Book Review: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

I’ve said before that I really don’t like it when I don’t like a book, but I don’t like it even more when I KNOW at the outset I’m not going to like it and I still read it. I felt I had to read The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, purely because it’s a childhood classic and it’s really like a fairytale and all that and, I suppose, therein lies the problem. Like many books and movies in life, I think the charm of Narnia comes from having read it in childhood – I never did and now, reading it as an adult, the magic of it was lost on me I’m afraid.

In case you don’t know the ins and outs of it, The Chronicles of Narnia is a series of seven books about a magical land, beginning with The Magician’s Nephew where we see the land of Narnia begin, to The Last Battle, where Narnia itself comes to an end. Along the way, Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy Pevensey are drawn into Narnia to help fight witches, become kings and queens, help a prince regain his throne and rescue his descendants from another evil witch. Some of the books are also about other aspects of Narnia and cover other lands like Calormen and introduce their people for later on in the series.

I can’t really think of much to say – I suppose Lewis deserves praise for crafting a world that runs over seven books and publishing them and having them become so popular, but I really didn’t take to his style of writing at all – there was a lot of popping out of the scene, with the storyteller telling us ‘enough about that now, you can read about that later’. It just didn’t add anything for me and I felt disconnected from it all. Another thing that didn’t sit easily with me was the clear religious parallels made in all the books, but I accept this is more my fault as an atheist reading it than it is for Lewis writing it.

So, if you’re someone like me, attempting to read this as an adult for the first time, I’d advise not to, but if you’ve enjoyed it as a child and want to share with your children then why not?

I’ve linked to the Amazon site for the Narnia books, but you can actually also pick them up rather reasonably on eBay.

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4 Responses to Book Review: The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

  1. Boysmum2 says:

    Like you these do not appeal to me. Some of them were read to us at school when I was about 8-9 but I don’t remember much. Would I give them to my boys to read, maybe in a few years time but if they are not interested then I won’t push it. I do know others who swear by these books, my husband has never read them but seen some of the movies and wishes to read them. maybe one day he will but who knows! Thanks for a great honest review

  2. Justin Brierley says:

    I really love the Narnia stories and have read them to all my children. I think they do require a bit more effort these days because some of the language is ‘of its time’. As a Christian I find the imagery very powerful but think Lewis has done it in such a way that many people may never notice the allegory if they aren’t looking for it.

    If you don’t mind me asking, what led you to adopt atheism as your way of looking at the world?

    • Stacey says:

      I suppose these days I would class myself as a Humanist, rather than an Atheist – my view, as developed over my nearly 40 years, is that there is no over-arching power or fate that controls our lives, that we are beholden to, there’s no evidence for that and, in fact, the more I live in the world, the more I see that there never will be…

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