The Chronicles of Narnia (#1-7)

ISBN: 0060847131
ISBN 13: 9780060847135
By: C.S. Lewis

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About this book

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, and profoundly allegorical, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope. This boxed set edition includes all seven volumes.

Reader's Thoughts

AJ Griffin

When the Lion/Witch/Wardrobe movie came out a while ago, some dude accosted me and said "Dude, the fucking right wing media is trying to say that the Narnia books are all about fucking Christianity!!!"No shit. I figured that out when I was 9.But who cares? If you can't enjoy these books at all, there is no child alive inside of you. And if you've got no child inside you, you're not very much fun at all, are you?


I can't even begin to count how many times I've read "The Chronicles of Narnia." The truly amazing thing about these books is that each time you read them, they magically become more complex, more meaningful and more beautiful. I first read "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" when I was about seven or eight years old and I did not get it at all. Sure, I followed the story, but the deeper meaning was completely lost on me. Someone later told me that it was a Christian story and when I read the book again as a young teenager, I picked up on that element of it. In the many times I've read the books as an adult, I've come to find that the underlying meaning - not just of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," but of the other books as well - becomes gradually clearer until you can't believe you didn't see it all along. The books are like Narnia itself, unfolding like an onion, layer upon layer, Narnia upon Narnia, but each layer is bigger and better than the one above it. In order of the events that unfold in the story (but not in the order that the books were published), the Chronicles of Narnia include:"The Magician's Nephew" - the Narnian creation story. Two children living in London are magically transported to other worlds and witness the dawn of Narnia. The story incorporates such familiar elements as a Tree of Knowledge and the fall of man."The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" - Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy, four children living in England during World War II, stumble through a magic wardrobe and discover the land of Narnia, which has been ruled for hundreds of years by an evil White Witch who has cast a spell over the land so that it is always winter but never Christmas. With the help of Aslan, the great Lion, they seek to free Narnia. This is the most obvious Christian parable, as Aslan represents Jesus and the story parallels the Resurrection story."The Horse and His Boy" - Takes place during the Golden Age of Narnia, although most of the events unfold elsewhere, in the southern lands of Calormen and Archenland. Shasta, a Calormene fisherman's son, runs away when he hears his father negotiating to sell him into slavery. Together with two talking horses and a noble Calormene girl running away from an arranged marriage, he tries to get to Narnia. The book is a meditation on faith and the concept that God helps those who help themselves. It's also my favorite of the seven books."Prince Caspian" - Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy return to Narnia to help young Prince Caspian recapture the throne of Narnia from his evil uncle Miraz. Not the most overtly religious of the stories."The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" - Edmund, Lucy, and their obnoxious cousin Eustace, join Caspian, now King of Narnia, on a quest to find seven banished lords who had served his father. It doesn't seem all that religious until the end of the book, which encourages people to seek God in their own lives."The Silver Chair" - Eustace, whose personality has dramatically improved thanks to his time in Narnia, returns with his school friend Jill to search for Prince Rilian, Caspian's son who went missing ten (Narnian) years earlier."The Last Battle" - Eustace and Jill return again to Narnia to assist King Tirian, the last King of Narnia, in his final stand. The book is a parable of the End of Days, with chaos, confusion, war, unbelief and the worship of false gods. Tirian, Eustace, Jill and their friends can only hope that Aslan returns to Narnia to deliver them.Read them, then read them again and again and again. You won't be sorry.

