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Librarian note: An alternate cover for this edition can be found here: 2005.

Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could any reader ask for in one book? The book that has it all is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, written in 1949 by Clive Staples Lewis. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia.

For the past fifty years, The Chronicles of Narnia have transcended the fantasy genre to become part of the canon of classic literature. Each of the seven books is a masterpiece, drawing the reader into a land where magic meets reality, and the result is a fictional world whose scope has fascinated generations.

This edition presents all seven books—unabridged—in one impressive volume. The books are presented here in chronlogical order, each chapter graced with an illustration by the original artist, Pauline Baynes. Deceptively simple and direct, The Chronicles of Narnia continue to captivate fans with adventures, characters, and truths that speak to readers of all ages, even fifty years after they were first published.

767 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1956

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About the author

C.S. Lewis

1,406 books40.9k followers
Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Clive Staples Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the twentieth century and arguably one of the most influential writers of his day. He was a Fellow and Tutor in English Literature at Oxford University until 1954. He was unanimously elected to the Chair of Medieval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge University, a position he held until his retirement. He wrote more than thirty books, allowing him to reach a vast audience, and his works continue to attract thousands of new readers every year. His most distinguished and popular accomplishments include Mere Christianity, Out of the Silent Planet, The Great Divorce, The Screwtape Letters, and the universally acknowledged classics The Chronicles of Narnia. To date, the Narnia books have sold over 100 million copies and been transformed into three major motion pictures.

Lewis was married to poet Joy Davidman.
W.H. Lewis was his elder brother]

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 12,176 reviews
Profile Image for AJ Griffin.
63 reviews447 followers
July 3, 2007
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?
Profile Image for Charlotte May.
720 reviews1,116 followers
October 6, 2017
I love Narnia! Of course it's not perfect, but they are such wonderful stories, paving the way for so many other fantasy worlds that followed. Sure they've got the allegorical Christian background, and some of Lewis' wording and phrases wouldn't pass as politically correct now. But if you can look past these small details, Narnia is a truly magical place, the stories iconic, I will never forget them.

The Magicians Nephew

"By gum," said Digory, "don't I just wish I was big enough to punch your head!"

The creation story of Narnia. Young Polly and Diggory are swept up in the experiments of a magician attempting to find other worlds. In doing so they discover the beginning of Narnia, and so start off the tales.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

"Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you."

The most well known of the Narnian chronicles. Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy discover Narnia through the back of a wardrobe. Their battles with the white witch are legendary.

The Horse and his Boy

"Do not by any means destroy yourself, for if you live you may yet have good fortune but all the dead are dead alike."

This one though based when the Pevensie children are still in Narnia the focus is on two young Calormene children, Shasta and Aravis. Having both run away - they seek a better life in Narnia, becoming involved in a battle between the Narnians and the Calormenes.

Prince Caspian

"But things never happen the same way twice. It has been hard for us all in Narnia before now."

The Pevensie children return to Narnia after a gap of several hundred years (though to the children only 1 year of our time has passed.) They aid the rightful heir to the throne in his attempts to stop his evil uncle from destroying Narnia.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

A swashbuckling tale full of adventures! Only Edmund and Lucy return this time, taking with them their dreadful cousin Eustace. They land on the deck of a ship with Prince Caspian - on a journey to find 7 missing dukes.

The Silver Chair

"He was not a perfectly enormous giant; that is to say, he was rather taller than an apple tree but nothing like so tall as a telegraph pole."

Eustace returns with a school friend Jill. To find the missing Prince whose disappearance has led to numerous others going missing in search of him. Their journey takes them to the land of giants and to the world underground. Also the best character - Puddleglum the Marsh Wiggle is in this one. I love him!

The Last Battle

"All worlds draw to an end and that noble death is a treasure which no one is too poor to buy."

A fantastic conclusion! An evil ape is using trickery and deceit to cause the Narnians to live in fear. This is the battle to end all battles and none will be the same again!

5 stars! Narnia is a wonderful place with the most incredible cast of characters. Like I said it certainly has flaws but its achievements overcome those big time!

"All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on Earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews33 followers
August 18, 2021
The Chronicles of Narnia (Chronicles of Narnia #1-7), C.S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven fantasy novels by C. S. Lewis.

It is considered a classic of children's literature and is the author's best-known work, having sold over 100 million copies in 47 languages.

Written by Lewis, illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and originally published in London between 1950 and 1956, The Chronicles of Narnia has been adapted several times, complete or in part, for radio, television, the stage, and film.

Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of that world.

Except in The Horse and His Boy, the protagonists are all children from the real world, magically transported to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line.

The books span the entire history of Narnia, from its creation in The Magician's Nephew to its eventual destruction in The Last Battle.

Books of Chronicles of Narnia #1-7: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950); Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia (1951); The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (1952); The Silver Chair (1953); The Horse and His Boy (1954); The Magician's Nephew (1955); The Last Battle (1956).

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: در ماه آوریل سال 2002میلادی

سرگذشت «نارنیا» مجموعه‌ ای از هفت رمان خیال‌ پردازانه، اثر ماندگار روانشاد «سی.اس لوئیس»، برای کودکان است؛ در هر کتاب از این مجموعه (به جز اسب و آدمش) کودکانی از دنیای ما، به صورت جادویی، به «نارنیا» منتقل می‌شوند؛ جایی که از آن‌ها خواسته می‌شود تا به «اصلان» شیر یاری کنند، تا از پس بحران در دنیای «نارنیا» برآید؛ عنوانهای کتابها در ایران: «شیر، کمد و جادوگر (1950میلادی)»؛ «شاهزاده کاسپین (1951میلادی)»؛ «کشتی سپیده پیما (1952 میلادی)»؛ «صندلی نقره‌ ای (1953میلادی)»؛ «اسب و سوارش (1954میلادی)»؛ «خواهرزاده جادوگر (1955میلادی)»؛ «آخرین نبرد (1956میلادی)»؛ هستند تا هستی هست

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 04/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 26/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Kat Kennedy.
475 reviews16.3k followers
June 8, 2010
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.
Profile Image for Nandakishore Mridula.
1,255 reviews2,300 followers
November 29, 2017
Quick review

Terrific fantasy setting and storyline spoilt by extremely unsubtle allegory and (as the story progresses) excessive Christian preachiness. Warning: Racial stereotypes abound and may offend.

