Sunday, February 17, 2013

Book Review: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Seven magical adventures that can be enjoyed by all ages.
Cons: None
The Bottom Line:
Visit Narnia
Young and old alike will love
These classic stories

Classic Fantasy Series that Still Entertains

I first read The Chronicles of Narnia when I was in third grade.  It was about this time that I learned I could not read two books at the same time.  I was reading a Hardy Boys books while also reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and returned it to the library unfinished so I could concentrate on Narnia.

The stories center around kids from our world who are magically drawn into Narnia.  Narnia is your classic fantasy world with talking animals, witches, dwarfs, tree spirits, and giants.  The kids are always called into the world during a time of crisis, so there is a quest they need to fulfill, with the fate of Narnia resting in the balance.

You can read these books as straight fantasy, and many people do.  As a Christian, I certainly do enjoy the symbolism and allegory that C. S. Lewis put into them.  Some books are obvious, but some are much more subtle with their meaning.  A few still elude me many years and many rereads later.  Even so, those books have scenes and pieces that mean something to me.  The most obvious symbol is Aslan, the lion who rules Narnia.  He is obviously a representation of Jesus Christ.

There is, of course, the matter of series order.  The books were originally published in one order, but two of them took place earlier in the series.  Now, the series is pretty much always listed in chronological order.  I read them in publication order, and it's hard for me to view them in any other order.

So what order do I recommend reading them in?  Yes.  Just read them.  The stories pretty much stand on their own, so it's fine to read them in any order you want.  However, some references are made to past events so it's best to pick one order and stick with it.

I'm going to list the books in publication order yet number them in chronological order.  How's that for confusing?

2. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
4. Prince Caspian
5. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
6. The Silver Chair
3. The Horse and His Boy
1. The Magician's Nephew
7. The Last Battle

If you stick with one of those orders, you'll be fine.

Personally, my favorite is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which I read first.  It is pure magic.  My second favorite, actually, is The Last Battle.  I didn't like it the first time I read it, but when I reread it in sixth grade, I found Lewis' take on the Biblical book of Revelation very enriching.  And I just loved the final scene, which I had hated before.  Honestly, I want a quote from Aslan from this book on my tombstone.  "The term has ended.  The holiday has begun."

These are classics, so many people have read them.  If you aren't one of them, fix that today.  Personally, I think I might need to find time for a reread of one or all of them soon.  Just talking about The Chronicles of Narnia has made me want to revisit these old friends.

This is my entry for this week's Marvelous Middle Grade Monday, hosted by Shannon Messenger.  Stop by and see what else people are reading.


  1. I read each of these aloud with my two kids, and just the other day, my daughter said, "But we don't own them, Mom." What a travesty! Will be remedied soon because they are certainly books that get re-read over and over.

  2. I loved these as a kid too, and have happy memories of my parents reading them to us. I've read them all tons of times myself, and read them to my oldest son. Do you have a recommendation about which Narnia movies are best?

  3. Barbara - You don't have the books? Get thee to a bookstore and buy them today! I still have the copies I bought when I was in 3rd grade with my own money. They are showing their years, but I love them.

    Andromeda - I must admit I've never seen the animated Lion, Witch, Wardrobe. I liked the BBC versions as a kid, and they are very accurate. They are also very slow moving and the acting is iffy as an adult. Of the modern movies, I loved the Lion, Witch Wardrobe. It was perfect, as far as I was concerned. Prince Caspian was fine, but they changed so much from Voyage of the Dawn Treader that it was a mess.

  4. I LOVE this series! I read it growing up and every time I reread them they are just as magical. Awesome post! So glad I found your blog. I want to visit Narnia. :)

  5. Yeah. I love this series on every reread, too.

    I'm glad you stopped by.