Kat Kennedy

I discovered The Chronicles of Narnia when I was six years old halfway through my first year of school. I had discovered the joys of our school library and I still remember the day and the exact shelf where I found The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It was the lowest shelf, the one that rested on the ground and I had to crouch down to wiggle the book out from amongst its peers. By the time I'd finished first grade I'd read them all and searched high and low for any book series that could be as wonderful and magical as this one had been.Now I could dismiss my love of these books as some quaint, childhood memory that I was unwilling to let go of. Certainly that is a factor. However, the magic has never faded. I've read them all so many times that I've memorized them. I've memorized them so thoroughly that I've told them as bed time stories to children that I've done baby sitting for. Children who have loved the stories and begged to go to bed early so that they could hear MORE about Diggory and Polly or Lucy, Peter, Edmund and Susan or more about Shasta and Avaris and so on and so forth.It's not just children, either. My husband and I read a book, a proper book for half an hour for our son every night. For the past month that has been The Chronicles of Narnia. It's gotten to the point where he doesn't want to stop. Our son's bedtime comes and goes and my husband insists on reading just a little bit more. He says things like, "I wish I'd read these as a child! They're fantastic!"Are they perfect? No. The Last Battle is a hard and frustrating read. The Magician's Nephew is a little awkward. The Horse and His Boy is just a TAD controversial for some of its content. But they're so, so worth the read. To me, there's a magic to these books that time and life has never managed to dim.


CS Lewis' Chronicles are a God-send in my world. Although I have listed 1981 as having read them... I have to say that I am constantly re-reading them. Different books for different moods/issues I'm having. I have found they rejuvenate my spirit and my faith. The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle have been read the fewest amount of times-2 each; I think this is because I found no common link with either of them. Voyage of the Dawn Treader has been my favorite, however Puddleglum from The Silver Chair is my favorite character. I feel most calmed by The Magician's Nephew-probably because of the quiet world between the worlds. Each book gave a story... most of which children could relate to... however each time I have re-read these books, more insight is given to the Christian world and I delve more deeply into their meanings and their correspondence with different biblical stories. Then, sometimes I just read them to rid myself of the taints of today's world. Excellent motivational books. Easy to read.


A mostly well-written, very imaginative, thoroughly enjoyable read. The narration is warm and witty, the protagonists are well developed and likable but not perfect (written perfectly, but with flaws that give the stories depth), and the settings are vivid and fantastic (remember those loony one-footed invisible things that hop around? and the ending, when the boat sails over that undersea city and then into the clouds at the edge of the world?).I'm always annoyed when people confound the quality of this series as literature with the quality of the worldview it allegedly expounds, as if the literary world is some kind of neo-Stalinist monolith where the only legitimate art is that which edifies us by propounding a correct ethical system. It's just a story, and a good one at that. Furthermore, as an atheist, I think 1) the religious content of the novels is overstated, and 2) even if it isn't, oh fucking well, that doesn't detract from the novels one whit. The books really don't have any more to do with Christianity in particular than does any other story with a character who gives up his life to save others. See Harry Potter 7; see also, religious archetypes in general. As for the Calormen, I think it's highly possible that the garb was just supposed to convey the exotic, and this particular nation just happens to be bad in the world of the book. Everything is not a political statement. The good faun from LW&W is not a statement about how pagan nature religions are good; likewise, I just don't see that the bad Calormen are necessarily a statement about how the people who once wore curly-toed shoes in the real world are bad.In sum, it's a good story, and even if all the criticisms of the book-- it's racist, it's Christian, etc.-- are true, it's still a good story, and if all I ever read were wholesome books explicitly conveying a wonderful worldview, I would be bored as hell.


I love how you can see Aslan as Jesus giving up his life for us. And the greater power or deaper magic that brings him back to life

