Book Review: “The Last Battle”

Book twenty four of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle

The seventh and final book in the Chronicles of Narnia brings closure to the entire series. We get to see all our favorite characters once again in Narnia which wraps up the seven books nicely.

The story focuses on an impostor Aslan that is beginning to destroy Narnia with the help of the Calormene, Narnia’s not-so-nice neighbors. The current king of Narnia, a decedent of Prince Caspian, attempts to thwart the fake Aslan but cannot do so without help. Here is where we see Jill and Eustace from The Silver Chair return.

Jill, Eustace and the king gather what faithful Narnians they can find to expose the fake Aslan and revolt against the army of Calormene. Unfortunately, the land is divided and many Narnians perish at the hands of other Narnians. All that Narnia stands far begins to crumble and Jill and Eustace begin to realize the fate of their favorite land is dismal.

I don’t want to give away too much or what happens in the end, but we get to see the Penvensies and even Polly and Digory, the children from The Magician’s Nephew. The return of characters from past books really brings together the story of the series as a whole and creates an all-encompassing ending.

I really enjoyed reading this series and recommend it to anyone that enjoyed the movies. The movies didn’t tell the whole story and the whole story is worth telling (reading).

Stay tuned for my next review: Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell.

Book Review: “The Silver Chair”

Book twenty of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s The Silver Chair

The sixth book in the Chronicles of Narnia brings a new adventure and new characters to the series. I remember this being one of my favorite movies from the BBC film adaptations because of the characters and the different style of adventure it brought.

In this book we see Eustace, cousin to the Penvensie children, again with a new character, a schoolmate named Jill Pole. Eustace and Jill are summoned to Narnia by Aslan to help find and return Prince Caspian’s son who has been missing for 10 Narnian years. And if you’ve ever read the series or seen the movies you’ll know that in Narnia time moves differently. So when Eustace arrives again in Narnia he doesn’t realize the old frail king about to board a ship is his old friend Caspian.

After arriving and missing the chance to speak with his old friend, Eustace and Jill head out to find the lost prince with four key clues given to Jill by Aslan. Now this is where another new character is introduced and the adventure begins. Jill, who has just been introduced in this book, plays a key role in the journey that encompasses the book’s plot. Even though Jill is a new character I found that she fit well in Narnia. I liked that even though Eustace was the returning character the plot was focused on her and her own challenges. Her character really made or broke the individual tasks that made up the entire adventure.

The adventure in this book is similar to all the other books but with different challenges, tasks and settings for the characters. This was an aspect of the book that I really enjoyed because it took the characters outside of the areas we readers have already learned about in other books of the series. The tasks and challenges presented to the characters were unique compared to others thus keeping my interest.

In addition to the new characters, tasks and challenges and settings, the book was very fast paced which kept me interested and engaged. This cannot be said about the other books in the series so I found this refreshing.

I’m happy to have continued reading this series and with only one book left I am actually a bit sad about it all ending. Overall the series is an easy read and I enjoyed being able to read the books in only a few settings. I still recommend reading this series to anyone who is okay reading YA.

I won’t be jumping straight into the final installment of The Chronicles of Narnia quite yet, but I will read The Last Battle soon and post an overall series review.

Stay tuned for my next review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace.

Book Review: “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”

Book fifteen of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The fifth book in the Chronicles of Narnia was the third movie made by Disney. It follows Prince Caspian in both the book and movie.

I have to admit I am getting a bit burned out on these books, but I am still determined to finish the entire series.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader had similar plot differences with the film adaptation as Prince Caspian did. Some details were different and some order of events were swapped around. But, of course, that is to be expected with film adaptations of books.

I did enjoy this book more than I enjoyed the last. I think the detail and flow of this story was better and had more action and development. I, personally, like the two younger Pevensie children more and so having them be the only two in this book was more enjoyable. Lucy’s character is always ready for adventure and ready to learn new things. She develops more and more as a young lady as the books fo on and I really enjoyed her personal battles in this book.

I also enjoyed the new character Eustace, Lucy and Edmund’s cousin. He definitely isn’t a likable person at the beginning but his growth in the book is relatable and was fun to follow. His experiences were other worldly, but they parallel many things that young children experience in the real world which makes him a key character for young readers to bond with.

This one is a bit short, but as I’ve said in all my review of this series, I’d recommend reading it.

Stay tuned for the next review: The Silver Chair, book six in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis or Stay Sexy & Don’t Get Murdered by podcast queens Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark.

Book Review: “Prince Caspian”

Book fourteen of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s Prince Caspian

The fourth book in the Chronicles of Narnia was the second movie made by Disney, so naturally it’s the second most well known, behind The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe that is.