Recommended for adults who thrive in a Christian religious environment or those who can overlook these aspects totally and enjoy the story. Not for gullible children, unless accompanied by a discerning adult.

Detailed review

I won't insult the intelligence of respected GoodReaders by giving a synopsis of the Narnia stories - I don't think there will be many here who do not know this story, even if you have not actually read the books. The stories of the four Pevensie children who discover the magical land of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe is the stuff of legend in literary circles - a land which they rule over as kings and queens after freeing it from the enchantment of the White Witch, under the benign yet firm supervision of Aslan the lion.

As fantasies for children go, this is a terrific universe filled with possibilities. There are talking animals, magical creatures from Greek mythology and English fairy-lore, and suitably satisfying and mysterious landscape worthy of exploration again and again. So one feels that if only the author in C. S. Lewis had let himself go he could have produced something similar to the The Lord of the Rings.

Unfortunately, he does not do that. The author sublimates himself to the Christian, so that the story becomes allegory - and mostly allegory. The spirit of gung-ho adventure is coated over with sickly-sweet preachiness which becomes so cloying towards the end that one almost feels like throwing up.


This book contains the novels in the chronological order as regards the story:

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

However, the actual order in which the books were published is:

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

It seems that there is a hot dispute going on about the order in which the books should be read. After reading them in the chronological sequence, I would advise reading them in the sequence of publication. IMO, the last two - The Horse and His Boy, and The Last Battle - are better left unread, especially the last one. More about that later.

Aslan the Lion is Christ - this becomes evident in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe itself . The White Witch (and later, the Queen of the Underworld) are embodiments of Evil with a capital E.

(I was a bit surprised that there was no sign of the gentleman with the horns and the forked tail. Evil is entirely feminine - that too, with a perverse sort of sexual attractiveness. It seems Lewis was genuinely frightened of woman's sexuality: Susan becomes a "non-friend of Narnia" the moment she becomes a nubile young woman. Lewis's protagonists, like that of Lewis Carroll, are prepubescent girls.)

The Christian world view is evident from the word go - for example, the animals and birds can all be killed and eaten, provided that they are not "talking animals"! (They have been specially blessed as such by Aslan, we are told, in the story of the creation of Narnia in The Magician's Nephew.) This evidently comes from the Bible where Man is given dominion over every living thing on earth. In case we don't get it, Aslan continuously addresses the boys as "Sons of Adam" and the girls as "Daughters of Eve" and says that only they can rule over Narnia. As the story progresses, it becomes more prevalent - and now racism and intolerance of the heathens also come into play.

The Calormenes - dark-skinned foreigners who worship a savage god Tash, wear turbans and carry scimitar-like swords - are an Englishman's fantasy of the bloodthirsty and lecherous Turk. In their country, young girls are routinely married off to old codgers, and they wage war on the free countries like Narnia to rape and pillage. Their God Tash, however, is a pagan deity who is loosely associated with the gentleman I mentioned earlier - the guy with horns.

The unlikeable brat Eustace Scrubb is the son of liberal parents who are pacifists and vegetarians. He studies in a school which does not have corporal punishment and which does not teach the Bible - and is therefore full of bullies who are encouraged by the Principal! However, Eustace reforms after a visit to Narnia, and returns back to the school and hammers the living daylights out of the bullies. The Principal is removed from the school and ultimately becomes a Member of Parliament, where she lives happily ever after (note the point: M. P. 's are failed schoolteachers who fail to put the fear of God into children).

It is in the last book that Lewis outdoes himself. There is an ape who presents a donkey as Aslan. The ape is part of a conspiracy with the Caloremenes who present their God Tash and Aslan as the same, but don't believe in either. . Also, the ending is patently silly and for me, it was disgusting.

Then why the three stars?

Well, if you can ignore the allegory and the preachiness, there are some pretty interesting adventures here. The first three books are rather well-written (although a bit simplistic) and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is your classic sea adventure. The Magician's Nephew is extremely funny in parts. One advise to prospective readers though - please give the last book a miss.
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,634 followers
March 20, 2017
Read this as a kid and re-read later on, these 7 books were a great form of escapism despite the somewhat overbearing Christian symbolism that is pervasive throughout. The movies did NOT to the books justice but the animated film about Lion, Witch and Wardrobe was actually OK. A must for kids.
May 5, 2016
Overall I would give this book 3 stars. Below I have provided specific ratings/reviews for each story. At first I was skeptical about reading the book in chronological order as opposed to publication order. Now that I look back at it, it works well both ways. I also had some trouble at first with the way the style of writing was presented, but I got used to it pretty quickly. The world of Narnia is well written and detailed thanks to C.S Lewis. I can safely say that I liked the introduction of every story. But, I just personally didn’t find it to be extremely appealing as a whole. This book nonetheless will be someone else's treasure, not mine. I liked it, but I just wasn’t too crazy about it.

