3.5 stars out of 5
There are seven books in The Chronicles of Narnia and I would call them classics. They are written for children, but probably get read by adults more often. Written by C. S. Lewis, most people have either read or at least heard of them. There are even movies of the first three of them in publication order.
I might be sticking my foot in my mouth by only giving the Narnia books three and a half stars, but they aren’t the best stories in my mind. The books are meant for children but while that means the words need to be simple, the story doesn’t have to be. Lewis is great at sliding in messages implying deeper religious or general life advice, but the storyline is too straight forward. And its a pity the story isn’t developed more because the world is beautiful. I probably get more from the quotes that are thrown about everywhere than from the books themselves. The movies actually improved the storyline making them more complex and realistic. It is also a very black and white story. Yes, these books were written years ago, but the ideas of evil versus good, nonredeemable people, racism, and stereotypes get to be a bit much.
I love the idea of these books more than how they were actually written. I fill in the simple storyline blanks in my mind. I focus on those bits of wisdom where Lewis makes a profound statement. I give Lewis a pass for writing a story within his own time period. And I watch the epic movies which show me how exciting it all can be. The later published books do get better storyline-wise and I am reminded that even though these books are considered classics, Lewis was still learning as he wrote.
I would still suggest reading these books if you haven’t, but don’t expect them to be perfect books. They are widely loved, and that love has reason to be there.
The Books in the Narnia Series
Digory and Polly accidentally stumble into the beginning of a new world and start its troubles.
Lucy, Edmond, Susan, and Peter discover a whole world inside of their wardrobe and get invested in saving its people.
Shasta and Bree on the run from slavers discover a plot that threatens Narnia. Their journey then becomes a race to warn a country they wish to live in.
Exiled, Prince Caspian calls for help from the four famous Narnian rulers to help him win the battle for the throne.
Edmund and Lucy get pulled into Narnia along with their cousin, Eustace onto Prince Caspian’s ship to explore unknown waters.
Jill and Eustace are given a quest to save Prince Rillian from the evil witch.
Peter, Edmund, and Lucy return to Narnia in time to witness its last struggles as the world ends.