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Mini Review: The Magician’s Nephew and The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Title:  The Magician’s Nephew
Author:  C.S. Lewis
Series:  The Chronicles of Narnia #6/#1*
Publisher:  Collier Books, a division of Macmillan
Publication Date:  August 1, 1970 (First published 1955)
Pages:  186
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre:  All Ages/Classics, Fantasy

The Magician’s Nephew is a gorgeous introduction to the magical land of Narnia. The many readers who discovered C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles through The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe will be delighted to find that the sixth volume in the series is actually the first in the sequence–and a step back in time. In this unforgettable story, British schoolchildren Polly and Digory inadvertently tumble into the Wood Between the Worlds, where they meet the evil Queen Jadis and, ultimately, the great, mysterious King Aslan. We witness the birth of Narnia and discover the legendary source of all the adventures that are to follow in the seven books that comprise the series. (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

 

Title:  The Last Battle
Author:  C.S. Lewis
Series:  The Chronicles of Narnia #7
Publisher:  HarperTrophy, a division of HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date:  1984 (First published 1956)
Pages:  228
Format/Source:  Paperback/Purchased
Age Group/Genre:  All Ages/Classics, Fantasy

Narnia…where dwarfs are loyal and tough and strong–or are they?…where you must say goodbye…and where the adventure begins again.

The Unicorn says that humans are brought to Narnia when Narnia is stirred and upset. And Narnia is in trouble now: A false Aslan roams the land. Narnia’s only hope is that Eustace and Jill, old friends to Narnia, will be able to find the true Aslan and restore peace to the land. Their task is a difficult one because, as the Centaur says, “The stars never lie, but Men and Beasts do.” Who is the real Aslan and who is the imposter? (Cover and synopsis from Goodreads.)

I read both of these books fairly quickly, and didn’t write too many notes, so I’m just going to write a mini review of both of them and share some of my notes.

  • Once again with the food!  Why do you always have to make me so hungry, C.S. Lewis?!?
  • The Magician’s Nephew really reminds me of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, with the dust and the characters moving between worlds.  I know that Pullman hates this series, but I feel like he was influenced by this series even though he hates it so much. (I personally liked both series, and found great things about both, while also finding things I didn’t like so much in both.)  Perhaps he used things in this series on purpose, though.
  • I also think J.K. Rowling was influenced a lot by this series.  I happened to look it up and while she had her issues with the series as well, she said that she did love them as a kid.
  • I like how, in The Magician’s Nephew, people from Narnia and other worlds come into our own world.  That’s pretty cool, since that doesn’t really happen in the other books (except for a second in The Silver Chair).
  • I love when things from other books show up in series like this, when they’re kind of more companion books, but the characters or places show up again.  In The Magician’s Nephew, we see The White Witch, the lamp post, and Digory, who was the older man whom the Pevensies stayed with in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.
  • My favorite line from The Magician’s Nephew: “Now the trouble about trying to make yourself stupider than you really are is that you very often succeed.”
  • I didn’t really love the story of the ape and the donkey in The Last Battle.  I get why the story was told, but I just didn’t like it.
  • I was confused about a few things in the end of The Last Battle
  • Yay!  Reepicheep!!!  He is definitely my favorite character of the whole series, and I was glad to see him again in The Last Battle.
  • My favorite line from The Last Battle:  “Talking Dogs, just like the common ones, behave as if they thought whatever they are doing at the moment immensely important.”
 
My rating for The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis:
 
Actually 3.5 stars.  I liked it more than The Horse and His Boy, but not as much as some of the others.
 
 
My rating for The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis:
 
More like 3.75 stars.  I enjoyed it, but I liked a lot of the other books in the series more.
 
Disclaimer:  I purchased these books myself.  I was not compensated in any way for this review.

*Most of my copies of The Chronicles of Narnia series are numbered in the published order, although some are numbered so that the story moves chronologically.  I’ve decided to read them all in the order they were originally published.

4 Comments

  1. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    December 5, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is one of my all time favorite books. I didn't read the rest of the series until adulthood (I did try a few times, but the thought of reading books in the series without all four of the children bothered me for some reason). I loved discovering The Magician's Nephew last, because it was like a gift, but I also get why some first time readers might start with it. Sadly, it's been a very long time since I read the series and I don't much remember The Last Battle, but I'm sure I'll re-read it someday.

    Loved the quotes you picked! It's definitely a series worth trying at least once. ;)

  2. fakesteph

    December 5, 2013 at 1:12 pm

    Is The Magician's nephew the one about the boy who witnesses the creation of Narnia? Because that's the one I like, I think.

  3. Bittner

    January 2, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    I think I already told you this but I didn't like the Donkey and the Ape story that much either the first time I read it. The whole book felt slow to me, but the more I've read it (or listened to it) the more the story has grown on me! I'm really glad you read the series though, it makes me happy.

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