Book Review: The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis

The last battle front cover

The Last Battle is the seventh and final book in The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis.

Quick Review (read on for full review)

My least favourite of the Narnia stories.  I wished I had stopped with book six, The Silver Chair, which I enjoyed immensely. 1 / 5

Summary (from Goodreads)

Many Narnian years have passed since Eustace and Jill helped ensure the Royal line. But when they are jerked back violently into this strangest of lands they find the present King in danger and Narnia facing its darkest hour. With Eustace and Jill at his side, the King, the noble unicorn Jewel and a few remaining loyal subjects must stand fast against the powers of evil and darkness and fight the Last Battle to decide the future of this once glorious kingdom.

Favourite Quote

“People shouldn’t call for demons unless they really mean what they say.”

(From The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis, page 81)

Review

It’s hard to write a review and maintain my review policy of ‘no spoilers’ when I feel so strongly about this book.  Sigh.  But I’ll give it a go…

Probably my least favourite of all the books, and I must admit, I was left feeling disappointed with the ending. I wrote this review a while after I finished reading the book, and I’m still left reeling over the conclusion to this series.  And, I can’t help but wonder what I would have made of it if I had read it as a younger person. I certainly can’t imagine recommending this book, but especially not to a child.

The style of the story is very different from the other six books.  The Narnia we get to visit is dark and horrible and very serious. Even when I wasn’t particularly gripped by the storylines and subplots of the other books, I always had the fantasy world-building to fall back on and enjoy.  As I’ve mentioned in my other reviews, I really loved exploring the geography and landscape of Narnia and the surrounding countries, but in The Last Battle, even that was lacking.

Also, there’s no getting away from the fact this book is pretty unsavoury, in terms of racism and sexism, issues I’ve mentioned before with the other books.

Unlike the other instalments (except for the Genesis-inspired passages from The Magician’s Nephew), where the Christian allegory was only noticeable (to me) if I searched for it (I didn’t), The Last Battle is heavy with it. I really wanted to enjoy this book, but when I finished the final page I was left feeling flat.  I understand the ending was supposed to be uplifting but it really didn’t work for me, and certainly not as a children’s book. I also understand the ending in reference to the series arc, but still, not great reading.

I can’t help but wish I had ended reading The Chronicles of Narnia with The Silver Chair.  And, should I return to read the series again, I know now where to stop.  I won’t be returning to The Last Battle again. I did not like it.

Rating

one-star

3 thoughts on “Book Review: The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis

  1. Pingback: Bookish Reflections – May and June 2021 | Sammi Loves Books

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