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A mass-market paperback edition of The Last Battle,
book seven in the classic fantasy series, The Chronicles of
Narnia
, featuring cover art by Cliff Nielsen and black-and-white
interior artwork by the original illustrator of Narnia, Pauline
Baynes.

During the last days of Narnia, the land faces its
fiercest challenge—not an invader from without but an enemy from
within. Lies and treachery have taken root, and only the king and a
small band of loyal followers can prevent the destruction of all they
hold dear in this, the magnificent ending to The Chronicles of
Narnia
.

The Last Battle is the seventh and final
book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been drawing
readers of all ages into a magical land with unforgettable characters
for over sixty years. A complete stand-alone read, but if you want to
relive the adventures and find out how it began, pick up The
Magician's Nephew
, the first book in The Chronicles of
Narnia
.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Last Battle:

1

Sep 13, 2007

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I think this is the first book I've ever hated. And that list is pretty short. As a child, it really distressed me - I didn't understand much of it, and it confused me why its tone was so very different from the other Narnia books. Then, when I reread it a few years ago, it just pissed me off. The message about religious pluralism is refreshing, sure, but the book just plain reads wrong, and I will probably never get over Lewis's treatment of Susan. I guess if you don't believe in God, you I think this is the first book I've ever hated. And that list is pretty short. As a child, it really distressed me - I didn't understand much of it, and it confused me why its tone was so very different from the other Narnia books. Then, when I reread it a few years ago, it just pissed me off. The message about religious pluralism is refreshing, sure, but the book just plain reads wrong, and I will probably never get over Lewis's treatment of Susan. I guess if you don't believe in God, you deserve to lose your entire family in a train crash. Awesome.

I suppose there is some hope in that Susan did not die - maybe her family's gruesome deaths will help her find God, and then a train will kill her too, and she'll join Peter, Edmund, and Lucy in Aslan's country! Bleargh. ...more
1

Dec 27, 2010

When I used to read the Chronicles as a kid, I would usually stop at Dawn Treader or Silver Chair. Now I realise that as a kid I was a lot smarter than I gave myself credit for, for "The Last Battle" is an absolute shocker of a book. It is racist, sexist, fundamentalist rhetoric disguised as children's literature.

Those 'darkies' (yes, that's how they're referred to in the book, along with stinking of 'onions and garlic') are invading Narnia again, at the guidance of a monkey (groan for obvious When I used to read the Chronicles as a kid, I would usually stop at Dawn Treader or Silver Chair. Now I realise that as a kid I was a lot smarter than I gave myself credit for, for "The Last Battle" is an absolute shocker of a book. It is racist, sexist, fundamentalist rhetoric disguised as children's literature.

Those 'darkies' (yes, that's how they're referred to in the book, along with stinking of 'onions and garlic') are invading Narnia again, at the guidance of a monkey (groan for obvious racist parallels once more) parading around a false Aslan. Thank goodness those pure white children are called upon once more to put things right! Oh, except for Susan, of course, who is apparently slutting around the real world because she can think of nothing but 'nylons and stockings' and as Peter says gravely, "She is no longer a friend of Narnia."

And that is the dangerous fundamentalist thought throughout this book. Susan, who seems to be discovering her sexuality, is denied entrance to Narnia. She was a Queen of Narnia, and saved it many times in battle. But, no, piss off, Susan. You're not good enough anymore. But the 'deathbed conversion' of the false Aslan still allows him to go to Narn - I mean, Heaven.

I just can't let the fate of Susan go, even days after finishing this book. All the Pevensy children (bar Susan, of course) discover they and their parents are dead at the end of the story and with a final 'yay!' like a brainwashed Rod and Todd Flanders, skip merrily up the steps to heaven. No chance at life for them. But Susan is left in the real world, with her siblings, parents and cousin all wiped out.

This is the final message you want to leave to your kids? No wonder this book is so popular with fundamentalists. In the end, their rhetoric is 'you're either with us or against us'. It doesn't seem very Christian at all, does it? ...more
1

Dec 05, 2008

A dismayingly poor conclusion to the series... I honestly don't understand why a fair number of people apparently like it. (I believe it even won some kind of award). The writing is flat and uninspired compared to the earlier volumes, and the preaching has completely taken over the narrative. Oddly enough, a lot of it also comes across as extremely immoral. Let's not even get into the question of whether the treatment of the Calormenes and their god Tash is racist or bigoted. The thing that A dismayingly poor conclusion to the series... I honestly don't understand why a fair number of people apparently like it. (I believe it even won some kind of award). The writing is flat and uninspired compared to the earlier volumes, and the preaching has completely taken over the narrative. Oddly enough, a lot of it also comes across as extremely immoral. Let's not even get into the question of whether the treatment of the Calormenes and their god Tash is racist or bigoted. The thing that really annoys me is the way that foolish, deluded Puzzle, who acts as front man in a religious coup by agreeing to don the lion skin and impersonate Aslan, is somehow given a free pass. Why, exactly? He was only obeying orders? It seems to me that this is reductio ad absurdum, taking the notion of Christian forgiveness to its logical and extremely nasty conclusion, and I still have no idea what C.S. Lewis thought he was doing. If George W. Bush could read, he would probably find this book rather comforting.
____________________________

