The Chronicles of Narnia

by C. S. Lewis

Paper Book, 2004



Local notes

Fic Lew





New York : HarperCollins Publishers, [2004?]


Classic Literature. Fantasy. Fiction. Thriller. HTML: For over sixty years, readers of all ages have been enchanted by the magical realms, the epic battles between good and evil, and the unforgettable creatures of Narnia. This box set includes all seven titles in The Chronicles of Narniaâ??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; and The Last Battle.

Original publication date

1950 (The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe)
1951 (Prince Caspian)
1952 (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
1953 (The Silver Chair)
1954 (The Horse and His Boy)
1955 (The Magician's Nephew)
1956 (The Last Battle)

Physical description

778 p.; 24 cm

User reviews

LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
I only recently read the Narnia novels as an adult, so I can't speak to how I might have experienced it as a child. I thought the first book I read, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe too blatant in its Christian Allegory and would have stopped there if a couple of friends hadn't urged me to read
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on--I'm glad I did.

The Christian Allegory is present in each novel--as is Aslan the Lion, a Christ-figure who is the only constant in all seven books. After The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe though, those Christian aspects didn't bother me--even became part the journey I enjoyed--even though I'm not a Christian--am in fact an atheist.

I couldn't help contrast this series in my mind to Pullman's His Dark Materials which I'd read before trying Narnia. It became more and more obvious as I went through the Narnia books that Pullman's series was written very much as the "anti-Narnia." One would think Pullman's atheist polemic would be more to my liking. Yet, despite that I have my problems with Narnia, I think I prefer it to His Dark Materials. Pullman is Lewis' match in imagination and thought-provoking ideas--and there's much about His Dark Materials I find amazing. I also find it at times angry and bitter in its attacks on religion and even more heavy handed than Lewis in making its points. I prefer Lewis' tone frankly. At times preachy, yes, but there's a gentle whimsy and above all humor that Pullman lacks.

Narnia is filled with imagery, imagination, symbolism but above all ideas conveyed through the events of the story. I find that rare in adult literature let alone childrens' literature. I couldn't help but admire how Lewis uses the intricacies of a spell in The Silver Chair to convey the ideas in Plato's of Allegory of the Cave or the echoes of Dante in The Last Battle. There's so much that's rich and wondrous here.

Nor is Pullman the only fantasy author where I can see Lewis' influence. Even though I'm a lover of the fantasy genre, somehow I managed to never read Narnia before. Once I did, it was evident Lewis' Narnia is every bit as influential as Tolkien's Middle Earth. The Horse and His Boy with its talking horses of made me think of Lackey's companions in her Valdemar books. The warrior mice of Prince Caspian made me think of Jacques' Redwall. The messenger owls, giants, feasts and the evils of the color green connected to snakes in The Silver Chair reminded me of Rowling's Harry Potter series. The shape of Narnia in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was reminiscent of Pratchett's Discworld. There doesn't seem a corner of fantasy that doesn't seem encompassed by the borders of Narnia and that makes it a must-read for fantasy fans and anyone who wants to be culturally literate.

There were aspects that did frustrate and annoy me at times. I don't agree with those Lewis critics who accuse Narnia of racism and sexism--I think it's more the opposite when you look at the Chronicles as a whole. The accusations of racism come from Lewis' depiction of Narnia's adversary, the southern land of Calormen, a land out of the Arabian Nights. I admit some descriptions of them made me wince and gave me pause--but it's also true there are positive characters among the Calormenes such as Emeth and Avaris--the heroine of The Horse and His Boy who marries the Narnian Cor and has a child with him.

And sexism? Well, these books were written in the fifties--there are instances of what a friend of mine calls "gender fail." (Particularly evident to me in The Silver Chair). However, I found striking in Narnia--in contrast to much more recent testosterone laden fantasy--its gender balance among the characters and how the girls are every bit as brave, smart and important to the story as the boys. You couldn't say the same of Tolkien for instance.

I did hate the ending of the series in The Last Battle. Without getting into spoilers, the ending does give me pause about how it might be received by children.

