Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Narnia Reading Project

I found this over on Darlene's Book Nook and immediately knew I wanted to take part. The Chronicles of Narnia is the series that introduced me to fantasy fiction. My aunt read the books to me when I was little and I read them countless times once I knew how to read myself. But its been years since I opened one of these books and the moment I saw this the desire to dive in and look at them with fresh eyes -- its been at least ten years -- has me bouncing up and down in my computer chair. Yes, I am that excited.

So I thought that I would do a little "getting started" post here with my thoughts on each book (briefly!) as I recall it from childhood / my teens. This page will eventually be linked to full reviews for each book and a comprison between what I think / feel *now*, looking back, and how I think and feel as I read the books.

I hope that you will all have fun joining me on this quest to retrace my steps and rediscover one of my favorite series. And if you would like to join, then I recommend that you visit Rikki's Teleidoscope, the blog hosting the event, and sign up.

Reviews (Coming Soon)

The Magician's Nephew | The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe | The Horse and His Boy | Prince Caspian | The Voyage of the Dawn Treader | The Silver Chair | The Last Battle 

My Thoughts Going In...

The Magician's Nephew

First published in 1955, The Magician's Nephew was the sixth book C.S. Lewis wrote about Narnia. It was intended as a prequel to the series, chronicling events that took place before The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Many readers prefer to begin reading The Chronicles of Narnia with The Magician's Nephew.

That last line makes me laugh. There are five books in the Chronicles of Naria that I have read countless times. There are two books that I have never completed. This book calls into that latter category. Why? 

As I just found out from reading the post for this event, The Magician's Nephew is actually not the first Narnia book that C.S. Lewis wrote. It was actually written as a prequel to The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe. As such, it is intended for someone who has read other books, not actually for a first time reader. Was I a first time reader when I went to read this? No. But my mind was set as one. Now I know to look at this differently.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe

When Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy took their first steps into the world behind the magic wardrobe, little do they realise what adventures are about to unfold. And as the story of Narnia begins to unfold, so to does a classic tale that has enchanted readers of all ages for over half a century.

This was my introduction to The Chronicles of Naria. It was originally read to my brothers and I by our Aunt Brenda, who babysat us a lot as kids. I really enjoy this book and I recall being amazed at how wondrous and magical the world of Narnia seemed. This remains one of my favorite books today and it is a shame that I haven't read it in so long. I look forward to visiting an old friend.

The Horse and His Boy

Shasta is a young boy living in Calormene with a cruel man who claims to be his father. One night he overhears his "father" offering to sell him as a slave, so Shasta makes a break and sets out for the North. He meets Bree, a talking horse who becomes his companion. On their way they encounter Aravis, a high-born girl escaping an arranged marriage, and her talking horse. Despite their differences the children and horses learn to work together to reach the freedom they long for. In the meantime, they uncover a Calormene plot to conquer Narnia.

This is likely the strangest and most stand-alone of all the Narnia books. There are nods to some of the more central characters of the series here and there, but for the most part The Horse and His Boy focuses on one time only characters that we've never seen before and never see again.

I've heard a lot of mixed opinions on this book, but I seem to recall liking it when I read it, so I look forward to revisiting it again. It will be interesting to see how it fits as I read the books in (story-wise) chronological order. 

Prince Caspian

A prince fights for his crown. Narnia... where animals talk... where trees walk... here a battle is about to begin. A prince denied his rightful throne gathers an army in a desperate attempt to rid his land of a false king. But in the end, it is a battle of honor between two men alone that will decide the fate of an entire world.

I liked Prince Caspian from word go. The character, and the book. In fact (get ready to laugh!) I think I also recall him being one of my first book crushes. Don't ask me why, and it was definitely moreso in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, but truth is truth. The other thing I really like about Prince Caspian is how we see the characters actually needing to readjusted to living in Narnia again. I always found it interesting that C.S. Lewis made it take time for that to happen.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

Welcome aboard the royal vessel of King Caspian! Meet our captain, Lord Drinian; Sir Reepicheep, the bravest of all mice; Edmund and Lucy Pevensie; and others as they search for the seven lost lords of Narnia.

This is my favorite Narnia book. I love the idea of traveling the seas. I love all of the different islands. I love Prince Caspian (wait, I told you this already!) and I really love watching Eustace's growth through his ordeal. This isn't just my favorite Narnia book, but one of my favorite books, ever. The question remains, though... Will reality live up to my memories? We shall have to wait and see. 

The Silver Chair

Jill and Eustace must rescue the Prince from the evil Witch.

NARNIA...where owls are wise, where some of the giants like to snack on humans, where a prince is put under an evil spell...and where the adventure begins.

Eustace and Jill escape from the bullies at school through a strange door in the wall, which, for once, is unlocked. It leads to the open moor...or does it? Once again Aslan has a task for the children, and Narnia needs them. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, they pursue the quest that brings them face and face with the evil Watch. She must be defeated if Prince Rillian is to be saved.

For some reason I recall being very scared of this book. And truthfully, I don't recall much else about it even though I know I did finish it. I am looking forward to going back and seeing what I think of this one now. It's a book I've been meaning to revisit for a long, long time.

The Last Battle

Many Narnian years have passed since Eustace and Jill helped ensure the Royal line. But when they are jerked back violently into this strangest of lands they find the present King in danger and Narnia facing its darkest hour. With Eustace and Jill at his side, the King, the noble unicorn Jewel and a few remaining loyal subjects must stand fast against the powers of evil and darkness and fight the Last Battle to decide the future of this once glorious kingdom.

And it ends just as it began -- with a book I've never finished. I've started The Last Battle countless times but have never had the guts to see how the whole story would be concluded. Well, no more of that nonsense. It's time I found out, isn't it? It would be nice to know what I think of the series as a whole. 

Thanks so much for sticking around through all of that! Anyway, I hope that everyone will enjoy reading about my adventures re-discovering Narnia. And I really hope that some of you will choose to join in and read these books, too. 


  1. How fun! This series introduced me to fantasty fiction as well, and will always be on of my favourite series. I'm also right there with you on Caspian being a first book crush, haha!

    I also remember The Silver Chair being very creepy, and I don't remember much of anything about The Last Battle, but I know when I go to re-read, pieces will come back to me as I read.

    I always wished they'd make film adaptations of the books that didn't have Pevenseys in them, though - those aren't the only worthy books in the series, and I would like to see other characters come to life that way as well, even if it's just a mini-series or something.

  2. I'm looking forward to rediscovering Narnia when my boys get older. I originally read them chronologically so I started with The Magician's Nephew. I haven't decided yet how which order I'll introduce my boys. ;)

  3. Thanks again for joining. I really enjoyed reading your post. It was very interesting for a newbie. How astonishing that you never finished some of the books... Maybe you are ready for them now.


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