[Update, Oct 2014]

The following passage from Knausgård's Min kamp 6, which I read yesterday, expresses the point I wished to make rather better than I did (my translation):Grace removes all distinctions, in grace we are all equal. The radicality of this idea is so great that we can hardly grasp it. But it is this, and nothing else, that Christianity is about. There are no differences between people. The worst person is worth just as much as the best. Jesus said: if someone strikes you, turn the other cheek. He is a person like you, he is you. It is an inhuman thought, because it is thought outside our social structures. It is indeed a godlike thought. Adolf Hitler has just as much worth as the Jews he gassed to death. It dissolves our identities, they have been created by difference, and that is what makes Christianity unrealisable, we cannot think ourselves away, it is too much to lose, it is all we have.____________________________

[Update, Aug 2017]

If I understand him correctly, Donald Trump is saying the same thing in his already-famous 'many sides' speech. No one is worth more than anyone else, Trump apparently wants to tell us. The neo-nazi who drives his car into the crowd of protesters is worth just as much as the woman he kills, because we are all children of God. But as Knausgård notes, this is a difficult idea for mortals to comprehend. And to be honest, I believe Trump could also have phrased it better. ...more
5

Dec 10, 2007

Lewis understands the way the world works better than any other writer I have ever read. It's likely due to his appreciation for story and powerful imagination fed by scripture. This book was eye opening for me to feel truth about how deception and our societies work in rebellion to God, through a fictional story. It was painful to recognize the major battle and struggle that is so slippery and subtle in our own lives. It would feel better to feel the stark good vs evil contrast in the Lion the Lewis understands the way the world works better than any other writer I have ever read. It's likely due to his appreciation for story and powerful imagination fed by scripture. This book was eye opening for me to feel truth about how deception and our societies work in rebellion to God, through a fictional story. It was painful to recognize the major battle and struggle that is so slippery and subtle in our own lives. It would feel better to feel the stark good vs evil contrast in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, but it wouldn't be as cutting or true as this "Last Battle". ...more
1

Apr 14, 2007

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. WORST. ENDING. EVER.

I mean, seriously? The happiest ending possible is for everyone to die and go to heaven? At first I thought that since Susan had stopped believing in Narnia and Aslan, she didn't get to go to "heaven", but then I realised she wasn't actually on the train so she's still alive. How absolutely horrible, losing her siblings and her parents. But you know, better that than being dead. Sorry, C.S. Lewis, I'm not converted.
1

Feb 04, 2016

If I had the energy to describe how bad this is, I still wouldn't be able to describe how bad this is.
4

Oct 28, 2009

The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7), C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by The Bodley Head in 1956. It was the seventh and final novel in The Chronicles of Narnia.
The Last Battle is set almost entirely in the Narnia world and the English children who participate arrive only in the middle of the narrative. The novel is set some 200 Narnian years after The Silver Chair and about 2500 years (and 49 Earth years) since the creation of the The Last Battle (Chronicles of Narnia, #7), C.S. Lewis
The Last Battle is a high fantasy novel for children by C. S. Lewis, published by The Bodley Head in 1956. It was the seventh and final novel in The Chronicles of Narnia.
The Last Battle is set almost entirely in the Narnia world and the English children who participate arrive only in the middle of the narrative. The novel is set some 200 Narnian years after The Silver Chair and about 2500 years (and 49 Earth years) since the creation of the world narrated in The Magician's Nephew.[a] A false Aslan is set up in the north-western borderlands and conflict between true and false Narnians merges with that between Narnia and Calormen, whose people worship Tash. It concludes with termination of the world by Aslan, after a "last battle" that is practically lost. ...
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه ژانویه سال 2002 میلادی
عنوان: ماجراهای نارنیا - کتاب هفت: آخرین نبرد؛ نویسنده: کلاویو استیپلز لوئیس 1898 - 1963 ؛ مترجم: امید اقتداری 1330 ؛ منوچهر کریم زاده 1328، کتابهای کیمیا، تهران خیابان ولی عصر، بالاتر از میدان ونک، شماره 1337؛
نارنیا دنیایی است، که در آن حیوانات سخن میگویند؛ جادو امری رایج است، و خوبی به جنگ با بدی میرود. آغاز داستان آفرینش نارنیا، در روز نخست با آواز اصلان شیر، و سخنگو شدن حیوانات، با جادوی اصلان است، و پایان آن در کتاب آخرین نبرد آمده است، تا سرگذشت نارنیا و ماجرای کودکانی را بگوید که نقش اصلی، در تاریخچهٔ دنیای نارنیا را بازی می‌کنند. در هر کتاب از این مجموعه (به جز اسب و آدمش) کودکانی از دنیای ما، به صورت جادویی به نارنیا میروند، جایی که از آن‌ها خواسته می‌شود، تا به اصلان شیر یاری برسانند. زندگی آنها در این جهان است، و تمام ماجراهایشان در نارنیای خیال انگیز میگذرد، حالا، سرانجام فصل نخست داستان بزرگ را، که هیچ کس بر روی زمین، آن را نخوانده است. آغاز میکنند، که تا ابد ادامه مییابد: و در آن هر فصل بهتر از فصل پیشین است. ا. شربیانی ...more
4