However, yes, I would give Narnia to children. Personally, I'm skeptical of all the fears of indoctrination. Yes, children are impressionable. But frankly--and this is borne out by friends of mine who'd read Narnia as a child--the Christian Allegory is likely to go over their heads. I've known adults of all faiths and no faith who loved Narnia as a child. More than that, I like how the series takes seriously children's moral choices and the workings of conscience. And above all, how it can't help but be wonderful fuel for the imagination.
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LibraryThing member Toast.x2
The Lion, the Witch, and The Wardrobe | Prince Caspian | The Voyage of the DawnTreader | The Silver Chair | The Horse and his Boy | The Magicians Nephew | The Last Battle

Narnia, sweet Narnia.

When I was young, your tales made my imagination swirl. You were the sweet little brother to Lord of the
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Rings. As a kid brother, we enjoyed hanging out at first. Your silly antics and off kilter view of reality made me smile. LOTR and I thought you were fancy in your way.

Before long, we had out grown you. Your psuedo-serious outlook on the world no longer caught our attention. While LOTR and I grew up, you stayed the same. You lacked depth and fell back on religion like a crutch. Though getting older, you continued to prey on the young; like a creepy guy who searches out and only dates high school (or younger) children. Though still friends, you and I no longer communicated. LOTR and I continued to pal around.

Recently, I found that I was missing you. Some films were made in the last few years detailing your exploits and I forgot your faults, remembering the glory days in vivid technicolor CG digital surround sound awesomeness . Watching them brought back great memories indeed. I went out and looked you up. You were easy to find, everyone knew who you were. I was nervous to meet up as it had been so long.

In the end, we hung out in a series of seven sessions. In the first, everything was cool, we were getting along fine overall. By the second and third i was over you.. I was done hanging out, but we had made plans and I hate to flake. By the 7th, I was done. figuratively, physically, meticulously, fabrically, foodily, etc. done. NO MORE.

As far as I am concerned, you can stick to pleasing the kiddies. You and I no longer have anything in common Narnia.


For those who could not tell, I bought the chronicles of narnia in aboxed set. It didnt cost me much, about 30 bucks at Powells. All of the cover art was the same as one the versions I read as a kid. The stories were still the same, and the goals and plot were as remembered. I forgot how GODDAMN HEAVY HANDED C.S. Lewis was.

Anyway, great for kids, not so great for someone who has expanded his/her reading base.
If I were to have to choose a favorite of the INKlings, I would gladly choose Tolkien. This is not to lesen the work of Lewis, but damn.. I wish I would have left it in the realm of memory and not re-read the series.
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LibraryThing member dreamseeker
I'm not sure if I chose the right edition, but I have a collection of all the Narnia series books bound into one volumn. This is handy for saving shelf space, but a bit less convenient for sitting on the edge of a bed and reading aloud to a child.
These books are best enjoyed when read aloud to
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children aged 8-11 years old - the audience for which they were intended. Otherwise, it can be hard to fully appreciate the tragedy of a world "where it is always winter and never Christmas" or tolerate all the little side comments the author puts for the "dear reader". They are meant to be read aloud, and they are meant to be read to children. That being said, the author doesn't neglect the adult who is reading the book to the child, and often puts in little remarks and asides that would sail over the head of most children but will put a smile on the face of an adult.
Some of the stories are Christian allegory, and even some Christians may find themselves objecting to, or being a little skeptical of the entire message C. S. Lewis places between the lines. But he does place it between the lines. He doesn't hit the reader (or listener ) over the head with his message, but lets the stories speak for themselves. The stories are full of magic and wonder ,and beautifully imaginative. I recommend them to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles of children in the target age group - but Ido recommend the boxed set , rather than the single bound volumne - unless you are trying to exercise your arms while you read!
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LibraryThing member AtomicFluffchick
I'm a longtime fan of the Narnia series, and this is certainly a lovely edition of the works. There is one major flaw with this edition (and, apparently, several others!) that needs to be addressed -- the books are provided in the incorrect order!