Book Elf

When I first grabbed the book, my thought was, "Oh my! There's a whole lot to read." As you can see, I have watched the Chronicles of Narnia movies 1 to 3 (The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of The Dawn Treader) before reading the book itself, and it was so thick!. So when I came across the 1st book, I was puzzled. I thought, "oh, so The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe was not the first book." Which made me felt silly. Then I read on.The Magician's Nephew was a delight read! This was the origin of the realms of Narnia. And as I have known the story of the wardrobe as their gateway to Narnia, it was exciting to know where it all started. And my curiosity was satisfied in this episode. It was like being kid again and really being in this adventure.Then, this episode of the infamous The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was exactly as what the movie has reeled. So, while I was reading, it was confirming the story in my head as I have seen it. But it gave me a more learned sense why Aslan was someone to fear with by the enemies. So, I had admired Aslan more while reading on.The Horse and His Boy was something else. I enjoyed every bit of it. It's like learning moral values from your father through his story. How the fate has played its part. It's a very simple story but it has a great impact to me, it became my favorite book on all 7 books. In here, there were no sons of Adam nor daughters of Eve from our world. Just a story about a prince who got separated from his family because of the prophecy that he will unknowingly fulfill. (Of course with Aslan's grace.)The fourth book was turned into a film too...Prince Caspian. There were no love interest between Susan and Caspian in the book. The movie seemed to be grandeur than the book, nevertheless, I liked the book.The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was my favorite movie amongst the Narnia films. It was the most exciting of their adventures as there were so many things going on in this story. They traveled to seek for the 7 Lords of Narnia and what they found was one of a kind journey to the ends of the world. I like the character of Eustace when he became the dragon (oops, that's a spoiler!) and in here Caspian found his wife.Then, The Silver Chair was a different story where they embarked on a quests underworld. But before that, there were Gentle Giants who were not so gentle . Makes me recall the story about Jack and the Beanstalk. Exciting. Dangerous. When I started reading it, I didn't want to stop. It seemed on every page I was on the height of thrill.Finally, The Last Battle, the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, was a wonderful conclusion. I was so dismayed with talking ape named Shift (who was the villain) but hey, it was his job to make the reader angry. It was so effective that I wanted to port to Narnia to give him a slap in his crumpled face (because he was an old ape). So, again, Eustace and Jill came to the rescue. I was not so sure how it would go really, I thought that no one from our world would come, but they did. I was glad. Then the seven Kings and Queens came~~and I won't spoil it. You read the book to know why they came and I promised a nice ending awaits you.While I was reading the last bit, I thought of the new heaven and earth that was promised to us by God. Because the story came to me like that, where everything is new and wonderful that you really can't describe it.Clive S. Lewis was a great story teller. It felt like he was just there telling the story to me. How he put it to words were so amazingly simple to understand, yet very detailed and witty. I gave 5 stars to all books, they deserve it!

Brian S

I made it through all 7 books, which says something. They are enjoyable, extremely quick reads, definitely tailored to children or adolescents. The Christian typology is quite obvious to an adult reader, although I'm not sure it would be to a child. It makes for an interesting dilemma. Lewis has created a series of worlds where individuals and events are near exact replicas of individuals and events in Christian salvation history, yet his worlds don't quite match up with the real world in detail or breadth. The result is that events that occur both in the Chronicles of Narnia and in Christian salvation history (i.e., the death and resurrection of Christ/Aslan) are different theologically and in effect. I guess it’s not really a big deal, but I wonder how it would play out in the mind of a child who might understand the Chronicles of Narnia long before he understands the corresponding events in the real world. Probably that concern is baseless because children will read and love the Chronicles for the story and adventure and will come away with a sense of good doing battle with evil and individuals choosing which side they want to be on. I would guess that was C.S. Lewis' intention. My rating reflects what I thought as an adult reader, not how good I think these are as children's books.

B u n n y

*In realtà sarebbero 3 stelle e mezzo* Ho valutato singolarmente i sette libri contenuti e fatto una specie di media. Tra questi sette i miei preferiti sono, sicuramente, "Un Cavallo e il SUo Ragazzo" e "Il Viaggio del Veliero". La figura del principe Caspian che viene introdotta dopo un po' non mi ha fatta impazzire, non a caso il libro che porta il suo nome ha ricevuto due stelline. Ho preferito l'ordine cronologico a quello di pubblicazione, non sono convinta che avrei apprezzato le storie allo stesso modo. Essendo un libro indirizzato a un pubblico più giovane di me -ho quasi vent'anni, non é che sia da ospizio- avevo paura di non ritrovarmi coinvolta ma nella maggior parte dei casi non é stato così. Lo considero un classico del fantasy e ora che sto ricominciando a leggere questo genere mi sembrava doveroso leggerlo, inoltre i libri giganteschi hanno un certo fascino su di me.