Jul 08, 2008

The first part of this book was so difficult for me to get through. I hated how Narnia had become so tainted. Everything was so utterly depressing, but thankfuly, things did not stay that way. The last half is so wonderful. I hardly knew what to do with myself after reading it for the first time.

Of any of the worlds I've read about, Narnia is the one I would most like to visit or better yet, live in forever. I think that speaks to C.S. Lewis' ability to understand the longing of the human soul The first part of this book was so difficult for me to get through. I hated how Narnia had become so tainted. Everything was so utterly depressing, but thankfuly, things did not stay that way. The last half is so wonderful. I hardly knew what to do with myself after reading it for the first time.

Of any of the worlds I've read about, Narnia is the one I would most like to visit or better yet, live in forever. I think that speaks to C.S. Lewis' ability to understand the longing of the human soul to be united with God. ...more
4

Jan 31, 2017

This is my seventh journey into the fantastical lands of Narnia, as I have chosen to read the series in chronological rather than publication order.

What a fitting end to such an epic series! Despite having a darker message and more serious tone than the other stories, I enjoyed this just as much as the previous books.

It has been centuries since the last sighting of the mystical Aslan and his name has turned from legend to myth. With some falsely using his name and status, and others denouncing This is my seventh journey into the fantastical lands of Narnia, as I have chosen to read the series in chronological rather than publication order.

What a fitting end to such an epic series! Despite having a darker message and more serious tone than the other stories, I enjoyed this just as much as the previous books.

It has been centuries since the last sighting of the mystical Aslan and his name has turned from legend to myth. With some falsely using his name and status, and others denouncing him altogether, it is left to the returning children from our world to save Narnia once again.

Despite a similar running theme, this seemed aimed at a more adult audience. There was some dark imagery and an overall more sinister tone. However, as an adult reader myself, I enjoyed these new aspects.

I adored seeing the return of old faces and, without them, this would not have been a proper conclusion. I am sad to say goodbye but I know I will be returning, probably soon, to one of my new favourite fictional lands. ...more
4

Sep 23, 2018

I've pondered long and hard over this review and the rating. To be honest, it seemed a little short and a little sparse on storyline and (view spoiler)[ the last battle, was hardly a battle. (hide spoiler)]
That said on reflection it was still a good read, we met a few great new characters Puzzle; Poggin; Jewel and Farsight, as well as King Tirian, and we did get to (view spoiler)[ reemit some of the previous visitors to Narnia and their Narnia friends later in the story; the appearance of I've pondered long and hard over this review and the rating. To be honest, it seemed a little short and a little sparse on storyline and (view spoiler)[ the last battle, was hardly a battle. (hide spoiler)]
That said on reflection it was still a good read, we met a few great new characters Puzzle; Poggin; Jewel and Farsight, as well as King Tirian, and we did get to (view spoiler)[ reemit some of the previous visitors to Narnia and their Narnia friends later in the story; the appearance of Reepicheep brought a tear to my eye (hide spoiler)].
So all in all I feel justified in giving it 4 stars in line with its fellow Narnia chronicles.

I cannot believe I have now read all 7, and whilst I realise they are meant for children younger than me ("lol") I really enjoyed them and as with all great series', I wish there were more to read.

I know some people have accused C.S. Lewis of being racist (duh !), and of the books having too many religious overtones (or undertones) but in my view they are good stories that have a message that all humans should agree with, that of understanding, respect, tolerance and above all love for one's fellow man. ...more
1

Jan 19, 2015

Once I started thinking about racism and degrading other religions I couldn't take this anymore. There was no way to unsee those things and just read it as a fun children's book. What a waste of time. Sorry not sorry.

Oh, and the story itself was boring and aggravating.
2

August 27, 2006

Not much to recommend it.
I think that the real point is being missed by asking whether or not C.S. Lewis was racist. The question is, what is the effect of the books on their target audience; namely children between eight and twelve years of age. What will the impact of reading about the Calormene darkies on a child.

I read these books when I was eight. As was intended I identified with the boys fighting against evil and treachary in the service of Narnia, etc, etc etc. Then in the middle of "The Last Battle" I hit the word "darkies". And I knew that he was talking about me. There was a sense of betrayal and shame and disbelief. It was a kick in the stomach.