When Lewis originally wrote the series, he released
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the novels in the following order, and it's the BEST order to read them in:
- The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
- Prince Caspian
- The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
- The Silver Chair
- The Horse and His Boy
- The Magician's Nephew
- The Last Battle

This is the proper order to read the series in, in terms of the order that will let Lewis's storytelling unspool best. Readers who begin with "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" will get to wonder along with the protagonists: "who is Aslan, and what is so special about his return?" -- something that readers who began with "The Magician's Nephew" will never get to experience because they already know the answer. Something that's SUPPOSED to be a mystery no longer is. And the mysterious professor who's strangely inclined to believe Lucy's preposterous story isn't mysterious or strange at all, because his identity has already been spoilered.

DON'T start with "The Magician's Nephew." It's intended to be a prequel, an origin story, that's only revealed to readers right before the climactic final battles that consume Narnia. And by the same token, even though "The Horse and His Boy" is set during the "Golden Age" that occurs shortly before the end of "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe," its impact is significantly lessened if it's read after then, rather than after "The Silver Chair." Since most of that story takes place in Calormen and Archenland, it's important to let the story naturally widen out -- with the natural widening of the setting that occurs over "Prince Caspian," "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," and "The Silver Chair" as foreign lands are referred to and visited -- before being immersed in a part of the Narnia world that ISN'T actually Narnia.

If you value the storytelling, and the mental journey that Lewis intended readers to take, read them in the proper order of publication rather than the misguided order that this volume has rearranged them in. I would have given the volume five stars, because it really is gorgeous, if it weren't for that glaring flaw.
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LibraryThing member bridgetmarkwood
Love this series and have read it several times. Lent it to a friend and never got it back... so looking for another set. This series is an incredible example of layered lit. At the first layer, these are children's books and have been much loved by children for several generations now. As one goes
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deeper down the layers, one finds rich allegory. Parrelling bible stories and biblical ideas, there is a point to every book. Lewis was an expert and lover of Norse mythology as well as an athiest turned Christian appoligetics writer. Both of these are at work in the timeless classics, The Chronicles of Narnia.
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LibraryThing member kellyhatter
I used to make it a summr traditon to read all 7 books. I've read them many times. I just wish they would make a chronological series of movies out of them instead of skipping around.
LibraryThing member rincewind1986
I didnt read these when i was a child and felt that somehow i ought to at one point, eventually i borrowed them from a friend and sat down to see what all the fuss was about. The lion the witch and the wrdrobe was good, i enjoyed the magicians nephew and the rest i found quite dull. I know
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understand why most people speak of the lion the witch and the wardrobe and dont really mention the other 6. If this were a review of the lion the witch and the wardrobe the rating would be higher, but as i enjoyed one maybe two of seven books, i rate the chronicles as 2 and a half stars.
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LibraryThing member AspiringAmeliorant
Certainly a classic. The bound-in-one edition is beautiful, and though I read it in bed, it is not best suited for such a purpose. The Narnia books are both enchanting stories and exhortations to a better life. I'm a little sad that I never got around to reading them when I was young, as I believe
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it would be quite lovely to reread them, noticing the different nuances as you get older.
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LibraryThing member FlorenceArt
Aside from the author trying to shove his moral end religious religious views up my nose, which really annoys me, the stories are enjoyable. Characters are likeable but lack depth in my opinion. A bit childish and dated. I was disappointed.
LibraryThing member Abbsalah
An enjoyable read! The omnibus book puts it in chronological order, but I would HIGHLY recommend reading them in the order they were published instead! Sometimes the Christianity was just a little too much for me, but I found that if I just accepted it for what it is, I could handle it. Lewis is
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predictable in some places, but there are other times when he's extremely imaginative. I loved the monopods and the Marsh-wiggles!

