My Dearest Mad-Readers,
Since I have not written a book review in quite some time, I figured I would do it today. After all, I still am a so-called self-nominated librarian, am I not ? Moving on… The Chronicles of Narnia is a collection of 7 books written by C. S. S. Lewis, also known as one of the greatest fantasy authors of the twentieth century. All are rather short, since the entire volume is merely 700 pages long.
Depending on which edition you purchase, pages may appear thicker. I know that, on mine, there often are a lot of words on each page. More words than what most readers are accustomed to these days, anyway. A book page usually contains between 200 and 300 words, 300 being a good standard. You may double this amount for certain editions of Narnia. To give you a basis for comparison, it is quite as thick as The Name Of The Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss, although with a little fewer words.
I dare say this masterpiece has become a classic for fantasy readers, like another trilogy I have in mind, which was written by J.R.R Tolkien around the same time as Lewis did this saga.
Actually, for those of you who did not know, Tolkien and Lewis both lived in Oxford, an internationally-renowned university city that has offered the world some of its best authors : Lewis Carroll (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland), Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials), Oscar Wild (The Portrait of Dorian Gray), to cite but a few… Without realizing it, you might have caught glimpses of that ancient place of knowledge, in movies such as the Harry Potters.
Lewis and Tolkien sometimes spent time together at a pub called The Eagle and The Child, since they were both part of a writer’s group named The Inklings. During their meetings, it is most likely they shared more than hot beverages…
Regarding the 7 books composing our Chronicles :
- *The Magician’s Nephew : My absolute favorite.
- *The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe : My second favorite.
- *The Horse and His Boy : I could live without it, but there are some nice references to preceding books.
- *Prince Caspian : The Return To Narnia : Be prepared for yet another epic journey with the Pevensies.
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader : If you are fond of Caspian’s character, this is a must-read. Some characters are absent, but you should enjoy this one like its prequel.
- *The Silver Chair : I was not convinced.
- *The Last Battle : An ending that makes sense, yet… who cares about a monkey and a donkey ?
Link to the whole saga :
I still can precisely picture that scene, many years ago, when I picked up The Magician’s Nephew. It was an intriguing and somewhat magical time, since that book attracted me like a magnet despite my strongest will to resist it. It was a Saturday morning like any other. It was 10 a.m and I had just come back from school. I needed to study for an exam but… Well, it was an English exam, in my defense…
I told myself I would only read a few pages. If you are a fellow bookworm, you must be well aware this type of excuse is pretty much the same as pressing the snooze button and believing you actually are going to get up in 5 minutes. I read that first episode of the Chronicles at a dashing speed and loved every single word in it. I had such a tremendous experience that Narnia became my favorite book before even finishing it. Even the intense moments of boredom I felt whilst reading The Horse And His Boy or The Silver Chair proved unable to alter that feeling.
Since I cannot go much further into this review without spoiling the book to potential readers, I will not say much more. I could add, for instance, that the story of Narnia resembles much that of the Bible in terms of structure. The character of Aslan cannot go unnoticed with the good many traits he shares with God. The way the world of Narnia was created and later [find the missing regular verb in past-simple form] will similarly remind Christians of their religion. There obviously are too many references to list them all in one blog post, but there are many analyses which you could easily find on Amazon if you ever wished to dig any further and improve your understanding of that complex story.
Before I leave you, I would like to tell you a last anecdote. You see, my reading of the ending is quite as special as how I first sank into The Magician’s Nephew. Unfortunately, my ravenous curiosity tricked me into looking a bit too far toward the ending, and I discovered something. Something I was afraid of. For months, I had to leave off Narnia and read other things, because I was not ready to face such an ending. I wanted to keep Narnia alive in my head for as long as I could. Until that one day when I picked it up again. I was finally blown away by such a brilliant ending, and you will have to read it for yourself to find out what I loved so much about it.
Anyhow! As a conclusion, I must recommend the whole saga ! If you are a fantasy fanatic, as I am, be ashamed if you have not consumed that wonderful beast yet (but not too much, just enough to read it immediately) ! Tell me if you have or have not read it in the comments and let us discuss which books we enjoyed least and most ! Or tell me if you intend to read it now…
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I wish you all the best,