I have loved these books my whole life. They are frequently misread, I think, by people who insist that everything in Narnia has to "equal" something in our world (Aslan=Jesus, Calormens=Muslims, Tash=Satan, etc.) While Lewis is clearly writing about God, as I read it, he is imagining how the Christian God might reveal himself in another world rather than allegorizing our own. Aslan is not "Jesus," but rather the earthly aspect of God as he reveals himself in Narnia. The Calormens are not Muslims, but rather another culture in the universe of Narnia that worships another god. Tash, I suppose should be read as Satan as he reveals himself in the universe of Narnia, but again, the point is how these forces function in this fictional universe, not what the characters "represent" from our own world. Anyway, these books are great, and I encourage adults as well as children to give them a shot. All due respect to the movies, but as usual the books are much better.

Pippi Bluestocking

Narnia could have been so great. I'm sad I'm giving her only one star, but she "is NOT ok". It's a blatant, poorly done catholic propaganda. The occasional genius C.S. Lewis displays is overriden by his sexism and preaching. I'm sorry, but they're not good books; not for children and not for adults either. Read His Dark Materials Instead.


I was in college the first time I read all the Chronicles of Narnia. Eight years later, I was ecstatic to get the whole set for free through the Goodreads first reader program. (Thanks to Harper Collins.) This time around I enjoyed them quite a bit more and understood the symbolism a little better. Rating on story alone I probably would give them three or four stars. But because all the stories are so deep in meaning and strike a chord with Christians everywhere, I've bumped the series up to AMAZING.I've reviewed each book individually (in order.) Don't expect to find anything profound or insightful in any of my comments. I just recorded how the books made me feel and what I found particularly great (or not-so-great) about them.The Magician's Nephew, the first book in the Narnia series (which was actually the sixth published) receives 5 stars from me. (Here they are: * * * * *)Although I read this book only a couple years ago to my wife, I found it just as enjoyable the second time. The first half of the book (Polly and Diggory's discovery of magic travel and struggles with the witch) is basically the main story, while the second half (Founding of Narnia) is a very long denouement. Although the falling action is full of annoying animal conversation and endless description of landscape, the symbolism is quite poignant. If the book was split into two I would give the first 5 stars and the second 4. But together the first half easily makes up for the meandering finish. Why do I love the beginning so much? Very clever writing, a terribly gripping plot (I've said before that the Wood between Worlds is the most exciting concept I've ever encountered in any book), and of course the great one liners. For example, "That's absolute bosh from beginning to end."The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the most well known of the seven books, and it's one of my favorites. Even so, I grew a little bored reading this one, and I attribute it to the many readings and countless film adaptations I've ingested over the years. Unlike the Magician's Nephew, this has a great cohesive plot from beginning to end. And even if Aslan does come in at the end and save the day a little easily, the Christian symbolism is nicely done. Five stars.A Horse and His Boy was an incredibly engaging story from beginning to end. (5 stars) The symbolism of God helping us through our tough times brought me close to tears, and it was so satisfying to see justice served in the end. It took me until now to comprehend the cleverness of the title. (My mind always just switched the horse and boy around.) I'll end with one of my favorite lines uttered by King Lune: "Have we no more gravity among us than to be so chafed by the taunt of a pajock?"Prince Caspian was a great book (four