I have been reading the Chronicles of Narnia to my youngest daughter. I have decided to read them in chronological order rather than publication. So we read the Horse and His Boy third, even though it was the fifth one published. That is because it takes place during the events of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
I read all of the books years ago, but I find that I have forgotten much. However, of the three books that I have re-read, the Horse and His Boy is so far my least favourite. That is not to say it is a bad story or that I didn’t enjoy it. C.S. Lewis, even at his worst, is still brilliant.
I would say that I enjoyed it less than the others because it feels the least like a Narnian book. Much of it takes place outside of the country of Narnia and the main characters are not from England. In many ways, it feels like a non-Narnia story inserted into the Narnian world. Sort of like what Tolkien did with Tom Bombadil.
One of the things that I found strange is the presence of the human cultures. During the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Witch seemed surprised to discover humans. You don’t get the sense that the Witch would encounter other humans from the south. The humans in Prince Caspian make more sense because it takes place many years after the defeat of the Witch.
That is not to say I didn’t like the book. It was enjoyable and I found the characters quite interesting. I’m glad I read it, even if it didn’t feel very Narnian.