The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
These seven tales take the reader along with the main characters into the magical lands of Narnia, where a rarely-seen, but beautiful, good lion rules, evil often sneaks into existence, fauns dance, and trees come alive.
In these books, characters come from our world (London, to be precise) help save Narnia from wicked schemes or just to travel on daring adventures, conquering the evil inside them and maturing in this beautiful land.
I am not going to talk about each novel, because if I did, your eyes would melt by the time you came to the end of the post (from the length, not from boredom, of course :).
Although Lewis wrote these novels for children, you never really grow out of them, or if you do, it is a shame because of all the timeless themes woven through this series. And that is actually one of the themes: that children have belief, and this belief is more real than that of adults at times. Sometimes children need to be more mature, but adults can also afford to be more childish.
There is also, of course, the large symbol of Aslan the lion, who takes the place of Christ in these novels. And there are so many different aspects to him that he does seem truly alive and impresses the attributes of Christ deeper into your mind and soul, so that I also longed to feel Aslan's mane (or Christ's arms) and walk beside him in the cool of the evening.
Yearning is yet another theme that runs through these stories. Yearning for something more, deeper, longer-lasting, for a true, real home that one never has to leave, and for adventure, to live a life that matters.
Although it caused me great pains to decide, because I like all of them so much, my favorites of the series would have to be The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Horse and His Boy. I love The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because there is a high sense of adventure as the characters sail through unknown seas, there is a dragon and mermaids. Also, the characters come close to Aslan's land, which turned my thoughts toward Heaven and the joys I will experience there some day. I also just love the character of Reepicheep; he may be small (he's a mouse), but his heart is as large as at least three men's.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is probably the most popular book and features how the main characters in the series enter Narnia. Lucy, one of the children in the series that I relate to more than the others, has a main part in this book. I also love the imagery of the Stone Table and how it points to Christ's death and resurrection.
The Horse and His Boy is different from all of the other books because it takes place wholly in Narnia; no children enter the world from London. The talking horses are so fun to listen to, and I found the culture in this tale-a southern Arabic climate-fascinating. Shasta also pulls on my heart strings, and it has a lovely ending.
Well, there you have it; a tiny summary on my favorite books in the series. The narrator in all of them can be irritating at times because he talks to you, but once you get used to him, he becomes more humorous than annoying. What's more, all of the endings are hopeful/happy!
I give this series a 5 out of 5. Yes, a perfect score. Good job, Lewis! It is suited for ages 11 and up (it is written in an older, British-styled English).
What I learned: Oh dear. Where to begin? We are not made for this world; it is a mere Shadowland compared to eternity spent with God. Sometimes bravery and doing what is right is more difficult than the opposite, but it is always worth it in the end.
My favorite quote: "All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before."