20 June 2012

Book Review: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis {rewrite}

Although I originally intended to have this review published several months ago, it is quite Providential that I am only now getting around to it. As it happens, my sisters — Emilia (11) and Lydia (9) — are currently reading this book for school. It has been some time since I've read SC for myself, and their vivid descriptions have refreshed my memory wonderfully. "There is a time for everything", as it says in Ecclesiastes . . . even those book reviews that a certain neglectful young lady always pushes off. 

The Silver Chair
By C.S. Lewis
*Summary from Goodreads.com

NARNIA . . . where owls are wise, where some of the giants like to snack on humans, where a prince is put under an evil spell . . . and where the adventure begins.

Eustace and Jill escape from the bullies at school through a strange door in the wall, which, for once, is unlocked. It leads to the open moor . . . or does it? Once again Aslan has a task for the children, and Narnia needs them. Through dangers untold and caverns deep and dark, they pursue the quest that brings them face and face with the evil Witch. She must be defeated if Prince Rillian is to be saved.

My Thoughts: I'm going to be perfectly honest her: this is probably my least favorite book in the series. For one, Eustace and Jill are not nearly as endearing to me as the Pevensies or Digory and Polly. Jill especially can be a bit of a complainer, and although not quite as horrid as Eustace was in Dawn Treader, she still bears the badge of children schooled at the miserable Experiment House. Second, the large space of time spent in Underland made me feel claustrophobic after a while (a family tendency, and not an opinion shared by all readers of this book, I assure you). 

However, what I realize is that the two "issues" I have with this book are entirely opinionated and cannot really be considered cons (which is why they are placed under "My Thoughts") . . . and for that reason, I hope you don't use them as a cause not to read SC. It is definitely a book worth reading, and displays quite subtly Lewis' gift as a writer. The fact that this book takes a wholly different path than the ones that came before it — and yet still retains that classically Narnian feel — says a lot about its author. The creatures of Underland encompass everything that is eerie and hopeless; the Lady of the Green Kirtle attains levels of iniquity that even cold-hearted Jadis could not reach. But when times grow dire, Aslan remains . . . and that is what makes me love this book, despite my original misgivings.

Pros: Though younger children may not catch on to this theme, The Silver Chair deals greatly with trusting that God knows what He's doing when He sends you on a mission. By believing that Aslan did not know what perils the journey would offer, the children take matters into their own hands and forget the Lion's instructions to them. This risks their very lives and puts them in a lot of unnecessary trouble that they could have easily avoided. Puddleglum, the faithful (though dour) Marshwiggle, is a constant friend and makes a great sacrifice for Eustace and Jill's sake. His bravery is rewarded later on, and the children realize they should not have judged him so quickly. The manner in which the Lady of the Green Kirtle sings (sweetly, but full of lies) puts on display how Satan's greatest weapon is often sugar-coated words and seemingly gentle tones, with which he deceives us into believing his suggestions are not really so bad.

Cons: Some scenes may be frightening for very young children, especially those that take place in Underland.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I recommend this book for ages 9+

A Bit O' Reading For the Day:
“Aslan's instructions always work; there are no exceptions.” — The Silver Chair
Have a good evening, sweet friends! 

2 comments:

  1. I love reading the Narnia books! Just the way Lewis words things, especially in the beginning or Magician's Nephew... :D
    But yes, I will agree. Silver Chair was probably my least favorite of the series. It was interesting, it was clever, it had that Narnian charm, but I still like Horse and His Boy, Magician's Nephew, and Dawn Treader better. :)
    Oh, and I believe that verse is from Ecclesiastes. It's my sister's favorite passage, well, one of my sisters, as I have several. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. I beg to differ! I love The Silver Chair as well as Jill and Eustace!

    ReplyDelete

"Gracious words are like a honeycomb; sweetness to the soul and health to the body." —Proverbs 16:24

Related Posts with Thumbnails