Confession: I actually read through the Chronicles of Narnia series in 6th grade. Technically this is breaking my two NEW books per month, but I’m also pretty certain that I didn’t finish the series when I was younger. I actually didn’t remember the last two books!
Yes, the Chronicles of Narnia series is considered children’s fiction. It definitely has a different feel from a lot of the other books I’ve been reading lately. It’s nice to go for a “fluff” read. Why do you think I always go back to reading Harry Potter? Reading books that remind us of our childhood are nice escapes from being an adult.
I’m actually a bit surprised that these are kids’ fiction! C.S. Lewis definitely writes in a more progressive form than is usual for this genre. You have to keep up more to follow along with the details to truly understand what’s happening. It’s also fantastical where there are talking Beasts (much like Oz). There’s magic too. It’s just a nice world to escape to.
It’s actually pretty interesting the chronological order of the books. They were written “out of order”. While the series goes
The Magician’s Nephew –> The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe –> The Horse & His Boy –> Prince Caspian –> The Voyage of the Dawn Treader –> The Silver Chair –> The Last Battle
The books were actually written in this order:
The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe –> Prince Caspian –> The Voyage of the Dawn Treader –> The Silver Chair –> The Horse & His Boy –> The Magician’s Nephew –> The Last Battle
It’s interesting to see the commingling of everything too. Certain novels refer to “Oh, well you’ve already read about this.” whereas others drop hints of stories. The Silver Chair drops mention of the entire plot of what becomes The Horse and His Boy. C. S. Lewis was essentially just making more writing for himself.
I will say that The Magician’s Nephew is my least favorite of the entire series. Yes, it chronicles the start of Narnia as a world, but there are so few characters that actually make it to later parts of the story. On the other end, The Last Battle doesn’t exactly wrap up the series like I wanted it to. Yes, there’s mention of Peter and Edmund and Lucy, as well as Diggory and Polly from the first novel, but what the heck happened to Susan? Why on earth do we bring back Eustace and Jill?
I’ll leave you with this…
Honestly, I’m happy that I read through these from start to finish as an adult. They were engaging, and definitely something I would encourage children to read. As an adult, I’d give the series 3.5 stars. As a younger teen, I probably would have given it 4.5 stars.
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