As a eight year old black boy, I had no greater world view, nor a concept of a person being the "product of his times." Nor did I understand that he was probably (like it really matters) deriding Arabs and not blacks.

Its not a question of whether or not Lewis was a racist. We and our children will read many books that have some sort of bias. There is no help for it. But this man and this body of work was presented to a child as an embodiment of the worth of our society. A body of work that apparently finds some children worthless. That may or not have been his intent, but such an ambiguous message should not be touted as being so unambiguously Christian or so absolutely moral.

Setting aside religious and racial issues, this is not a well written book. Its not horrible, but the narration wanders and unlike the earlier novels, there are no clear personalities between characters. They tend to speak with one voice; that of the narrator.
3

Apr 23, 2013

Warning: Spoilers.

Okay, before I begin I need to add that I am not Christian or religious. Not even a little bit. That's not to say I completely dismiss the notion that there could be a God, just that I personally do not believe in one.

I loved the Narnia books, especially the ones that centred around the Pevensie children. As a child I'm not sure what my reaction was to The Last Battle, when I was a teenager I read it again and felt a little...uncomfortable.

Now this isn't going to be a slander Warning: Spoilers.

Okay, before I begin I need to add that I am not Christian or religious. Not even a little bit. That's not to say I completely dismiss the notion that there could be a God, just that I personally do not believe in one.

I loved the Narnia books, especially the ones that centred around the Pevensie children. As a child I'm not sure what my reaction was to The Last Battle, when I was a teenager I read it again and felt a little...uncomfortable.

Now this isn't going to be a slander on C.S.Lewis and how racist/misogynist some of his tales were, (because in some cases they were.) Because I don't think it's fair to scrutinize him with the logic of someone who lives in 2013 when at the time he wrote the books it was only 1956.

The Last Battle should be something you immediately love, all of our favourite characters return to Narnia and not just the Narnia that we all fell in love with, but a new, better Narnia. Amazing, wohhoo! Except someone is left behind.

I am of course, talking about Susan.

Susan is left behind and alive in our world, not being able to return to Narnia because she no longer believes and is more interested in "lipstick, nylons and invitations."

Now I understand the message Lewis was trying to give, that you shouldn't cast aside your spirituality or faith for more frivolous superficial things, that you should always remain faithful despite where life takes you. I get the message and I think I could have lived with it if it were for one thing; No one seems to care.

They discuss Susan for a total of what, a minute? Calling her silly before Peter abruptly says something along the lines of "let us talk of more pleasant things...oh look a tree, let us taste it's fruit." WHATTTTTTT?!?

This is where it gets me, these kids have all been through magical adventures together, grown up together and have that bond that only siblings have. They've just been told that they have died in our world and are going to live forever happily in Narnia while Susan is...(well it's implied) going to hell for essentially liking lipstick and nobody blinks. Her siblings act as though they don't care, or worse that they are angry;

"Our sister Susan," Answered Peter, shortly and gravely, "Is no longer a friend of Narnia."

This is the Susan that throughout all the other books looked out for her brothers and sisters safety, ruled over Narnia as Susan the Gentle and nobody cares that she has more or less been condemned? The hypocrisy here is that in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, they all went through such desperate lengths to save Edmund but apparently Susan was just not worth the trouble.

Lewis did state that Susan might find her way back to Narnia later in life, "in her own way." And you know I hope she does, but when she gets there I'm not sure her family deserves her.

Anyway, the writing for the Last Battle is just as vivid and beautiful as the rest of the books and of course the Christian allegory is still there. The battle scene itself is incredibly well-written and the ending is just that...An end to a wonderful series. It's just a shame that the end for Susan wasn't nearly as nice as it should have been. ...more
5

Mar 18, 2019

“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.”

——————————————

In the final days of Narnia, many of the Narnians have been deceived by a false prophet, an evil ape named Shift, who devises a plot to turn the people and animals against Aslan, the Great Lion. Eustace “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.”

——————————————

In the final days of Narnia, many of the Narnians have been deceived by a false prophet, an evil ape named Shift, who devises a plot to turn the people and animals against Aslan, the Great Lion. Eustace and Jill arrive in Narnia in response to King Tirian’s prayer for help. Jill and Eustace help Tirian and Jewel, the talking unicorn, and display much bravery and courage, but ultimately they are outnumbered.
Shift the ape summons the demon Tash to Narnia. Those who worship Tash intend to make human sacrifices of King Tirian and his helpers. Instead, a door is opened to Aslan’s world. Those who love Aslan are ushered in immediately into Aslan’s world to forever live in his presence in a world without fear, pain, or sorrow. A world of beauty and abundance, youth, health, goodness, and love.
The Chronicles of Narnia can be read on many levels, as there are many Biblical allegories to explore. Yet, first and foremost, the Narnia novels are meant to be enjoyed for the highly imaginative, adventuresome fantasies they are. So magical, mystical and fun, Narnia is a world not to be missed. ...more
5

Oct 08, 2016

This is only a partial review - someday - I will give this book the full review it deserves.