The Magician’s Nephew: 5 stars
I would surely want to reread this story again in the near future. Such an original plot! I enjoyed every minute of it. Getting to know the backstory and how Narnia was created was interesting to me. Many people didn’t like how there were connections with Christianity, but I found it to be quite creative. There were a few metaphors between Adam, Eve, and the tree of wisdom. Digory and Uncle Andrew were my favorite characters, even though at times the uncle seemed quite cynical. My favorite moment would have to the fight at the lamp post and how they escaped. One quote that stood out to me was: “What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.”

The Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe: 4 stars
I liked these characters, they engaged me throughout the whole story. My favorite character were the two youngest ones: Lucy and Edmund. They seemed to always have something going on with them. There was also more human and animal interaction in this story than in the previous one, but it’s interesting to read about. Again, there are several religious metaphors present in this story too. It was pleasurable reading and seeing all the symbolism. We also get to see more of the magical world of Narnia in this story so that is exciting. I had fun with this story!

The Horse and His Boy: 2 stars
This story started of interesting, but I just wasn’t so captivated by the 4 main characters. The concept is good, but it just isn’t appealing to me. The desert scene felt eternal to me and unexciting. I did not hate it, but I can’t say I liked it. It was ok. Compared to how great the previous two were this wasn’t on that level.

Prince Caspian: 3 stars
In this story we are introduced to Prince Caspian and I must say he was a well written character. The backstory about him and finding out how he commences his journey is interesting. I seem to enjoy the introductions of each story quite immensely, this one being one of my favorites.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: 3 stars
My favorite part of this story was the involvement of the new character Eustace. Even though he was portrayed negatively at first it was interesting viewing how he slowly changed. The dragon scene was enjoyable to me. I am not a big fan of all the other scenes, they weren’t bad, but just not mind blowing.

The Silver Chair: 2 stars
The beginning of the novel was fun, which is when Eustace and Jill embark on their new adventure. They are sent on a mission and we read about their journey. I found many parts dull. This story didn’t have much of an impact on me.

The Last Battle: 2 stars
This story ends the series of The Chronicles of Narnia. There were several parallels to heaven and at first these religious metaphors didn’t bother me much in the previous strories, but I just didn’t like how they were used here. It felt like one part of the novel dealt with adventure while the other part dealt with religion/god/creation themes.
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
167 reviews35 followers
May 2, 2008
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.
Profile Image for Mansoor.
25 reviews39 followers
May 4, 2007
The Magician's Nephew is easily the best story of the Chronicles. First of all, it's the least overtly religious. There is a creation-of-the-world element, but it's not our world so it seems more fantastic than religious. Not only is there a veil over the religiosity, there's so much creativity in this story: the magical rings, the in-between place, the Deplorable Word, the founding of Narnia.

Starting with The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, the religiosity becomes noticeable, with the Witch as Satan, Aslan as Jesus, and the Emperor as God. And because of the talking, fighting animals, the fantasy seems aimed at children. I might have enjoyed it more at age 12.

The next story in the series, The Horse and His Boy, takes a dark, ethnocentric turn with its unfavorable depiction of the Arab-like "Calormen" (shoes turned up at the toe, scimitars, suffixed phrases of praise, "son of" lineage declarations). In The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, we get a not-quite-positive summary of the Calormen:

"...they are a wise, wealthy, courteous, cruel and ancient people. They bowed most politely to Caspian and paid him long compliments...but of course what they wanted was the money they had paid."

Given that this book was published in 1954, it's possible to forgive the cultural insensitivity, but it's sad that children around the world still uncritically read such racist material.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader demonstrates the problem with using God (or Jesus) in a story: there are no real conflicts. When the Dawn Treader stops at Dragon Island, the boy passenger Eustace wanders off, encounters a magical spell, and is turned into a dragon. This raises all kinds of serious issues about how to keep Eustace the Dragon with them, but none of these problems matter because, within 24 hours, Aslan just changes Eustace back to a boy.

There was a similar deus ex machina (the term being used most appropriately) in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. To save Edmund's soul, Aslan sacrifices his life. But it wasn't Aslan's only life, he had another one ready.

One thing I found especially creative about The Chronicles is how a story involving talking animals justifies eating animals.
Profile Image for Josh Hyung (조슈아).
114 reviews1,287 followers
August 27, 2023
The 2005 film adaptation of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was what made me want to read this thick, heavenly book. Little yet valiant Lucy was very close to my heart, as well as her siblings who occasionally thought she was crazy. I was so enthralled by the movie, and I asked my parents if they could buy me the series for my birthday.

My uncle in the US was the one who granted my wish. Tee-hee. After buying this collection from Barnes & Noble, he immediately had it shipped all the way to the Philippines. Hence, this book literally traveled to my hands. I was overwhelmed with happiness when it finally arrived. After all, it was the first series I had ever owned. After caressing it for a long time, I tucked myself into bed and got down to business.

Little did I know that this would be the series that would transform me into a devoted booknerd. At the age of 12, I managed to fly through each novel because they were just so beautiful and fantastic. The perfect mix of magic, adventure, and biblical allusions captivated me from start to finish. By the time I read The Last Battle, I was already a hardcore fanboy.

In totality, The Chronicles of Narnia will always have a special place in my heart (and library). Just looking at Aslan's face on the cover fills me with much happiness and nostalgia. If I were the Ruler of Books, I would require everyone in the planet to read this timeless series.
Profile Image for Lee  (the Book Butcher).
277 reviews73 followers
April 24, 2021
One of my favorite series growing up. Very formative to me as it combined a love of fantasy with my religious upbringing. wanted to check out it's affects on me since I'm not Christian anymore.