I’d seen the movie before reading the book so reading it was easier than some that had not been made into movies. I will say, unlike the second book, first movie, the book and movie had more differences.

The book had far less detail and adventure than the movie, which was a bit of a let down. Generally speaking the books usually have more detail, more adventure and more subplots. Prince Caspian fell short of this generalization which was a bit disappointing.

Overall the book follows the same general plot as the movie. (You’d hope so considering the movie was based on the book) The main parts from the movie that were generated by the script writers differing from the book were as follows:

  • In the movie, the arrival of the Pevensie children was at the very beginning when Caspian realized he was in danger of being killed by his greedy uncle and had just escaped the castle. In the book, Caspian has already gathered the old Narnians and faced his uncle’s army in small battles before he blows Susan’s horn.

This part of the plot in the book seems more realistic to me, as Caspian’s tutor said to only use the horn in grave danger, and for those that have seen the movie, Caspian blows the horn when a simple dwarf approaches him. It however sets up a whole line of events differently from the movie.

  • With this first plot differentiation throwing things into a whole new timeline it makes sense that other’s don’t follow accordingly. The second major part is that the battle at the castle never happens in the book. When the Pevensies finally arrive to aid Caspian, the single combat battle between King Peter and Miraz, Caspian’s uncle happens within a day.

The battle at Miraz’s castle was to hopefully gain ground and avoid a larger battle in the movie’s plot line and without this battle the plot goes straight into the large battle outside of Aslan’s How. This shortens the story quite a bit and actually gives way to another difference in plots.

  • The Pevensies finally meet Caspian at Aslan’s How where the old Narnian army has been for days, fighting small battles with the Telmarine army as said above, but they do not meet him by shear happenstance, like the the movie. Aslan himself leads them which cuts out the whole chase and race for Lucy to find him to bring aid during the final battle.

This part is portrayed differently in the book. Aslan brings the children and the dwarf from one place to just outside of Aslan’s How. Here he sends Peter and Edmund and the dwarf to the How where the army and Caspian are. During this time Susan, Lucy and Aslan get all the trees, driads, etc. that have been dormant since the downfall of old Narnia. Aslan still makes a “just in time” appearance with reinforcements, but it is nothing like the suspense the movie built for the same battle scene.

Now believe me, I hate making comparisons between a book and its movie adaptation, but this was the opposite of the usual book vs. movie conversation. It worked well in a way because I watched the movie before reading the book so I got the heavier details first, and then read the book.

Overall, I enjoyed reading the book because it was a bit different from the movie so I didn’t expect every thing that occurred. The plot was a bit back and forth as it was told first from the Penvensies perspective and then went back in time to show Caspian’s and then eventually came together.

I’m not a huge fan of this style of writing because it can come off very confusing. It was not a single chapter going back and forth between the two perspectives it was several chapters at once and then several chapters from the second perspective and then back again.

I also thought for a book titled Prince Caspian that the book wasn’t really about Prince Caspian. It seemed like the character development I expected, and saw in other books in the series, was lacking in this one.

I will, however, continue to recommend this series as a whole. Each book is a very easy read and worth the story it tells.

Stay tuned for the next review: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, book five in the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

Book Review: “The Horse and His Boy”

Book thirteen of my 2019 Reading Challenge.

C.S. Lewis’s The Horse and His Boy

The third book in the Chronicles of Narnia was one written after the original, more well known books with the Pevensie children as was the first, The Magician’s Nephew.

The Horse and His Boy follows new characters Shasta and Avaris and Narnian horses Bree and Hwin. Shasta is given an opportunity to escape the live of a slave in Calormen when Bree reveals himself a talking horse, which was unheard of in Calormen but well known in the land of Narnia. Shasta’s journey takes him across great lands to Narnia and along the way, under stressful circumstances, he meets Avaris and her talking horse Hwin.

The group of four continue the journey to Narnia together only to face the largest challenge in the capital of Calormen when they are separated. Here we meet two of the Pevensie children, Queen Susan and King Edmund who are facing a challenge themselves. With this cross of both new and older, more familiar characters, it makes the story more interesting for a reader that has read the books earlier in the series or seen the movies.

The plot takes another turn and Shasta must become something he never thought imaginable in his old life, a hero. His heroism saves not only his own life, but the life of many, both Narnian and not. The story ends with happiness as all usually do and we gain a bit more knowledge about the history of Narnia.

Overall I liked this book because of the crossover and continuation of the characters that are familiar to me and the introduction of new characters. The new characters had great development which I always enjoy in a book. Characters that grow while you’re reading make them more relatable and it makes you want to continue the journey with them.

As I’ve said, I recommend the Chronicles of Narnia series to anyone that enjoys getting lost in another world.

Stay tuned for my next review: Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis, book four in the Chronicles of Narnia.