There are very few books that move me to my core. The depths of sadness and the heights of exhilaration captured in this book never fail to carry me with them.

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis stirs a part of my soul so deep, so unknown - I can barely explain it. It awakens a desire for a place I have been searching for all my life. Hope soars through me as I stare into utter darkness, and I find myself This is only a partial review - someday - I will give this book the full review it deserves.




There are very few books that move me to my core. The depths of sadness and the heights of exhilaration captured in this book never fail to carry me with them.

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis stirs a part of my soul so deep, so unknown - I can barely explain it. It awakens a desire for a place I have been searching for all my life. Hope soars through me as I stare into utter darkness, and I find myself knowing that I was born to fight - with everything in me - to the death for my Lord. That I am called to stand in the shadow of the Stable Door.


It also features one of my favorite male heroes of all time - King Tirian. Tirian could have ignored the call, he could have hidden at his hunting lodge and carved out a semblance of pleasure and prosperity - but he ran to the battle, he ran to his people, he ran to Aslan.

And he was the only person in Narnia that JUMPED through the Stable Door.

May I also run to the battle - may I someday jump through that door - mocking defeat and death and dragging the enemy in with me because I KNOW: "We all rest between the paws of the Lion."



“The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning.”
...more
1

Aug 10, 2010

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I might be giving this 3 or 4 stars were it not for the penultimate paragraph of the book. My first Narnia book was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I did think the imagination and imagery striking but found the Christian Allegory too blatant. Friends told me however, that with the exception of The Last Battle, those aspects aren't so prominent in the later books, and that much of the series is wonder-full. So I found it from then on up to this book.

Well, it could be said I'd been I might be giving this 3 or 4 stars were it not for the penultimate paragraph of the book. My first Narnia book was The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I did think the imagination and imagery striking but found the Christian Allegory too blatant. Friends told me however, that with the exception of The Last Battle, those aspects aren't so prominent in the later books, and that much of the series is wonder-full. So I found it from then on up to this book.

Well, it could be said I'd been warned--but it actually wasn't the allegorical aspect per se that threw me. Maybe it's just I'd grown inured to that aspect by this book, or maybe that I'm not as familiar with Revelations as the Gospels, so I didn't feel like I was ticking off, oh, this is Judas, this is the crucifixion, etc. The story is rich in ideas, imagery and symbolism. I loved the echoes of Dante and Plato.

On the whole, the issue of that last page aside, what disturbed me most was how the Calormenes were described. There have been accusations Narnia is racist because of how Lewis depicts this southern adversary of Narnia, and I think that unfair. I think we overuse the accusation "racist" so it loses it's impact when we use it other than to mean the belief that race defines character and ability. Lewis clearly does not believe this given positive Calormenes characters like Aravis and Emeth. In fact, I rather loved the message Lewis sends through Emeth--that it doesn't matter in whose name we do good or evil, whether Muhammad or Jesus--only that the act is good or evil.

Nevertheless, it was disturbing to have Calormenes described this way: Then the dark men came round them in a thick crowd, smelling of garlic and onions, their white eyes flashing dreadfully in their brown faces. And then there are the repeated cries of "darkie" from the crowd of dwarfs. (Admittedly those particular dwarfs are villains in this book--not people to emulate--but I imagine reading those passages aloud to a child and I cringe).

There's also, to borrow Gaiman's phrase, "The Problem of Susan." Susan, we find out early in the book, is no longer a "friend of Narnia" because she denies Narnia exists now and cares these days only about lipstick and nylons and such. I can rather forgive Lewis this. He's trying to make a point I think that even those who once knew the right way can drift away and forget what's truly important. I don't see misogyny in choosing Susan for that role anymore than it's anti-male to choose Edmund for the traitor role in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Moreover, given the strong female characters in the Chronicles (especially Jill in this story) I find cries of sexism less than convincing.

But then there's that last page...

**SPOILERS BELOW***

This is the next to last paragraph in the book and series:

There was a real railway accident," said Aslan softly. "Your father and mother and all of you are--as you used to call it in the Shadowlands--dead. The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning."

This reminded me of when my Grandmother died, the priest turned to me, my mother and aunt and rebuked us for weeping--because "she's now in a better place than you are." I know what I felt towards that priest in that moment as I looked at my mother's and aunt's stricken faces--rage.

And then I thought of Susan--no longer "a friend of Narnia" dealing with the sudden violent deaths of her friends and family and I felt the same kind of rage at Lewis.

