Book Review of the Month: Chronicles of Narnia - All 7 Books
The majority of this review is me bitching about book seven, but I'll start nice.
On the whole, I enjoyed the first 6 books of The Chronicles of Narnia, thoroughly. They were entertaining, the characters though, two-dimensional, were fun to follow. There was some silliness but also some serious work, hard decisions, setbacks, and some minimal soul searching(mostly Eustace).
My favorite book of the series is, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, because I love Reepicheep. Period. Though I also enjoyed the bit of Eustace becoming a dragon, and then a far less annoying character because of it.
As for the characters, I enjoyed the contrast of kids. The Pevenies are perfect adventurers, which was a little boring at times. Then enters Eustace and Jane; who are just misfits. Thus, they have the worst adventures. Their lack of knack ultimately leading to the very sad end in The Silver Chair. You might be thinking, wasn't Shasta in The Horse and His Boy crap, too? Not really, cause his story had a happy ending.
As a side note, I think the name of the book, The Silver Chair, is misleading. As the chair, as a silver chair, is mentioned for barely a paragraph, and at most a page of a chapter. (I don't know how much space it took for certain, because I listened to the audiobook. BUT, it was a passing thing.) The book should have been called Follow Directions or Don't Depend on Frightened Children, Aslan. I also felt like Aslan didn't like Eustace, or he was paying him back for that beef with Reepicheep in the previous visit.
In the end, I found Aslan the most annoying and frustrating character of all. I just wanted to scream "DO IT YOURSELF ASLAN!" in his face. Stop putting these children through all this shit! You can fix it all YOURSELF!
He SAW the witch enter Narnia, as he was making it! She threw a pole at him! Hit him in the face! Did he fix that problem then?! NO. He let it fester. Leaving a barely educated farmer and his wife in charge to have inbred children!
Now, for the seventh book, The Last War:
Mr. Lewis could have kept that ENTIRELY, the whole damn thing, to himself.
ALL. OF. IT.
Really, though? (side eye)
Why did the king of Narnia keep a blackface kit? Why were the worshippers of death, Tashe, brown-skinned? If Aslan made everything, except the witch, ...where did the Calormene come from? Where did Tashe come from? And that name. Really? Nothing better? And did Lewis think by letting ONE, TOKEN Calormene into the "REAL" Narnia, no one would think he was being prejudice? (The connotative side eye is intense in that last question.)
Also, what was going on with the last king of Narnia and that unicorn, Jewel? Was the last king super into unicorn horn....I know it's none of my business but...he was living in the woods, he and the unicorn were always whispering sweet nothings into each others' ears (some of which Lewis never revealed the contents of)....now I know I'm not his mother, but if I was I might be wondering why he hadn't settled down with a nice Narnian queen, or even a "queen". If you know what I mean...
Hmm, living alone with a unicorn, doesn't seem quite right. (...says the cat lady.)
Then, there's the lazy writing in book seven.
Lewis calls a chapter, 'mostly to do with dwarves', when 'the nature of dwarves', or 'the wrath of dwarves', would have better described that chapter. It felt half-hearted to me. I know I shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but speaking of...
How about the living?!
That bit about Susan not being a "friend of Narnia" anymore. You know, that one bit where everyone's talking down about her, after they realize THEY'RE ALL DEAD, saying, 'she didn't enjoy our stories/near death experiences, hahaha, she's so silly, wanting to LIVE life'. I'm paraphrasing, but it was like that.
So if Narnia is the land of the dead, then all their "adventures" there had to be near death experiences, right??
I don't know if they have sleep apnea in that family, low blood pressure, or whatever...but they were hanging out in the land of the dead, with lion Jesus.
But Susan had plans for a future, and enjoyed being alive, so she's the butt of the Narnian joke. I hope her whole family happily dying left Susan a large estate, and she became a duchess of somewhere. Living it up. YOLO.
Fuck friends of Narnia.
And ultimately, I feel that was, indeed, C.S. Lewis' feeling by that last book, as well. He was tired of people asking him about those characters and he didn't want anymore adventures in Narnia. And neither do I,... after that book.