Saturday, July 14, 2012

Reading: Narnia - The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

            The Last Battle is the seventh and final novel in the Chronicles of Narnia series written by C.S. Lewis.  Let's first start off with a personal note before I go into the review of this book.  I have grown up with the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe but it wasn't until the Disney movie came out that I realized that I'd never actually read the story.  I only heard of it and knew vaguely what it was about.  A store called 5-Below had all seven books after the movie came out and since they were only five dollars each, I bought all seven Narnia books as fast as I could.  Needless to say, I didn't read them as fast as I bought them.  I read the first book in 2006 and now have finally finished the series six years later! Wow!
            The Last Battle is set up just like the other Narnia books (evil befalls Narnia, children from earth arrive to defend Narnia, etc).  It begins with evil invading Narnia when an ape dresses up an innocent donkey to look like Aslan the lion.  He tells Narnians that Aslan has returned and he gives them orders as if he is Aslan's messenger.  The problem is that the orders he is giving are far from any Aslan would ever give.  The donkey lives in a dark hut and people are not allowed to see him, for if they do they will see that he is disguised.  News of Aslan spreads about Narnia and reaches the King.  The King of Narnia, Tirian (the last monarch and the seventh king in descendant of Rilian [from theSilver Chair], son of Prince Caspian X) and his friend Jewel, a unicorn, go to see what madness is brewing outside their castle.  Neither one of them fully believes Aslan has returned and they know something fishy is occurring.  The two of them are then captured by Calormenes (an Empire south of Narnia).  In Tirian's desperate time of need, Eustace and Jill show up and the three of them, along with the help of a few others, prepare for battle.
            Let's start off with the positives about this book first.  One thing I have and always will love about these books is the theological themes that are presented.  Narnia is a huge metaphor of our own world and there is no denying the similarities between the corruption in Narnia's government and our government in America today.  Getting back to theology though…Aslan is God, and just like God he doesn't always show himself in the time of want/need but rather points us in the right direction by signs and teaches us to trust him with faith alone and not be convinced otherwise.  Throughout all seven novels the reader constantly encounters children and Narnians putting their faith in Aslan and never letting go of it.  These books serve as a huge metaphor that can teach kids how faith works and what it means to be a Christian when most others around you are not.  Another thing I liked about this book was the ending.  (SPOILER) When the Pevensie children returned to Narnia and they realized that Narnia was their heaven it just seemed like all the puzzle pieces fit.  It all led up to death.  Susan wasn't there because she stopped believing in Narnia which hints at she lost faith entirely.  I like that C.S. Lewis included this but it makes me sad that Susan would loose her faith.
            Now for the negative aspects of the book.  I found it to be rather boring.  The ending was great and I guess it could be called epic but there wasn't much of a battle.  There were a few close calls and some scary moments but for the most part until the end when (spoiler) Aslan returns, I wasn't too enthused.  Though I can definitely say that C.S. Lewis had me hating the ape that made the donkey pretend to be Aslan.  I just wanted him dead right when I started reading.  I can't say I'm surprised that I was bored because it has happened while reading some of the other Narnia novels.  It feels wrong to insult them and call them boring because I think these books are fantastic but there are just so many boring bits!
            The Last Battle was a great conclusion to the Narnia series.  Although it was boring at times, I loved the Christian metaphors and found the book to be inspiring.  I give The Last Battle 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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