Yes, I know--Christians believe Heaven this wonderful thing. And within the book and series the ending has its logic. But I for one felt slapped by that paragraph--I can't imagine wanting to give this to children, that one paragraph seems so malignant in its celebration of death. You guys giving this book five stars--you really want to give a child a book where dying young in a trainwreck with your entire family--parents, siblings, a cousin is the happy ending? Really?

A friend told me about Gaiman's counter to this "The Problem of Susan"--it's in the short story anthology Fragile Things. That story has some disturbing imagery, and I know some that love Narnia have called it disgusting and "blasphemous." (Definitely not a story for children--adults only here.) All I can say is having come to the end of this series I found it cathartic. (And going back to reading Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens, about an angel and demon working to stop the apocalypse, can only help...) ...more
1

April 19, 2006

Lewis falls on his own sword
Religious fanatics are usually at their worst when trying to convince others of their exalted status in the afterlife, and unfortunately Lewis, who makes no bones about the Christian message in his books, falls into this trap in this, the concluding volume to the Narnia series. It's as though his urgent need to proclaim The Word has blinded him to the fact that the story in The Last Battle has a confusing, paper-thin plot, relies on racist stereotypes, glorifies violence, and is full of plodding, frankly boring characters. The Lion Himself doesn't even show up until the very end, and for once I had to ask myself why: Why doesn't he show guidance to the bedraggled King Tirian and his befuddled troop of talking animals and children? Because Lewis wants to save him for the fireworks at the end--fireworks that prove to be mostly duds.

It's not that Lewis isn't (or wasn't, rather) capable of writing inspired, mystical prose; he does this very well (despite a few hilarious anomalies) in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. But the concluding sequence that's supposed to parallel the Book of Revelation is but a pale reflection of the breathtaking conclusion to that epic sea voyage. (Which is ironic, since Lewis, ever the heavy-handed scholar, even slips in a Plato reference while describing the "old" Narnia as but a pale reflection of the so-called ecstatic "real" Narnia that our blessed, now-dead children romp through at the end.)

The Christian references land everywhere, like stink bombs. We have the false prophet (Shift Monkey), the unbelievers (Dwarfs), the minions of Satan (Calormenes), and of course Satan (Tash). Nowhere does the story explain who Tash is, and his role in the scheme of things, why the Calormenes are so mean, and particularly, why Aslan decided to just chuck the whole Narnia thing to a feast of Giants and Monster Lizards at the end. None of it makes sense.

Part of the problem, too, is that Lewis can't seem to make up his mind whether he's writing a clever fairy tale or a religious tract. When the story swings into Full Metal Apocalypse at the end, I can't imagine any children actually enjoying this thing.

Oh, I suppose it makes sense if one is a white, Born Again Christian Anglophile who loves allegories and...oh, gee, I forgot, all of those have already left for New Narnia.

One more thing, very curious. Lewis may have had misgivings about his brutally racist depiction of the Calormenes, because at the end he slips one of them into Paradise. This soldier in Tash's army is presumably let in because, while he never consciously embraced Aslan, the Good Lion evidently decided he had a good heart and was pursuing the Noble Truth; he just hadn't put the right label on it. Which sort of goes against everything any evangelical Christian has ever said. Had Lewis wove such interesting philosophical hairballs into the rest of his story, it would have made for more palatable moments, if not a workable plot.
4

Oct 21, 2018

This final book in the Chronicles is a bittersweet tale. In The Magician's Nephew, the first book of the series in its chronological order, we see the creation of Narnia and in The Last Battle we see the end of it, at least the end of Narnia as we saw created (if that makes any sense). We meet the last King of Narnia, King Tirian, who as a true Narnian fights with valour, although it is a losing battle. It is kind of sad to read the end of Narnia as it was so true and alive to us readers through This final book in the Chronicles is a bittersweet tale. In The Magician's Nephew, the first book of the series in its chronological order, we see the creation of Narnia and in The Last Battle we see the end of it, at least the end of Narnia as we saw created (if that makes any sense). We meet the last King of Narnia, King Tirian, who as a true Narnian fights with valour, although it is a losing battle. It is kind of sad to read the end of Narnia as it was so true and alive to us readers through seven books. But it is inevitable the story should be so. We are to witness the creation as well as its end.

The story of The Last Battle is in a way good against the evil and the losing battle is an indication how evil through greed, trickery and lies corrupt the mind of the forces that allies with good. To me, this was the most thought provoking story of the chronicles. I was very much impressed by the message the author was trying to convey through the fall of Narnia.

But to get to the happy side, we see a reunion of all Narnian friends. All the human friends of Narnia from the first king Frank and queen Helen, Digory and Polly, Peter, Lucy and Edmund to Eustace and Jill return to Narnia. And the beasts, from Reepicheep to Fledge, the flying horse are returned too. All these humans and beasts now live happily with Aslan in his kingdom and we all know where that is in our hearts.