I don't think The Chronicles of Narnia are as complex as Tolkien's Lord of the RIngs or as moving/heartfelt as Harry Potter, but it's still a fun read!
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LibraryThing member sgerbic
"The Horse and His Boy"

Just finished watching the movie "Prince Caspian" and realized it has been a very long time since reading this series. Wikipedia tells several reading orders of these books, but it is clear that "The Horse and His Boy" should be read after "The Lion Witch & the Wardrobe" as
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the Pevensie children are still in Narnia.

This story is very predictable, but still a fun read. What person at some point in their lives can resist the "Prince and the Pauper" story line? Everything always comes out alright in the end whenever Aslan is involved.

On one discussion thread in my JREF forum claims have been made that Lewis is a racist, for evidence they claim that Lewis is calling the dark Arab-like people as evil, and the white, blond men good. I think this reflects the culture from Lewis's time, the Turkish people were considered exotic, very different than the typical white English man. Besides Aravis is very Tarkheen and is accepted without hesitation into the King of Archenland's household with no comment. Only a statement like "we badly need a woman's touch around here." When Cor and Aravis marry and become King and Queen of Archenland, they do so with no mention of racism or opposition.


"The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"

Probably my favorite book in the series, I am glad I have picked up these books again. I love that they keep finding islands that are strange - dangerous - useful and have no explanation.

I still find the religious references odd, and that so many people say that these are Christian references (yes I know Lewis is a Christian author). Aslan claims to be the King over Narnia and to be known by different names in other worlds, yet he is not the King in Calormen or Telmarine. Nor do the Narinians proselytize to the other areas. People simply believe or they don't. Aslan says he brought the Pevensies to Narnia, "that by knowing me here fr a little, you may know me better there." Which means what? How will these children know they are worshiping the correct God while they are on Earth? Which one is most like Aslan, the Christian God, the Muslim God, one of thousands of Indians Gods, maybe one we don't even worship today? What?

Odd that on one island is an old star and his daughter, Ramandu. She seems content to live alone with only her father and some birds for company. How does a star mate with humans and produce offspring? How can Ramandu be happy in crowded Narina (crowded by her terms) leaving her father all alone?

I had a hard time understanding how Lucy was able to see the sea-people long enough to notice their clothing, laughter expressions and so on when the Dawn Treader had a gale behind it's sails? I hope the sailors stored up on the "light water" for home. I would also suppose that many vessels would be traveling this route now that the islands are known to exist. I wonder if the islands are ready for these visitors?


"The Silver Chair"

Lewis’s characters are flat, uninteresting and undeveloped. Jill and Eustace are given an unhappy school life, tormenting bullies and school administrators who refuse to intervene. And that’s about it, if you miss this opportunity to bond with the main characters you may have just lost your chance. Then suddenly these unsuspecting children are called away to do Aslan’s bidding. (Why the Godlike Lion is unable or unwilling to act without subjecting school children to violence and possible death is never explained.) Jill does not question how or why, she just floats off to join her partner, repeating the clues a talking lion, Aslan gives her. The Mashwiggle, Puddleglum fits his name a negative outlook at every chance, which begins to become annoying after a couple of pages. The Prince is beyond believable. With his chivalrous manner he is not only predictable but also boring. And what of the witch? We learn nothing of her motivation, she wants to rule Narnia, with Rilian as her puppet king, and why with her power is she unable to rule without him? Her story would be much more interesting if we knew her history. How about the history of this enchanted silver chair, the title of the book is given about 5 lines explaining nothing. Again, Lewis misses the point of good fiction, strong characters and an intriguing story line.

Story is predictable, main characters are oblivious to dangerous situations and clueless when the obvious is apparent. When encountering Narnian creatures like talking owls, dwarfs and nymphs Jill accepts all with little curiosity. Unable to keep awake during the parliament of owls Jill sleeps while her future odyssey is discussed. When hearing the story of the enormous green serpent and then Rilian’s sudden infatuation with an enchanted lady wearing a green gown we the readers just figured out the surprise ending, and this is only the third chapter. Finally after all their encounters with giants, freezing weather and lots of walking they meet an enchanted Prince Rilian. To the reader it is obvious, only to these bland characters they see a priggish socialite infatuated with a strange lady. When they finally realize the truth, readers everywhere let out a collective, “Duh!”

