Ranking The Chronicles of Narnia Novels
The Chronicles of Narnia is one of my favorite fantasy book series. It is such a wonderful epic story spread throughout the seven novels. Now this is my personal list so I am not following the usual opinion and thus I present them in the order in which I liked them. I have to say that I love each and every one of these books so even those that are on the bottom of the list are great, but just not as fantastic as those above them. So without further ado, let’s rank all of the seven Narnia stories.
7. The Last Battle
Yes, the ultimate installment had to get the last spot for one and only reason – the conclusion. As I said in my review of the book, I thought that the conclusion was epic, but certainly a bit rushed and too ambiguous of an ending for an entire series. I was frankly disappointed by the second half of this novel. But still, you can’t deny the greatness of the first half which contains some of the finest chapters of the series and excellent characters such as Puzzle and many superb villains including Tash and Shift. It also features some of the best action of the series, but I just wish that the execution of the second half was better.
6. The Silver Chair
What I said above about The Last Battle is thoroughly applicable here as well as The Silver Chair has an amazing first half, but such a disappointing second half. The Underworld chapters felt somewhat boring and uneventful and the villain was too easily defeated and that entire chapter felt super anti-climactic. However, there are a lot of positives here. For one, you have such a grand, wonderful and perilous adventure with some memorable imagery. But more importantly, you have an excellent duo in Eustace and Jill and the funniest and most amusing Narnia character ever in Puddleglum.
5. Prince Caspian
Prince Caspian was never one of my favorites as it overall doesn’t have as exciting or magical storyline as others in the series do plus the action is very weakly written and those chapters were dull, but I really liked the first couple of chapters and in particular the chapters with Professor Cornelius were very well written. It was fascinating learning about Narnia history and how the Telmarines invaded it and how the talking animals went into hiding. This novel has such a mysterious and dark atmosphere in it plus it features a solid use of the Pevensie children.
4. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
This is where greatness starts, right with this slot and this entry. And sure enough, it is unfortunate that this entry only gets the fourth place as I love it so much, but the competition is tough in the Narnia series. It does have a couple of weaker parts in it, but mostly it succeeds tremendously as possibly the finest ever adventure in these chronicles and even better – it has probably the best character development from Lewis. This entry is so thematically rich and also so emotional in its ending, but it also features wonderful Lucy and very memorable Eustace. It is such a well crafted and deep story.
3. The Horse and His Boy
It is weird that I put this book in third place as it is one of the most historical and political of the bunch and I usually don’t go for that, but you can’t deny its greatness. The battle is once again very poorly written as Lewis mostly couldn’t write action and even though it may feel overly singular, it is still very well connected to the overall series and I just loved it as a fine, majestic and even dark journey and adventure. It features the most difficult quest ever and that is why Shasta was so well utilized here. But all of the other characters are great and the book is so pleasantly mysterious and overall technically superb and beautifully written.
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
Yes, the most famous and critically acclaimed Narnia novel doesn’t get the top spot, but that is because it features quite weak characterization. But apart from that, there is a lot to love here from the magical story in it to the memorable imagery to such a great beginning and ending. It serves as a great first chapter of the entire franchise as it wonderfully introduces you to this wonderful world and it features an excellent villain in The White Witch and Aslan has rarely been better and more powerful than in here. It is also a very well constructed novel and, possibly with the exception of The Last Battle, it is the most religious and spiritual Narnia entry.
1. The Magician’s Nephew
This is it, the very best that Narnia has to offer! I just adore The Magician’s Nephew and it is one of my favorites, not just in this series, but of all the books that I’ve read. It succeeds on almost every level and although a bit too childish at times, it is mostly childlike than childish plus some of the humor is quite charming. But the story, oh the story is so magnificent. It is the most magical and fantastical Narnia story that serves as a pitch-perfect prequel where you learn everything you wanted to know from the wardrobe and how it got magical properties to the origin of Jadis to Digory’s great role to the creation of Narnia which features some of the most beautiful descriptive passages in the series, if not the most beautiful. It is rich in terms of the themes and emotion, it is so well crafted and the story is epic and powerful, yet deep and heartwarming too. It is such an underrated book and the finest Narnia novel without a doubt.