With the read of The Last Battle, I have completed the Chronicles of Narnia. Through these seven books I lived in the wonderful world of Narnia and really enjoyed living there. I had wanted to read the complete chronicles for years and I'm pleased to have done so. And I'm very happy to say that Mr. Lewis certainly didn't disappoint me. ...more
5

May 29, 2008

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This is my favorite of the Narnia books. I love how it begins, and especially how it ends. I enjoyed it immensely as a child, but as an adult it strikes a much deeper cord. The Christian allegory of these books is really summed up and finished here in a beautiful way. I really enjoyed all of Lewis' subtle hints about what he believes, and was surprised by how many things I agreed with. I love that the Taarkan is told that all who do good in the name of Tash are really doing it to Aslan, and This is my favorite of the Narnia books. I love how it begins, and especially how it ends. I enjoyed it immensely as a child, but as an adult it strikes a much deeper cord. The Christian allegory of these books is really summed up and finished here in a beautiful way. I really enjoyed all of Lewis' subtle hints about what he believes, and was surprised by how many things I agreed with. I love that the Taarkan is told that all who do good in the name of Tash are really doing it to Aslan, and those who do evil in the name of Aslan are really accepted by Tash.
The only thing I didn't like was the loss of Susan- and her unwillingness to believe in Narnia anymore. But, I think that was also foreshadowed in Prince Caspian, and I think that Lewis had another point he was trying to make there, as well, about where our hearts and focus are in this life. So, even though it made me sad, I understood some of the reasoning behind it. ...more
4

Jun 22, 2018

I'm at loss for words. Just... wow. This was incredible. One of my top favorites in this series. It was... Epic. The writing was gorgeous and the characters were amazing and the ending... Fantastic.
2

April 20, 2008

With a whimper. Oh, I'm sorry; that was from me.
The other books were so gentle. An adventure in Narnia is like an adventure in one's backyard - kids just like us (or just like we once were) discover in their coat closet or attic or schoolyard a wonderful fantasyland next door. They explore it under the guardianship of kindly fantastic creatures and, though there is real and potent evil, the battles are no more violent than a good dodgeball game. Lewis's habit as narrator of stopping and starting the story to explain unfamiliar concepts to his young readers or share memories from his own boyhood like a devoted grandparent only enhances the stories' warm intimacy and fairy-tale feel.

Nothing of this Narnia exists in The Last Battle. We are here to see things die. Valiant kings and unicorns. Entire families, both parents and children. Horses by the herd. *Dogs* - lots of them. (The animal deaths are milked for maximum effect; the dogs are heartbreakingly happy and slobbering, "as doggy as they can be", in their willingness to go to their deaths at Calormene spears, and the horses are filled with arrows by jeering crowds after a dramatic Helm's Deep-ish arrival.) I don't exactly recall how I reacted when I first read The Last Battle at ten years old, but I do remember that I wasn't that impressed with the overall proceedings. Revisiting them at twenty-nine, however, they're a knife in the heart. Every genesis means an eventual apocalypse, I suppose, but the book revels in nasty business in a manner quite contrary to the Christianity of the previous volumes. They painted its God and his son as a terrible force, yes, but also a loving and accessable one ("'Course he isn't safe. But he's good") and trusted that children would be moved to goodness through the wonder of creation and the genuine consequences of evil behavior rather than through fear and gratuitous pathos and death. The Last Battle compares poorly with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which featured true danger and death but did not compromise.

Strange for me, then, to see others charge the book with being too "syrupy-sweet" and happy. "Happy"? This book made you *happy*? Well, yes, I suppose the denouement, with everyone - EVERYONE, with one infamous omission - reunited in a Narnian heaven is overwhelmingly happy in a two-dimensional sense; it reminds me of the artwork in Awake! where, as humorist Lore Sjoberg put it, "kids get to play with baby pandas for all eternity". There's no resonance, though, as everything, and everyone, is so two-dimensional. The Pevensies react without shock or sadness that their entire family has been killed in a railway accident and seem without regret that their paradise lacks their sister. The denouement does little to dispel the long night before. (The climax of The Silver Chair, with one beloved character rejoining his childhood friends and getting a five-minute romp in the "real" world he's always wanted to see, contains more genuine joy than everything in this ending.)

Even if I look at the book with a proper critical eye, removed and analytical, it's lacking. Narnia's King Tirian and his companion, Jewel the unicorn, are sympathetic, but they are skimpily drawn compared to Caspian or the Cabby or even Rillian. After six books of wonders, the only memorable sights here are those of blood-curdling apocalypse. (The image of Narnia's human stars screaming home, their flaming silver hair streaking behind them, burns bright, but for a depiction of a world comsumed by greed and hatred, I will take the still, ruby-lit ruin of Charn from The Magician's Nephew.) Narnia's downfall is implausibly, artificially swift; an ape slaps an old lion skin on a donkey, and the next day, Calormen's sold Cair Paravel for paving stones. Had Narnia's hold on independence and moral rectitude been this tenuous, it would have fallen long ago; it's implausible for both our heroes and Narnia at large to be so submissive and inert in the face of evil. The story is on rails to its ultimate destination; its only concern is to get everyone to martyrdom as quickly as possible.

