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Reviews: The Chronicles of Narnia

08 Aug

My Summer of Narnia has ended. My time there had been a little bit extended. And it’s somewhere I’ll definitely plan on visiting again!

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

I can see why people the world over has fallen in love with the series. I’m kind of bummed I hadn’t read and appreciated the books sooner! The writing style is like listening to a grandfather telling a story around the fireplace. There are lots of asides, commentary, and personal beliefs thrown into the mix. (Don’t be afraid of the religious allegories!) But, for the most part, it’s an exciting tale full of adventures, heroics, good and evil, flawed beings, and redemption. I highly reading the series in publication order to get the most out of the books.

Below are my reviews for each individual title ranked from my most to least favorite:

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

I definitely haven’t read this before. It was a great return to Narnia- and I highly encourage reading the books in publication order. You get the feeling of being thrown into the middle of things and there’s a sense of excitement in trying to figure out how things fit together.

So much more adventure than The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And, to me, the religious overtones were more apparent here. I wasn’t really bothered by them. In fact, I think it’s great to believe wholeheartedly in things- as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

It’s been a long time since I first read this that it seemed completely new and fresh. There were definitely some things I didn’t remember- and a particular character was a big surprise!

I enjoyed the writing style. The style was very “Come children, let me tell you a story.” For some reason, I found the repeated warnings of not closing the wardrobe door to be hilarious. I’m sure it was a joke.

Edmund was a delightfully wicked character but with very understandable motives. The Professor was an interesting character as well. (Some editions of the books list a cast of characters which spoils who he is!)

I can’t wait to read more!

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

After a rather weak entry with The Silver Chair, The Horse and His Boy is a return to form of what made me start falling in love with The Chronicles of Narnia.

The pace is quicker and easier to get absorbed in the adventure. In fact, I could have read more of this book had there been more pages!

The characters seemed more real because of their flaws. I liked the shades of gray, how Aslan didn’t shy away from doling out punishment when necessary.

The Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

Another delightful travel to Narnia- this time discovering the genesis of the land, of all the magic, and of all the adventures. This is always very tricky but this was done successfully and in an entertaining way. Of course, there were lots of religious references but the story was strong enough on its own. Lots of heart and character growth.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [****]

Once more, a return to Narnia… Familiar faces return. New characters are introduced.

Having this story take place mostly on a ship and the islands they encounter sets it apart from the other books. It had more of a quest feel to it.

I also found this installment slightly more gruesome in parts which is odd considering the other books were about war.

The religious aspects were also more apparent here. I’m actually interested to read more about this (and C.S. Lewis’ life and beliefs, in general) after I finish the series.

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [***]

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [***]

All good things must come to an end- and, overall, The Chronicles of Narnia wasn’t just good, it was great.

Coming up with “Big Bads” in a series is always difficult because how can they top the evilness of the one that came before. But, while I was skeptical with the first few chapters, C.S. Lewis manages to do this successfully. Narnia has never been so bleak and never has there been more at stake than with The Last Battle.

One of the problems I had with this book was that it seemed pretty racist when dealing with the Calormenes. I must have overlooked it during The Horse and His Boy.

The ending was kind of depressing but at least it tried to be hopeful!

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [***]

The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis, Illustrated by Pauline Baynes [***]

This has been the bleakest Narnia yet. Some scenes seemed to have no end in sight. It may be because none of the Pevensies were in this book so I didn’t really care about the characters all that much. And, a piece of furniture as a source of evil? Puh-lease!

Despite all that, this was entertaining- as part of a larger story. At some parts, C.S. Lewis’ writing seemed to have improved. I loved the speech in the cave about beliefs.

And, Puddleglum was quite hilarious in an Eeyore (of Winnie-the-Pooh) and Sheldon (of The Big Bang Theory) way.

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One response to “Reviews: The Chronicles of Narnia

  1. cleopatralovesbooks

    August 8, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    The Magician’s Nephew was my favourite of the whole series.

     

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