The chronicles of Narnia strikes me now as a unique series. its probably base on a old-school chronicles format i do not recognize because my lack of college education. Not only does C.S Lewis push Christian ideology over commercial appeal. Which oddly enough lead to lasting commercial success. But he has a rotating cast of human characters from our world in the four Pevensie children, their cousin Eustace his friend Jill Pole uncle Digory and his friend Polly Plummer. along with many Narnian native like prince Caspian, the white witch, Reepicheep and my favorite Puddleglum. The only constant character in the book is Aslan the lion. the Narnian world is also very well developed probably a side affect of Lewis being friend with J.R.R Tolkien. Lewis takes you to other kingdoms, across the eastern sea, and to the underworld. Also spans the whole expanse of time in narnia from creation to destruction. Which is a really neat concept for a series. There's so much good in here magic, honor, valor, and friendship lots of lessons taught in this series. Great for kids and adults alike. a lot to like here and the Christian symbolism is only overt in certain book. i never found it to be distracting. but can see how others would. this series hit some nostalgia points but i am surprised how much i did not remember. The sixth book in particular the silver chair i did not remember at all.

Recommend to everyone young and old, Christian or not, fantasy or non fiction reader. i have encountered few people who did not at least like the lion, witch, and the wardrobe. so if your interested in literary history or good worldbuilding enter the granddaddy of portal fantasy the chronicles of Narnia.
Profile Image for Erth.
3,623 reviews
November 17, 2018
This read could not be described any better than this:

Journeys to the end of the world, fantastic creatures, and epic battles between good and evil—what more could any reader ask for in one book? The book that has it all is The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, written in 1949 by Clive Staples Lewis. But Lewis did not stop there. Six more books followed, and together they became known as The Chronicles of Narnia.
Profile Image for Alexandra Elend Wolf.
615 reviews269 followers
January 26, 2019
"Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight. At the sound of his roar, sorrow will be no more. When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death. And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again."

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Prince Caspian: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
The Silver Chair: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
The Horse and His Boy: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Magician's Nephew: ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨
The Last Battle: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Chronicles of Narnia will forever have an especial place in my heart. Narnia is a magical place that feels me with warmth and dreams, hope and wishes. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.

"Once a King in Narnia, always a King in Narnia."

I haven't read these books in many years and, in a way, it felt like rediscovering and meeting the world for the first time. It was like coming back home after a long while traveling, comforting and comfortable. But it also brought a new sight to my eyes respecting them.

I love how the story-telling employed by Lewis how it was very simple, yet you could always picture everything perfectly. Though sometimes it became a little too specific in areas that would have done well with just a quick mention. This I especially found in Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader where descriptions could go on for forever. Still, most of the time, the narrative is engrossing and simple and fast.

Of course, we can't forget the beautiful characters! I love them so much, especially Edmund!!! I would get so excited whenever a mention of any of the Pevensies came out. I love them so much (except Susan) I can't even.

“It is very true,” said Edmund. “But even a traitor may mend. I have known one that did.”

What else can I say? Let me see... Oh, yeah! I can talk about my favorite book.

Surprisingly enough -at least for me- it turns out that that place is occupied by The Horse and His Boy, something I was NOT expecting at all. I think it has something to do with the fact that it fills, a little, that big, empty space where I wish there was a novel about the golden age of Narnia.

Of course, that's just a part of it. The book really captured me in its own right and can safely say I love it.

The Horse and His Boy is closely followed by The Last Battle and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, obviously.

"All get what they want; they do not always like it."

I may add that this collection also has a bit of extra information, right at the end, that added that perfect touch. And helped filled any voids or questions I had respecting the history, timeline, or creatures of Narnia. Really appreciated.

And I'm finally, finally, done with my first read of the year!!!

Let the music blast people, life is getting back on track.


So a funny story with this one:

It appeared on my currently-reading shelf, though I was most certainly NOT reading it. Here is what happened.

My brother and I share the kindle account, which apparently is connected to my Goodreads account - who knew? - so when he opened it to check it out, it immediately updated. Ugh, so frustrating, especially since it's not the first time it happens.

I am planning to read it soon though!
Profile Image for Ruth.
4 reviews7 followers
March 29, 2008
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
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,724 followers
August 28, 2023
Best series of books ever. I read them all as a preteen and several again as an adult. Highly recommended. I am Caspian!
Profile Image for Werner.
Author 3 books598 followers
September 19, 2017
Back in the early 70s, I encountered this wonderful series through the first of the books to be written, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Below, I quote most of my review of that book, insofar as it applies to the whole series). I subsequently discovered the whole series, and in the 90s read it to my wife, who loved it as much as I do. We didn't read it in this omnibus edition, but as individual books; and for a long time, I intended to eventually review each book separately. But since the series has so much commonality, I decided that reviewing it as a single entity is more practical.

Note: This omnibus volume lists the seven books of the series in their internal chronological order, starting with The Magician's Nephew, which describes Aslan's creation of Narnia; and this is the order in which Lewis himself recommended that they be read. Barb and I, however, read and experienced the series in the order in which the books were written. Lewis fans debate which order is preferable, and I can see both sides of that. Usually, my preference is to read a series in internal chronological order. But the way that we read this one probably provides for more of a feeling of resonance in the later ones, as certain things that were mysterious before fall into place later.

