Book Review: Chronicles of Narnia
There are plenty of popular fantasy novels written for children out there. Whether Harry Potter or the more insidious Golden Compass, I have found that none can come close to the warmth, wisdom and status of a timeless classic as C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia. Even The Hobbit, which is one of my favorites and is a superbly written classic, cannot quite attain the same level.
I must admit up front that I am biased, because God used Narnia to bring me to repentance and acceptance of Christ in my childhood. But I find there are many biased for this reason, and that is the series’ first and best quality. While other fantasy novels entertain and inspire, The Chronicles of Narnia points the way to Christ and eternal life.
The series has sold more than 100 million copies and has been adapted into major motion pictures. A brief overview from the Internet goes as follows: “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.”
Unlike many writers today, Lewis did not select the most popular genre of the day and use a consultant’s business model to produce a series and milk it for all the money it’s worth. If he had, Lewis most certainly would not have chosen the children’s genre for his great ideas and themes.
Lewis says, “You and I who still enjoy fairy tales have less reason to wish actual childhood back. We have kept its pleasures and added some grown-up ones as well.” Each of the Narnia books is a pleasure to read and perfect for the whole family.
My young children enjoy it when I read them aloud. My oldest, now nine, has read parts of the series, which include all the great fictional characters a child could want—fauns, witches, centaurs, and even Santa Clause. Amid the plotline, Lewis cleverly “smuggles in theology,” as he says, so that the young are predisposed toward Truth and Christ.
The most beloved in the series is its second book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the future, I plan to begin by reviewing it, then all seven of Lewis’ children’s novels in the Narnia series. Better still, the “Word Slingers” site would accept reviews from you on Narnia. To that end, we extend the invitation to all you “Narnian” writers out there. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in composing a review.
“For Aslan! For Narnia!”