Friday, 3 January 2014

''The Last Battle''- Book review

Author: C. S. Lewis
Published: 1956

Genres: Novel, Fantasy, Adventure

Rating: 3 out of 5


''The Last Battle'' is the final novel in C. S. Lewis's ''Chronicles of Narnia''.

It is set in the ''last days of Narnia''. The novel starts with an ape, named Shift. His friend is a donkey, Puzzle. One day, Shift and Puzzle come across the skin of a lion. The cunning Shift suddenly gets an idea: Puzzle will dress up as a lion, and Shift will tell the Narnians that Aslan has returned to Narnia. Then he will use this for his evil purposes.

The reigning king of Narnia is King Tirian, a descendant of King Rilian, whom Eustace and Jill had rescued in ''The Silver Chair''. Tirian gets to learn that Aslan has returned, and shockingly, he is ordering the cutting down of trees, talking trees. It shocks him. Why would Aslan order such a thing? He comes to know, after some time, that this is all a plot for the Calormenes to take over Narnia.

And then... Eustace and Jill come to Narnia once again, to fight against the Calormenes, in the last battle of the last king of Narnia.

I have mixed feelings towards the book. While I certainly didn't hate it, I certainly didn't love it. I didn't think that it was enchanting, something that the previous novels were. It didn't have the excitement, the feel-good elements, the beauty of the previous novels. In fact, until Peter, Lucy, and Edmund arrive, only then did the novel becomes a little enchanting and gets some beauty.

One of the things that I loved about this book is that so many characters in the previous novels return in this one. There are so many, so many old characters. Characters whom we loved and had missed. Some of them last appeared in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardobe, some in Prince Caspian or Voyage of the Dawn Treader. (Edmund and Lucy had had brief appearances in ''The Horse and his Boy''). Many characters from each of the previous novels appear in this one. 

And now... One of the most disappointing things about this book. The children who had had adventures in the previous books appear in this one: Peter, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace, Jill, Digory and Polly. Did you notice any name missing? It's Susan. She doesn't appear in this novel. According to Peter, she is ''no longer a friend of Narnia''. I was shocked at this. Susan, one of the major characters of the series. I kept hoping that maybe she will appear, through some way or other. But I was disappointed. Susan doesn't appear in this novel. She is mentioned only once, when Tirian is startled to see that Susan is not present among the humans who came from their world. Then Peter tells him that Susan is ''no longer a friend of Narnia''.

I don't exactly know what to feel about the ending. It felt beautiful. The descriptions were beautiful. The presence of so many old characters made me overwhelmed. I think I was quite satisfied with the ending.

So what do I think about The Last Battle? I think it was good. Just good. But it was neither excellent nor enchanting. I didn't feel it was wonderful, magical like the other books of the series. The reunion of the characters were really good. And some of the battle description were good. As the ending to the magical series, ''The Last Battle'' was quite satisfying. 

3 out of 5 

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