Most people know that C. S. Lewis was an effective Christian nonfiction apologist, using the tools of reason and logic to build the philosophical case for Christian faith. But he ultimately became convinced that an even more effective apologetic is available through the "truth of art," the instinctive and emotional appeal that stories exert -- especially the kinds of stories that draw on the deep, mythical archetypes of fantasy to illuminate the real universe. The Chronicles of Narnia, his classic fantasy series, was the fruit of that discovery, set in Narnia, a magical land whose world lies in another universe, in which magic works and time moves differently than it does here, and in which Christ is incarnate as the great talking lion Aslan. The first book of the series presents one of the most powerful symbolic literary presentations of the Christian gospel ever written. Although the intended audience, in Lewis' mind, was children (and his various direct addresses to the readers as author presuppose this), there is nothing invidiously "juvenile" about the quality of the writing; it can be enthusiastically appreciated by anyone who loves tales of imagination and adventure, fantasy and wonder; and the truths here, like those in Jesus' parables, are simple enough to speak to children but profound enough to challenge adults.

The Christian message is an essential part of all of the books in the Narnia series. We all react to fiction based partly on how we feel about the message(s) it conveys, and that's appropriate. So readers whose view of Christianity, or of religion in general, is highly negative could hardly be expected to give the Narnia series unqualified praise. (The converse applies, of course, to books like the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, who avowedly seeks to be the "anti-Lewis;" it isn't surprising that his work is less appreciated by readers who hold a very negative view of militant atheism.) That's a subjective assessment, and fair enough as such. Some other criticisms of Lewis' series, though, are intended to be more objective, and can be debated objectively. (This discussion might contain some "spoilers.")

One reviewer states that the series "has no real conflicts" because Aslan can exercise miraculous power to resolve them. But if this is so, then the theistic view of real life is that it has no real conflicts either, since God has miraculous power to resolve them. But no theists that I'm aware of view real life in that way, least of all Lewis, as his other writings indicate (and insights from all of his writings are valuable in interpreting the Narnia books, since his thought was highly unified). As his writings on miracles make clear, he believed that God can intervene in the natural order miraculously --but doesn't do so very often, because intervening on a wholesale basis would negate the predictability of natural law (and leave us unable to recognize a miracle when one did happen!) And, very importantly, God doesn't make people's choices for them; they exercise free will, which requires that their choices have meaningful consequences --good or bad. So in Narnia, as in the real world, Aslan doesn't intervene very often; and most readers observe quite a bit of conflict. Bad things happen, and they aren't always deserved; evil isn't automatically and instantly punished; and good characters suffer and inevitably die, some well before their time. And characters experience a good deal of conflict in struggling to decide on the right course of action --or on whether or not to do what they think is right, when all the rewards would appear to gained by doing wrong. In one of the books, Eustace is indeed changed back from dragon to boy --but only after he learns a lesson about the value of human friendship; and that doesn't come easily to him. And in the first book, yes, Aslan will be resurrected after giving his life for Edmund --but his death is still an awful experience that he undergoes for someone whose welfare, viewed from a coldly objective standpoint, is nothing to him; most of us wouldn't undergo it, even with the guarantee of resurrection.

Like most non-vegetarians, Lewis views eating of meat as appropriate when the meat is that of a non- rational, nonthinking creature; eating a being who can speak is cannibalism, no matter what that being looks like. Whether or not one regards that as a significant distinction, or how significant it's seen as being, is a matter of opinion; but it is a genuine distinction between humans and, for instance, cattle.

Probably the most significant criticism here is the accusation of ethnocentrism and racism in the portrayal of the Calormen. Calormen are darker in color than Narnians; their culture differs from the Narnian one; and their government is a despotic empire that would like to add Narnia to its domains. (Neither Narnian nor Calormen culture are identical with any culture in our world, though like all fantasy writers Lewis uses this world's cultures as a grab-bag from which he can pull various features. Calormen is mostly desert, but its polity is much more Turkish than "Arab-like," and the idolatrous cult of Tash doesn't resemble Islam.) Some readers assume that any mention of dark skin means that the people so depicted have to be racially inferior; that race and culture are the same thing, with the former dictating the features of the latter, and that the character of a government mirrors the character of a people; and that if Narnia and Calormen's governments tend to be hostile and suspicious toward each other, that must mean that everything Narnian is good and everything Calormen is evil. But there are good reasons to think that Lewis didn't share these assumptions, nor want to convey them.

Two of the most sympathetic and positively treated characters in the series are the Calormenes Aravis and Emeth. Aravis is a strong, gutsy and capable heroine; she winds up marrying Prince Cor, and their son grows up to be Archenland's greatest king. And Emeth (whose name, not coincidentally, is the word for "truth" in Hebrew) is readily welcomed by Aslan into heaven, having amply demonstrated his moral worth. This certainly suggests that Lewis judges, and wants his readers to judge, Calormenes "not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." It's also instructive that a character in That Hideous Strength, Lord Feverstone, advocates "liquidation of the backward races" --but he's a spokesman for the anything-but-nice N.I.C.E., whose social program represents everything Lewis detested.

In the latter novel, closer to the end, Lewis lays out a theory of human cultures in which all of them, at their best and truest, are unique and distinct embodiments of moral and social truth, making a kind of truly multicultural mosaic in which the differences are respected and appreciated. This idea is reflected in The Last Battle, where Aslan's true country is made up of the Platonic ideal of every created country --including Calormen, where Lucy sees the towers of the true Tashbaan. So Calormen's cultural differences from Narnia can be viewed in this light --there is no reason to think Lewis' view of "shoes turned up at the toe, scimitars, suffixed phrases of praise, 'son-of' lineage declarations" was "unfavorable." The latter are found in the Bible (a book Lewis certainly viewed favorably!), and some of his writings suggest that he rather liked stately formal courtesy in social interactions. He contrasts the Calormen oral story-telling tradition favorably with English teaching practices; and if Calormen culture is called "cruel" in one place (which, Lewis would say, is a deformation caused by sin), it's also called "wise." Finally, King Miraz and his gang --who are all white-- aren't viewed as any more benevolent than the Calormen Tisroc and his toadies; the actions of both are due, not to race and nationality, but to the common experience of human fallenness.