The ending is more of the same, they rush to the top of the tunnel and with a couple shovelfuls of dirt they find themselves in the middle of a winter dance in where else, Narnia. The children quickly say their goodbyes and Lewis wraps up the story with his typical religious allusions and an end to bullying at school. This adventure, “The Silver Chair,” leaves the reader saying, “Good Riddance.”


"The Magician's Nephew"

In some Narnia collections, this is the first book in the series, and there is a lot of evidence why this might be so. This does show the beginning of Narnia, explaining the White Witch and why humans are linked to this new world. Also explains how Archlenland became with humans. Lewis clearly did not understand genetics, or he didn't care to write science into his fantasy series. How two humans could make offspring that mates with all kinds of creatures after hundreds of years still have humans is beyond me.

Anyway a cute story, a boy who loves his mother and friend Polly. I would love to know more about Chard and the many who sit and wait. I'm sure there are thousands of religious references, but today I think I will ignore them and just enjoy the story.


“The Last Battle” June 2008

This ends my re-reading of the Narnia books, I suppose I am considered middle age now that I am 45. The next time I pick up the books will be when (if?) I have grandchildren. This last book I must have read once or twice before, but barely remember what happens. Reading about Shift and Puzzle made me so angry, how could Narnian’s be so stupid and naive? Lewis’s character development is as usual very bland, King Rilian is chivalrous beyond reason. Jill and Eustace are no more real than in the last book they appeared in, “The Silver Chair.”

The religious elusions are strongest in this book. Aslan appears and all are judged, heaven or somewhere else. Only those who could look Aslan in the face with love could enter into heaven, all else became dumb animals and sent on a different path. What bothers me the most is the ending (oddly I did not remember this at all). The children are reunited with everyone they loved, their parents and friends, they are even able to visit a new and improved England. Aslan tells the children, “There was a real railway accident…all of you are…dead.” Yeah Everybody we’re dead! So that leaves Susan all alone with her lipstick and stockings with her parents and 3 siblings dead. Jill and Eustace’s parents are devastated as they identify their children’s remains and plan their funerals, Yeah…wait…what…we’re dead? Sorry, this story is a dud. How will I explain this to the grandkids?

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LibraryThing member glynish
This is a collection of great magical stories that will keep children and adult's interest. I like the fact that all seven Chronicles of Narnia stories are in one book and they are printed in reading order. The stories being printed in reading order helps the story of Narnia flow. Readers can see
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how everything came to exist. Some of the words in the story are challenging but not to the point were it will discourage a older elementary or middle school reader. These are great read aloud stories where everyone can take a turning read if they choose to. The topic and situations covered in the stories are excellent for discussion.
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LibraryThing member Aerliss
A must for every child. Surely everyone knows about Narnia. No? Get out from under that rock and read about Aslan, the children he entrusts his world to and the adventures they have in that fantasy realm full of talking animals and mythical beasts.
LibraryThing member
C.S. Lewis probably doesn't need a review. If you haven't heard of him and what his books are about then you're living under a rock. They're awesome books, and although the movies are great, don't think they do the books justice.
LibraryThing member mssbluejay
When I first attempted to overcome the negative feeling I have towards reading, I thought about starting with my favorite childhood book. I did not realize that it was the second book in this series. Consequently, I purchased the entire series and had to start with the first one. Although this is
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written for children, the first book took me one month to finish! It was difficult to stay focused and interested - not because the story was bad, but because I was struggling with my trauma. I made gradual progress and it only took me one day to finish the last book. These are classic children's stories and I still enjoyed them as an adult (though I was surprised to see all the Christian allegories which I was unaware of as a kid).
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LibraryThing member FlossieLC
He writes for youngsters...with much to say to adults.
LibraryThing member queenofthejungle

This set of books leaves me in a very ambiguous position. On the one hand, these "work" as fantasy, in spite of Lewis' sometimes ham-fisted writing style. There are children who become enraptured by these tales, adults who still love them, and LibraryThing users who will grant them five
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star ratings.

