narniaI hadn’t read C.S. Lewis since being very young.  We always had a few of the Chronicles of Narnia books in hardback floating around, but never the whole set.  So I saw the set a few months ago and decided to spring back into my childhood for about 800 pages.

I’m not religious, though I was born, raised and confirmed in the Lutheran church (evidently in one of the more strict sects according to my wife, I’m not all that knowledgeable on it.)  During my teenage years and into early 20’s, I had a difficult time lending credibility to works, literary and otherwise, that were obviously allegorical to christianity or other dogma.  I was very put off by the expectations of such groups, it always seemed like an all or nothing deal.  With us or against us.  That certainly wasn’t the only prerogative of those folks, but at the time it seemed so.  There are plenty of completely rational and kind religious people out there willing to let you choose your own path.

While I was a youth, books like those of Narnia were fascinating in their adventure and imagination.  During those adolescent years, those things soured for me due to a lingering distaste for the not too subtle analogy.  At this point, those things don’t bother me any more.  They certainly don’t sway me, but they are also simply a part of the world and how some people choose to live their lives, including great writers.

C.S. Lewis is very much that.  With these books, he created a multitude of children’s masterpieces.  They are highly readable with short chapters, consumable vocabulary and a folksy English bent on how the stories are presented, as though the writer is speaking one to one with the reader.

It is a story of another world, Narnia, where many beasts can talk and creatures such as fauns, dwarfs and dragons exist.  People of our world seldom visit Narnia, but those that do are often awarded as Kings and Queens.  The land also has differing effects on humans (aka Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve.)  They become more physically robust, confident and skilled.  They also often see their general disposition improve.

Each book is a smaller tale of one happening in Narnia.  Some of the tales include the same characters, and always include Aslan, the all powerful lion who rules the worlds in Narnia and beyond.  Aslan, and his followers, are a very heavy handed approach to Jesus Christ and humans given the choice of Christianity.  The tales are all fun and adventurous while still lending themselves toward many non religious ideas of virtue and treating others well.  There are a great many good things about these books outside the religious aspects.  They are good fun and likely to intrigue young children, which is important as reading is a habit that should be formed early.

As an adult, I enjoyed rereading these books.  Toward book five or six, I was beginning to look forward to other types of reading, so I don’t know that I’d label them page turners per say.  They are predictable to an extent, with a few twists and turns, but still valuable in their own right.

BONUS HILARITY LINK.  Check that, for some Lulz.