Without a doubt, C.S. Lewis' wonderful children's fantasies, collectively known as "The Chronicles of Narnia," deserve the numerous accolades they have received over the years. When Disney and Walden Media produced the film version of "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," a number of new editions of the Chronicles were released in book form. The books were published individually and in omnibus editions such as this one. Some were collected in the order they were originally written whereas others were gathered in a more chronological order to enhance the reader's experience. This particular edition follows the latter scheme.
The first tale we encounter is "The Magician's Nephew." Newcomers will quickly recognize that there is no Lucy, Edmund, Peter or Susan in this particular story. This is essentially the "creation story" of Narnia seen through the eyes of young Digory and Polly. From there we are given "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe," which introduces us formally to the four children so many of us already know so well. After that, "The Horse and His Boy" focuses on Shasta, Bree, Aravis and Hwin, among others. The four children are there also, but not the central characters of the tale. "Prince Caspian" is next, bringing Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy back to the forefront on a wonderful adventure that is now soon to be a major motion picture. After that, Edmund and Lucy, along with their cousin, Eustace Scrubb, join "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader," in which Caspian travels to the end of the world looking for the domain of Aslan. "The Silver Chair" introduces us to Prince Rilian, Puddleglum, and Glimfeather, as well as revives a once thought dead enemy. "The Last Battle" is exactly that, the end of a wonderful collection of tales. It lets us know what happens to just about everybody who ever makes an appearance in any of the tales, including the wonderful Reepicheep, a mouse who's giant heart more than made up for his small stature.
All of these stories are excellent to read to children as well as for adults to explore. The good characters will easily win you over and the wicked ones, especially the White Witch and Tash, will make you cringe at moments.
Some of the tales can be rather violent, with multiple deaths that are vividly described. There are also very obvious allusions to the Bible, especially the New Testament. These are most evident, in my opinion, in "The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe," "Prince Caspian" and "The Last Battle." These Christian overtones are excellent triggers for children to begin studying the Bible. If you are a Christian, I highly recommend using these tales in that manner. If you are not a Christian, do not let the Christian aspect of these stories deter you. They are wonderful regardless of this.
Overall, I highly recommend these stories. My personal favorite is "Prince Caspian," with "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" a close second. Whether you read them in the order presented here or in the order they were originally published, check these tales out.
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