On the other hand, there are aspects of these books that simply make me cringe. The Horse and His Boy, while I love the story, reeks of anti-Arab racism, as does The Last Battle. The series is also replete with sexism, although the worst message is more anti-sex. Susan is expelled from the "Friends of Narnia" at the end of the series, as she seems to be growing up and getting on with her life. Only those who are pre-pubescent, sexually repressed, or monastic scholars can remain true "Friends of Narnia."

Lewis' function and goal as a writer was to act as a Christian apologist, and he succeeds at this brilliantly. Each book in the series is designed to illustrate a theological concept, some more obvious than others. The fact that people still read these books in spite of the proselytizing is a testament to the efficacy of Lewis' imaginative world-building.

Part of me still loves the stories and the thought of travelling to the world of Narnia and having a wise lion friend like Aslan. I know that the faults I find in the book can be directly traced to the time and culture Lewis was living in, complete with the debilitating effects of the Englsh public school system. I want others to read and enjoy these books, too, although I hope that they might also look somewhat critically at some of the messages being presented, when they're mature enough to do so.

For a more contemporary antidote to Lewis, try reading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Pullman has publicly blasted Lewis for his faults, but I can't help but see his work as influenced by Lewis. The opening scene in the first book, for example, largely takes place inside a wardrobe hung with fur coats, which seems like an obvious homage to me! Pullman has been called anti-religion, but I don't really think that's fair. He's more anti-organized religion with a political agenda, I think. In any event, if you like Narnia, the worlds of His Dark Materials might appeal to you as well.
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LibraryThing member cat8864
Annnnnd heres the series that got me into fantasy novels. I enjoyed it enough that it drew me in and got me addicted. But I haven't re-read it in two years, and I can honestly say that after a while the age of the writing shows. Still its worth a read to anyone, even those with little interest in
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LibraryThing member Alie
I remember my third grade teacher reading all of these to my class as a child, and it is so wonderful to read them again through the adult lens. Each book is different but builds into a wonderful overall story. They are creative and completely transports the reader to another place and time.
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Excellent books for children and adults.
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LibraryThing member wordygirl39
I read these first the summer before 4th grade...a very long time ago. I re-read them last year when the new film version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe came out, and they are even better to read as an adult.
LibraryThing member meersan
Four siblings dorothy to a land of kiddie wish fulfillment populated by heavy-handed New Testament allegory and Santa Claus.
LibraryThing member dbhutch
This is a boxed set of the Chronicles of Narnia form the first book to the 7th and final chapter. The books are so well written that they take you to this whole other world and you can see and feel everything happening.

These are classic stories and wonderfully written a little something for
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everyone in these stories.
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LibraryThing member HobbitGirl09
A beautiful, epic fantasy series that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. Each book chronicles a new adventure, all of which are enjoyable in different ways. These were some of the first books I read, and they remain some of my favorites. A must-read for fantasy fans!
LibraryThing member kiri_wren
Classic, beautiful stories that are great partially for their simplicity and brevity--the lack of overbearing descriptions lets the reader's imagination go. Completely lovable characters and great connections between the plots of the individual books.
LibraryThing member TakeItOrLeaveIt
again, dont think I really dig fantasy my dad did and he read this sort of stuff to me when I was younger. he is very much a man who believes in the norm, in doing what is supposed to float your boat...when it comes to mainstream entertainment anyway. he's never really serached hard for things that
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are different. oh wait WTF am i talking about, he does spirtual ministires and that whole world. i've made books and writing that for me. and clearly I write a lot about my dad when speaking of books, something i didnt relate with him on or correlate him with until I started because I see all the old british classics he had me read/read me. this is one.
Another canonized 'clasic' I didn't love because again, the fantasy thing doesn't really do it for me. anti-utopia - yes please. future interpretations that deal with flawed societies -- check. but when its miraged in fantasy with trolls, talking lions, and fake battles...not so much.
Maybe when I was younger I dug it? who remembers...
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