This is far and away one of my favorite fantasy series. I'd highly recommend it for any readers who appreciate imaginative literature, and I believe most would find it both intensely entertaining and thought-provoking.
10 reviews1 follower
August 17, 2007
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.
Profile Image for whalesister.
154 reviews
March 28, 2008
I read the entire series, one right after another, eight times in a row when I got them for Christmas in fourth grade. Obviously I loved them then. Just finished reading them again to Eric, my 8-year-old, and loved them maybe just as must as I did as a 10-year-old. Eric couldn't stop giggling through the last pages of Horse and His Boy, which we had to reread when we finished the rest, since it was his favorite. We're starting Prince Caspian again, too--another favorite. I realized this go around how much these books shaped my entire world view, and especially my perspective on religion, though I never knew it as a kid.

One odd little detail that I noticed this time reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader: awful cousin Eustace and his parents are Mormons. Lewis never comes right out and says it, but in addition to being snooty holier-than-thous that nobody can stand, the parents don't drink, don't smoke, and wear a funny kind of underwear. A nice little under-handed slam at a faith that loves to quote him in General Conference.

I'll still keep quoting. I love his writing.
Profile Image for Mer.
33 reviews960 followers
April 19, 2007

(Click the above link to read professor Carol Zaleski's interesting take of the seething religious/political furor surrounding these classics.)

I pined for Narnia in the most broken, sad way when I was a little girl.

Obviously, I had no knowledge of any Christian subtext when I first read "Da Chroni *WHUT* cles". I remember devouring them in much the same way that children are now tearing through the Harry Potter series. Lewis's lavish descriptions of fauns and dragons and giants have burned themselves permanently into my memory.

Ten year old Mer's desire to live in that world and shoot arrows and eat Turkish Delight and befriend those magical talking beasts was all-consuming. Most of all, I wanted to know Aslan. To be cuddled and loved by that big, fierce, lovable lion. But in the end, I had to let go of him and his realm. (I remember being so disconsolate, in fact, that my parents let me stay home from school for a day! And they NEVER let me play hookey! So weird, remembering that.)

There were just so many aspects of that world that made me feel, well, BAD, somehow. Guilty, or ashamed, or just plain uncomfortable.

Remember when Susan didn't come back, basically because she discovered her sexuality?

Remember the Calormenes? Those dark-skinned people with really intense garlic breath who wore turbans and worshiped a Satanic "false god" who demanded blood sacrifices from his followers?

There was SO much blame being laid out in that world. A lot of finger-pointing and shaming going on, a lot of damning and excluding. It was all very black and white, us or them, good or evil.

In the end, I rejected the Narnia books for that reason. Later, finding out Lewis was a devout Christian and Aslan was basically supposed to be Jebus in a lion suit, I wasn't at all surprised.

Nowadays, I recommend Miyazaki movies (especially Kiki) to every tween girl I meet to cleanse their palate of some of the more despicable Disney depictions of femininity, and I happily gift kids (and adults!) with the Dark Materials trilogy to counteract their exposure to the Narnia dogma.

All that being said, these books are a memorable part of my childhood, and I still recall parts of them with fondness and longing.
Profile Image for Dean Ryan Martin.
205 reviews39 followers
February 15, 2020
Done reading THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA. This edition I own contains the seven unabridged books arranged in chronological order.

Author's Writing Style: 5 stars!!! It is ideally written for children in third-person POV in past tenses. The written narration is easy to read and understand (...except for its small font size which can be torturing to the eyes especially for the sleep-deprived). Pacing is fast, it's not wasting time for descriptions.

Character/s Development: 3 stars!!! Aslan is my number one favorite character. This is an ideal choice, I know, but I love the idea that everyone respects, and at the same time, fears him due to his reputation. Aslan receives more pagetime in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - the second book in the series. I get to see how he submits himself to vulnerability and how he bounces back after being bullied. Not a fan of him but Edmund makes a mark on me. In Books 4, 5 and 7, he proves to himself that he is someone special after betraying his siblings due to Turkish Delight.

Plot: 3 stars!!! I commend the series for having a different plot in every book. I mean, the main characters are children, yes, but it doesn't always follow a strict and predictable formula. For example, Book 2 - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and Book 3 - The Horse & His Boy tell a different inspiring story without putting similar feels in the plot quality. Book 3 is my top favorite it terms of plot. It delivers, it connects, it finishes strong. I am a bit disappointed with the "travel for a rescue mission plot" in Book 5 - The Voyage of The Dawn Treader. This book heavily reminds me of the plot used in Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson & The Olympians. And the ending in Book 7 - The Last Battle gives me a real good punch, I need a moment to ponder about that.
Profile Image for Sophie Crane.
3,923 reviews122 followers
October 2, 2019
The Chronicles of Narnia are 7 wonderful adventures experienced on two or three levels: children's adventure stories, adults' and children's adventures in the Christian life and their spiritual being, and an adventure into the future of planet Earth. Perfect for reading aloud to children from 8 upwards they're moving and inspiring for adults as well. There's humour, knotty problems we all face and positive ways to face them, a new and lovely way of perceiving and respecting animals and the environment, knightly battles and daily battles, and an open acceptance of the different and the little. These books retain their excitement and inspiration after many readings, especially because the more one reads them, the more one sees in them and can apply to one's life and aspirations. There is the battle between Good and Evil throughout and the most helpful, natural and comforting confrontation of weakness, failure, struggle, mutual responsibility. Evil and death are faced and gone through positively. Different beliefs are respected. Sound theology is well grounded in reality. An inspired man wrote these books.
Profile Image for Syndi.
2,990 reviews688 followers
November 3, 2017
I love these series. It starts with a dreamy fairy tales and ending with a big bang. Behind that children story telling, it has a powerful message of God, bravery, siblings love and rivalry, love and becoming adult. Taking responsible. Punishment and forgiveness.