stars), although in general I enjoyed the movie more. The duel between Miraz and Peter, however, was actually better in the book. Lewis has an incredible knack for making you feel like you're there watching. One of my favorite lines: "That's the worst of girls," said Edmund to Peter and the Dwarf. "They never carry a map in their heads.""That's because our heads have something inside them," said Lucy.Something else that I found funny was the difference in language and meaning. This line for example would probably have to be cut from any of today's children's books: "Of course, if the children had attempted a journey like this a few days ago in England, they would have been knocked up."One thing I didn't understand was this: The Pevensies are called into Narnia by the horn and then it takes them a few days to get to where Prince Caspian is (I think they sleep at least twice.) But then when they get there they hear Caspian saying he blew it just that morning. (p.391) Did I just read it wrong? Can someone explain this to me? After re-reading The Voyage of the Dawn Treader my hat goes off to the three screenplay writers that adapted this for film. Lewis's original is rich with originality and symbolism, but destitute in storyline. The movie somehow brought together all the episodic "lessons" and turned it into a cohesive whole. Now I remember why this book wasn't one of my favorites. Not enough story to sink my teeth into. Still, it was an enjoyable read. I would probably get more out of the novels if I was astute enough to understand all the symbolism. With this book, I quite often said to myself, "I know that last story was supposed to mean something...oh well, let's see if anything cool happens on the next island."The best line of the book was also the first: "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."Three stars for Voyage of the Dawn Treader. * * * And three cheers for me for getting through these so quickly with three kids and a full time job.I enjoyed The Silver Chair much more the second time. (4 stars) I'd remembered the Marsh-Wiggle as being exceptionally annoying. This time I found Puddleglum's constant pessimism exceptionally funny. (I'm not sure what that says about me now.) The plot was very well formed with a beginning, middle, and end (this one should convert very nicely to film.) I really liked the symbolism of the Queen trying to convince them there was no overland (akin to unbelievers trying to convince us there is no God or heaven.) And I now know this is immature, but I just have to share a few more of the tidbits that sound funny in our modern culture. (Apologies to Clive Staples.) "Gay," said Puddleglum with a deep sigh. "Thats what weve got to be. Gay." ... "All right. Gay's the word," said Scrubb. "Now, if we could only get someone to open this door. While were fooling about and being gay, weve got to find out all we can about this castle."I'll finish with one more passage and just let you wonder what it's really about. (Hint: Lewis's intentions were rated G.) She made love to everyone - the grooms, the porters, the housemaids, the ladies-in-waiting, and the elderly giant lords whose hunting days were past. She submitted to being kissed and pawed about by any number of giantesses, many of whom seemed sorry for her...The Last Battle started out with a great story, but then kind of threw the plot away to make room for the powerful end of the world allegory. Although I did appreciate Lewis's amazing insights into what the end of the world will be like (and the profound symbolism of Christ as Alsan), I would've also like to have seen the characters find a way out of their predicament without being magicked away. I guess in this last book at least, I can't satisfy both my need for story and need for meaningful symbolism. Overall, C. S. Lewis does an amazing job crafting stories that ring true to Christians and Story Lovers alike. The writing is good enough that you can choose to ignore all the deeper meanings. Why anyone would do that, however, makes as much sense to me as a Liberal watching Fox News to get the weather.