The racism. Well, what is there to say that others haven't, really. Click the 2-star reviews and look for the one by Joe W, who will tell you what it was like to read this material being eight years old and black. The text explicitly points out how human Narnians are all "fair" and contains a chanted slur that should not appear in any children's book. Likewise, tons of ink have been expended on the problem of Susan; I'll just note that, while apologists claim it's the supposed single-mindedness of her obsession with "stockings and invitations" instead of its focus that gets her excommunicated, Lewis does reliably identify "feminine" charm and frippery with his "fallen" females (the witches, Lasraleen, Susan). Sit down and have a good talk with your kids before they read this last Chronicle.

As has been noted, no reader would plow through six volumes and skip the grand finale, but I dunno. Everything that Lewis tries here - the end of a once-great world through human frailty; a radiant vision of heaven; a Biblical allegory with a towering Satan figure (who, unlike Tash, isn't drawn directly from Jack Chick) and a terrible yet great son of God - he's accomplished before, far better, elsewhere in the series. I would've been happier leaving Narnia at The Magician's Nephew or The Silver Chair.
5

Mar 13, 2019

"All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." Julian of Norwich

Here is CS Lewis's attmept to comfort us with visions of heavenly truth. I think he succeeds. The first time I ever really desired Heaven was after reading this as a 19yo young married girl. Today as I finished reading it to my student, I felt my heart ache again longingly. I ache for that heavenly realty.

As I read off each of the people the children were finding in the "further up and further in" "All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well." Julian of Norwich

Here is CS Lewis's attmept to comfort us with visions of heavenly truth. I think he succeeds. The first time I ever really desired Heaven was after reading this as a 19yo young married girl. Today as I finished reading it to my student, I felt my heart ache again longingly. I ache for that heavenly realty.

As I read off each of the people the children were finding in the "further up and further in" Narnia, Drake, my student, would jump out of his chair and hoot for joy. You gotta love a 12 year old boy!

I found myself happiest to see Puddleglum again.

I hope I am not saying goodbye to Narnia forever. Gotta figure out a way to have Zoom read alouds with my grandchildren. ...more
5

Oct 06, 2015

I finally saw how it all ended. After almost 20 years it feels amazing. I thought CS Lewis' interpretation of the end times was beautiful. The story was definitely more focused and serious in tone than many of the other books but I have to tell you that I loved it. Overall, I would probably give it a 4.75 stars! :)
5

Apr 26, 2013


SPOILERS! Don't keep reading if you don't like 'em!

Gosh, I love The Last Battle. As a Christian, Aslan's compassion and mercy in all of the books is moving, but it is especially highlighted in this novel.

Some people may not like the ending. I know my sister didn't, especially because of the fact that Susan isn't brought into the new Narnia with the other Pevensie children. My thought has always been(and this is purely my own interpretation/speculation) that Susan will eventually be saved. She
SPOILERS! Don't keep reading if you don't like 'em!

Gosh, I love The Last Battle. As a Christian, Aslan's compassion and mercy in all of the books is moving, but it is especially highlighted in this novel.

Some people may not like the ending. I know my sister didn't, especially because of the fact that Susan isn't brought into the new Narnia with the other Pevensie children. My thought has always been(and this is purely my own interpretation/speculation) that Susan will eventually be saved. She is going to be faced with the fact, that in the real world, her entire family was killed in a train crash, and that type of grief will cause her to rethink her worldview.

I never had this problem, other than just being sad that Susan was no longer a part of Narnia, but other people have had a problem with Susan being lost because as J.K. Rowling once said:

"There comes a point where Susan, who was the older girl, is lost to Narnia because she becomes interested in lipstick. She's become irreligious basically because she found sex. I have a big problem with that."

I don't think the reason that Susan was lost was because she "found lipstick", I think it was meant to illustrate in a way that was easier for a child to understand—these are children's books, remember—that Susan had, at some point, made a decision to turn away from what she knew to be true and good in favour of shallow, temporal things that would never fill her. She basically chose to turn away from the blessings that Aslan and Narnia would give her. It wasn't that she wasn't good enough to be accepted, it was that she felt she was too good to accept what was being offered to her.

Well, that's my two bits. ...more
1

November 22, 2004

Loved the earlier six books,
but couldn't really stand this one. The reason might be that I am not Christian, so a lot of the doom and gloom stuff simply did not resonate with me as much as it might with people who understood where C.S. Lewis was coming from.

The first time I read this books (all seven in one sitting), I literally could not believe what I was reading in "The Last Battle". All the wonder and glory in the previous six books, decimated in a couple of hundred pages.

Oh, well. To each their own...

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