I love all of the siblings especially Lucy.
October 18, 2021
This is one of my all time favorite book series. Seriously, TCoN (and LotR!) is what I grew up on. I never really attempted to review it (I'm not really going to try now) because I don't even know what I can say about it that will accurately express how much I love this series and how big of an impact it had/has on my life, both now and when I first read it when I was just a little kid.

Of course I do like some of the books more than others—I do have my favorites—but overall, this whole series is just so great.

This series will always hold a special place in my heart. I encourage you to read it, even if you think you're too old for it!

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”
- C.S. Lewis

And this book is SO one of those books that can be enjoyed by all ages—over and over again. 😊
37 reviews5 followers
September 12, 2015
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.
Profile Image for kezzie ☾ (jude’s version).
443 reviews220 followers
September 29, 2022
when i tell u, i grew up listening to these nonstop, day & night, 24/7 i am not joking!! also the lion, the witch, & the wardrobe was my JAM & by far superior to the rest of the books! but when it comes to the radio theater part i also choose the voyage of the dawn treader, the sliver chair & the horse and his boy.
Profile Image for midnightfaerie.
1,984 reviews122 followers
August 18, 2013
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis is one of the books in his series, the Chronicles of Narnia in which Christianity is portrayed through various fantasy creatures. God, for instance is portrayed as a talking Lion. What a wonderful series! What child hasn’t climbed into a closet and explored the back cracks in hope of finding an entrance to a new and exciting world after reading this book? I used to sit in a closet with the door closed and a flashlight reading my favorite books after reading this series, in hopes that someday a door would open and take me to another realm. Of course, the white witch is my favorite character. I’m always attracted to the bad ones. The Lion, Aslan, is a wonderful character as well, but I have to admit, knowing that he was an analogy for God, changed my view of the story a bit and left me a bit disappointed. He was a bit cheesy. Or maybe typical is a better word. Which is why I almost wish I wouldn’t have known the true meaning of the books until after I read them. In any case, the stories were great, the first one being the best. (You always lose a little of the naiveté of the children as they get older) But the movies did them justice as well. Reading them again as an adult, found me a little bored, but still enchanted overall with the series. The next movie is due out soon and I can only hope they will continue to make the movies which were incredible. I highly recommend this series and consider it a classic as well.

Profile Image for Julie.
3,001 reviews47 followers
March 22, 2016
I finally got around to reading these all the way through. I'm pretty sure I read through book 4 when I was much younger, but really, it was a different experience reading them as a twenty-something. I vividly remember the moment several years ago when my mother and I were watching a televised version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe... and suddenly made the connection that the whole thing was a giant allegory with Aslan as Jesus. We just looked at each other going, gee, this is sounding very familiar all of a sudden. Well, if you think that particular book smacks you across the face with Christian metaphors (and obviously as a small child I didn't pick up on this at all), wait til you hit some of the later books (especially The Last Battle).

The end of the series completely shocked me. I understand the whole thing was a Christian allegory to begin with, but HOLY COW. I will try not to spoil it here, but... it's vaguely creepy to see how enthusiastic they are, and also horrible to think that Susan is now left behind. I did read that Susan's fate is meant to be an example, that rather than showing that she is now damned/unable to someday go to New Narnia, her fate is left open—if she repents and returns to believing in Aslan, and asks him for forgiveness, she will be able to join her family. Still creepy and shocking though.

You can also see in A Horse and His Boy how harshly Lewis contrasts the Calormenes with the Narnians. The Calormenes are repeatedly referred to as "dark," "smelling of garlic and onions," with "curved swords..." he even says their poetry is far inferior to the Narnians'. The picture he is trying to paint here is painfully obvious, as all the Calormenes' culture reflects that of the Middle East (whereas the Narnians are obviously very similar to medieval England). It's a seriously bigoted world view, one that I'm sure was more acceptable at the time the books were written, but now is rather jarring to read.

I did enjoy reading these books. I'd thought them awfully dry the first time through—stuffy English children in a fairly entertaining magical land, etc... The difference this time was, I watched the 2005 movie first. The movie completely blew me away, and while reading the first book (and even the succeeding books which involve the Pevensie children) I was able to imagine those warm, courageous and yet flawed children in place of the stuffy English ones, and it added a wonderful new dimension to the story. It was enough to carry me through the boks I didn't like as much, and made me enjoy my favorites even more (those would be The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Horse and His Boy).

Overall, I'd recommend them (they're a super-quick read too, you could probably finish one in a single day if you tried), but only after viewing the 2005 film first. :D Can't wait til movie #2!
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Daniel.
203 reviews
March 17, 2010
I read "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" when I was very young, and barely remember it. I never read the other books in the series. So now, as an adult, I'm reading the entire "Chronicles of Narnia." After a bit of Internet research, I decided to read them in order of publication, rather than the overall story's chronological order. I'll post individual reviews for each book, and slightly shorter opinions here.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The first in "The Chronicles of Narnia" is not a bad book, to be sure, but its characters, especially the humans, are a bit bland to stick with the reader once the book is closed. The exception is Edmund Pevensie, who is memorable only because Lewis makes him so unrelentingly obnoxious for almost the entire book. Lewis also draws on myriad old myths, fables and legends to create the hodgepodge that is Narnia, creating little from scratch. The plot of "Lion" is a bit creaky, too, with some machinations making little sense on their own, and needed solely to keep the story moving forward. I'm thinking, for example, of the note left behind at Mr. Tumnus's house after he is arrested -- a note that exists only so that the Pevensie children can find out what became of the faun. But some of the touches in Lewis's writing remain fresh almost 60 years after the book was written. Lewis never lets you forget he's telling you a story, occasionally interjecting his own opinions of the characters' doings, and more than once reminding the reader of something that happened in "the last chapter." What else makes "Lion" intersting to the adult reader? Well, there is, late in the book, some hot girl-on-girl-on-lion action. Sure, C.S. Lewis mostly was writing a religious parable for children, but he threw in some thinly veiled steaminess for his adult readers too. Don't think I don't know what you were doing, Jack. I do. Also, spoiler alert: Aslan is totally Jesus Christ. Full review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