** spoiler alert ** It's been over 10 years (at least, probably more) since the last time I read The Chronicles of Narnia. I've always felt a little bad about giving the entire series only 2 stars; I must have been in a particularly snarky mood the day I added it to my GR shelf. I think it definitely deserves at least 3 stars. They don't have the depth and complexity of his friend Tolkien's work but then Narnia was not quite the focus of Lewis' life as Middle Earth was Tolkien's. And, even if one can't accept the religious/philosophical basis of Lewis' world, one can hardly argue with the moral lessons his heroes learn. I just finished The Magician's Nephew, and am on Chapter 2 of the classic The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as I write this first installment of my review(s). The Magician's Nephew, read 6/3 - 3 stars: I recall especially liking this installment in the series because it went back and explained who the White Witch was and where she came from. The story's simple enough: Digory and Polly become friends one summer in London. In exploring the rowhouses where they live, they inadvertently stumble upon Digory's uncle's study, where his uncle tricks Polly into touching a magic ring that transports her to another world. In order to bring her back, Digory must use a second ring to follow Polly. They wind up on the dying world of Charn and, there, Digory's unwise curiosity awakens Jadis, the future White Witch. When her sister's rebel armies threatened to depose her from the throne, Jadis uttered the "Deplorable Word" and destroyed all life on the planet (which, if you think about it, is pretty "heavy" stuff for a book geared toward the 8-12 crowd). Well, Jadis follows the children back to London. Trying to escape from her, Digory, Polly, the uncle, and a hapless cabbie and his horse wind up in Narnia on the morning when Aslan sings the world into being. This is another favorite part of the book for me because it pays homage to the importance of language in defining the world. Digory must embark on a short quest (aided by Polly and the cabbie's horse, transformed by Aslan into a pegasus) to retrieve a silver apple from the Western Wilds to atone for bringing evil (Jadis) into the world, and doesn't succumb to using the apple for his own, selfish purposes. Meanwhile, Aslan has made the cabbie (Frank) and his wife (Helen, who the Lion's brought over from our Earth) the first king and queen of Narnia. Digory and Polly (and his chastised uncle) are returned to Earth, where Digory plants a seed from the fruit that he retrieved for Aslan, which subsequently grows into the tree that provides the wood for the wardrobe that Lucy Pevensie stumbles into 50 years later. Overall, a good if slight read. You can certainly read a lot into it if you're aware of Lewis' more serious works but you don't need to to enjoy the basic tale of human decency. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, read 6/7 - 3 stars: I won't go into any remarks about the story as anyone who's conceivably interested in this review is probably already familiar with it via their own reading or seeing the movie, which remained pretty faithful to the novel.It's unfortunate but these books (for me, at any rate) don't hold up well after 30 years. I like the Pevensie kids but Lewis doesn't really develop them as characters (we only understand that Edmund's been a creep only since he's been away to boarding school in a throw-away line toward the end) and there's never a great feeling of menace. I'm not a huge fan of the movie but I think it was better in this sense than Lewis.Shortly, I'll be hitting the library for books 3 and 4 (The Horse and His Boy and Prince Caspian), which I only vaguely remember. I do so not with a sense of dread - I'm actually enjoying these rereads, though the tone of these updates may not convey that very well. The Horse and His Boy, read 6/11 - 2.5 stars: The tale for every kid who's gone through that phase when they really dislike their parents: They're not really your parents; and you're really the son of a king! Throw in a couple of talking horses trying to get back to Narnia, another child escaping a planned marriage and the malicious plotting of a foreign prince with his eyes on Queen Susan and you have the ingredients for a pleasant adventure tale.As I've discovered with the previous books, there's not much meat on these bones in terms of character or suspense. And the "folksy" writing style may charm an 8-year old but it falls flat in this adult's reading.And then there's the issue of just how racist and politically incorrect can the portrayal of the Calormenes get. I can see why the issue comes up but I've never understood why people expect anything different from an Irishman born and raised in the late Victorian Era. Now, if the Pevensies had been 2nd-generation Indian immigrants and Fabian socialists that would have been unexpected. Note, too, that Aravis, a full-blooded Calormene, is not only accepted into Narnian-Archenland society but becomes queen of Archenland and mother to that nation's greatest king, Ram.If there's any bigotry present in the story, it's religious - anything that doesn't agree with Lewis' interpretation of "The Truth" must be wrong and can only lead to evil. Here Lewis just hasn't taken the time to develop a nuanced view of the subject. And, considering his audience, I don't blame him. What 8-year old want to hear the debate about the relative merits of Aslan (Jesus) vs. Tash (Allah?, OT Yahweh?, any pagan idol?)