, who should have been telling the tale. Instead, it is largely seen from Shasta’s point of view.
There are some very obvious Christian allusions in this book. While Shasta is going to Narnia to warn the kingdom of invasion, there is a very Psalm-like portion where Aslan walks by his side (and, he realizes later, protects him from walking over a cliff). It’s a very “In the valley of the shadow of death” moment. Plus, there is a “Doubting Thomas” event as well, where Aslan allows the doubter to touch him, to see that he is real.
I also found it interesting how Lewis combined Greek mythology with Christian influences. That was particularly strong when the stubborn prince is turned into a donkey. Aslan gives him a solution--he can go to his kingdom’s harvest festival and become a man again by presenting himself in the temple. He must stay within a certain radius of this temple to avoid becoming a donkey on a permanent basis. This part of the tale reminded me strongly of Aesop’s Fables.
I don’t know why this story didn’t grab me when I was a child, but it didn’t. Now, as an older adult, I am well past the age that it was written for. I doubt that I will ever read it again, but I will finish this series eventually.