Prince Caspian: Why does C.S. Lewis feel the need, in each "Chronicles of Narnia" book, to make one of the Pevensie children, seemingly at random, completely loathsome? In "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," it was Edmund who was a complete dick for almost the entire book, and now, in "Prince Caspian," it's Susan who's asking for a good bitch-slapping. I think I know why C.S. Lewis does this: He's not very good at making characters memorable unless he makes them totally good, totally bad, or start out totally bad and have them turn totally good partway through the story. I know these are children's books, but even children's books can have a little bit of complexity in their characterization, no? Just as in "Lion," none of the characters in "Caspian" much deserve to remain in the reader's mind after the book is closed. The possible exception is Trumpkin, and he stands out mostly by using such exclamations as "lobsters and lollipops" and "giants and junipers." Caspian himself starts out with the potential to become interesting too, but largely fades into the background once the Pevensie children return to Narnia. Getting back to Susan, I do get what C.S. Lewis is trying to do with her character in "Caspian." This is still a religious parable, after all, and in this book Susan is the one designated to stop trusting in Aslan, just as someone straying from the Christian faith will stop following Jesus. I get it, but Lewis never bothers telling us why Susan has strayed. That all being said, the story in "Caspian" is fast-moving and entertaining, and, just as in "Lion," the writing is lively and engaging. Full review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/....

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: The strongest of the three "Chronicles of Narnia" books I've read so far, "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" opens with a wonderful first line: "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." Eustace, a cousin to the four Pevensie children, who the first two books focused on, is the designated asshole in this entry, taking up the mantle carried by Edmund in "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and Susan in "Prince Caspian." I've complained about this trope in my other reviews, but I don't have as much of a problem with it this time around because Eustace is so wonderfully bitchy. With the way he talks about his cousins Edmund and Lucy, as well as the Narnians on board the Dawn Treader, particularly in his diary entries, Eustace comes across as a younger, slightly less gay Noel Coward. Most of "Voyage" is comprised of a series of set pieces that demonstrate what a lively imagination C.S. Lewis had: the kidnapping by slave traders, Eustace's transformation into a dragon and back into a boy, the pool that turns whatever touches it to gold, the sea people, and the edge of the world. This is both "Voyage"'s strength and its weakness: the scenes are inventive, but the overall story is not terribly cohesive. The writing remains strong, and is even a bit better than in the first two books. (There's a funny line early on in the book when the then-bitchy Eustace disappears and Reepicheep, who's none too fond of him, immediately vows to avenge his murder -- apparently hoping he were, in fact, murdered.) Full review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Silver Chair: “The Silver Chair” is in some ways a more mature book than its three predecessors in the Narnia series – for one thing, C.S. Lewis finally loses the designated-asshole character I've complained about in my reviews of the preceding books – but it also has a less compelling story than the other books. I did find Eustace Scrubb's school, Experiment House, interesting, and wish we had spent a bit more time there before being whisked away to Narnia once again. I also liked the new characters Jill Pole and, especially, Puddleglum, the wonderfully curmudgeonly Marshwiggle who, when pressed, proves himself a hero. The dialog in "Silver Chair" isn't quite as witty as in the preceding book in the series, though, and after the entertaining “Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” its follow-up can't help but be a bit of a letdown. Full review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Horse and His Boy: I get the sense that other readers of the Narnia books liked "The Horse and His Boy" a lot more than I did, with some even citing it as one of their favorites. I found its main characters less interesting than those in the preceding books, and found the biblical allusions -- the parallels between the lives of Shasta and Moses, for example -- a bit overbearing. C.S. Lewis's writing is as strong as ever, but the clever quips and asides are fewer in this volume than I'd come to expect. Full review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Magician's Nephew: I had a lot more fun with "The Magician's Nephew" than I had with its immediate predecessor, partly because its inclusion of people from this world -- something "The Horse and His Boy" almost completely lacked -- made it easier to relate to, and partly because the villains, Jadis and Uncle Andrew, have great personalities, broadly drawn though they may be. The recapitulation of Genesis toward the end of the book is pretty heavy-handed, even for C.S. Lewis, but this still was one of the better Narnia books. Full review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...

The Last Battle: It's been a long, long trip, and I'm glad to finally reach the end. While I enjoyed some of the early installments in the Narnia saga, and several of the characters were compelling (some to love, others to hate), the series overstayed its welcome for me -- even after taking a break halfway through. "The Last Battle" started off OK, but suffered mightily as soon as Jesu-- er, Aslan, that is, made his usual appearance. The themes of God vs. Satan, heaven and earth, good vs. evil, and divine perfection vs. earthly imperfection that dominated the latter half of the book are hard to take, even for a reader like me who knew what he was getting into with C.S. Lewis. I can't imagine how children reading this book would react. In the end, I'm glad I finally read the entire series, but I never, ever want to read the Narnia books again. Full review: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...
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