? Prince Caspian, read 6/12 - 2.5 stars: I just watched the 2008 movie, "Prince Caspian." It's rare but I must say the film improved upon the book, particularly in evoking a greater sense of menace from the Telmarines. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, read 6/14 - 2.5 stars: I first noticed this in Prince Caspian: Lewis never refers to his nonhumans characters as "he" or "she." It's always as "it," even the Dwarfs are nongendered objects - "Trumpkin was named regent in Prince Caspian's absence. It ruled as his viceroy." Decidedly odd.I've always linked Dawn Treader to the The Odyssey. I think because of the sailing aspect of the tale since there's not much Homeric about the story. The Silver Chair, read 6/15, 3.2 stars: Outside of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, this is the most enjoyable of the novels I've reread so far. The story introduces two new children - Eustace Scrubb and Jill Pole. Actually, we met Eustace in Dawn Treader but The Silver Chair is Eustace's story; he isn't tagging along with the Pevensies.Also, Aslan is not relied upon as a deus ex machina except at the end when his back terrifies the bullies at Eustace's and Jill's "progressive" school.There's no overly or overtly Christian symbology. I'm sure you could find it if you looked but it doesn't hit you over the head as some episodes elsewhere in the series do. (Meeting the Lamb in Dawn Treader, for example.)I also liked Puddleglum the Marshwiggle very much. He worked well for me. The Last Battle, read 6/16, 2 stars: Easily the worst of the series unless you're a Christian and/or a Platonist. The tale begins promisingly enough: The ape Shift convinces his not-very-bright-but-essentially-good friend, the donkey Puzzle, to put on a lion's skin that has washed up in their pond and pretend to be Aslan. Hiding Puzzle in a stable and only letting people see him at night, Shift terrorizes the Talking Animals into obeying him. He also makes the mistake of inviting the Calormenes in. In short order, Shift is a drunken mess and the Calormenes are chopping down the dryads' trees and enslaving the Narnians. I think I got the wrong lesson from this: Never blindly follow authority figures. The Talking Animals (and the humans) are so afraid that the creature in the stable might be Aslan that they hardly question Shift's insane demands. At this point any pretense to story ends and the remainder of the book is a retelling of the Last Days of Revelation. The world comes to an end; the righteous move on to Heaven, the damned to oblivion. (I will say there's no hint of hellfire. Those not worthy simply cease to exist - punishment enough, I suupose.)And the tone of the story is "off" compared to the rest of the books. It's grim and savage in a way that similar scenes in the earlier novels were not. The events I have in mind are the Giants of Harfang in The Silver Chair and the Dwarfs here. You knew the Giants planned to eat Eustace and Jill (and Puddleglum, though they probably wouldn't have enjoyed that much) but you also knew that the children would get out of it. You could laugh at the fat Giant queen, and the only suspense was wondering how they would escape. Compare that to the Dwarfs massacring the Talking Horses or the complete destruction of the entire Pevensie clan (except Susan), Eustace, Jill, Digory & Polly in a catastrophic train wreck.Overall: Like Tolkien's The Hobbit, though to a lesser degree there, The Chronicles don't wear well past childhood but I'm glad I took the time to revisit them.


I'm a little torn. I'm going to review all of them all at once even though the version that I own are the seven separate books. The over all plot of this series is epic and it comes to a conclusion that you don't see often in children's literature. Having said that some of the books really aren't that good. Silver Chair and The Horse and His Boy both come to mind. Without those two books the series would be much stronger. It almost feels like those two were thrown in to get to the number 7 (for symbolism and all that). If you're into allegory and you want a mostly harmless series to read to your children I would recommend books 1-6. Save book 7 until they're older because... Well at the very least read it yourself before reading it to them.

Scribble Orca

A classic, breath-taking series about a hidden world, good versus evil, strange characters and growing up. Probably best enjoyed as a child, because an adult might find the religious themes detract from the wonderful story-telling.

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