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The Siege of Shah Island Review by Heather RandallBy Dorothy E. Robbins
11037 Erickson Way #79
Redding, CA 96003
The Siege of Shah Island is a fiction novel influenced by C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. The main characters in the novel, Betts and Dennis, magically encounter an alternate Narnia called Shahlasia. In Shalasia, Aslan is known as Aryehn. Together the two American children find adventure and meaning in Shalasia as they seek to help restore the castle to the rightful king.
The Siege of Shah Island could be read aloud or independently. I think third and fourth graders would enjoy the story the most. Having knowledge of The Chronicles of Narnia would also be helpful.
The Siege of Shah Island was a bit of a disappointment to me. The author makes no apologies for using classic characters and plot lines as her inspiration. Aryehn is described not as an alternate to Aslan, but as the original Aslan transformed into Aryehn for his visit in Shalasia. This bordered on copyright violation, bothered me a lot, and took away from the story. I thought a lot of elements in The Siege of Shah Island were obvious and poor imitations of the original Narnia. The story lacks imagination and originality. My eight-year-old actually liked the story, but she has never read The Chronicles of Narnia. I was hesitant to let her read The Siege of Shah Island because I think it detracts from the impact of C.S Lewis's story. I recommend skipping this book or using it to teach older children about inspiration in art versus imitation. The Siege of Shah Island was just too much imitation for me to enjoy.