The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis are rightly considered classic fantasy, and rank right up there with The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy as some of the best fantasy ever written. Because this omnibus contains seven books, this review will be a little longer than I usually allow myself.
I generally liked this entire series (and I’ve finally read all of it now!), though there were a few parts which I thought were weaker than the rest, but they really were few and far between. I recommend reading the series in published order as it helps the enjoyment to not know some of the things which happen chronologically first when reading the first published books. So, here we go, in published order:
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the one I’m most familiar with, and the only one which I had previously read. I think it will remain my favorite of the series, if only for nostalgic reasons. It’s a fun and adventurous read from beginning to end and introduces the story of the four Pevensie children: Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy.
Prince Caspian is a bit darker than the first, but I really like it quite well. It gave a new perspective to the series and helped expand on the events of the first book.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was really interesting while moving more slowly than the first two books. I like the book more than the 2010 film; I think they changed too many things in translating it to film.
The Silver Chair returned to the roots of the series and was a fun adventure all the way through. I really think Eustace came into his own in this book, and I really liked Jill as a character, too.
The Horse and His Boy was my second favorite of the stories, I think. I really thought Shasta and Aravis were very interesting characters, and Bree and Hwin added a depth all their own with their perceptions throughout the story.
The Magician’s Nephew was very interesting to me as it showed the founding of Narnia and introduced the White Witch before she was the White Witch (at least that’s what it seemed like to me, nothing is ever specifically stated which confirms that; it’s just my interpretation of how things end up). Digory and Polly were an interesting pair, as were the taxi driver and his horse. A lot of questions regarding Narnia were answered in this book.
The Last Battle started off somewhat weakly, and dragged its feet for a bit before getting into the story. It was fun to see the reunion of many of the characters from previous books at the end, though sad to see the end of Narnia. This book, along with Voyage, are the most overtly Christian of the series, with Lewis going from subtle references to very blatant ones. Seeing as I’m Christian, this didn’t really bother me, and I thought Lewis did a good job with the presentation of these beliefs. Those unfamiliar with Christian beliefs will still be able to enjoy the books as the adventures don’t require that knowledge for them to be entertaining and interesting.
I strongly recommend The Chronicles of Narnia omnibus to anyone who enjoys a good YA fantasy series, and for any curious about the roots of the 2005-2010 film series. Reading these books will definitely allow you to better enjoy the films.
Release Date: September 16, 2002 (USA)
ISBNs: 0066238501 (9780066238500)
Alcohol/Drugs: 0 (description)
Language: 0 (description)
Nudity: 0 (description)
Sexuality: 0 (description)
Violence: 2 (some battles, other fighting)