Chronicles of Narnia: Best to Worst Books in the Series

1. Prince Caspian (Book 4)

The top books in this series are somewhat hard to place, but Prince Caspian comes out on top. It is the second and final book in which all the Pevensie children (Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) play a major part. The story of Caspian and his rise to power is compelling and sets up the next two books very well.  It introduces interesting characters that continue in those books, such as Reepicheep the Mouse, Trumpkin the Dwarf, and of course Caspian himself.  the It also helps the reader understand the time disparity between Narnian time and our time.

2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Book 5)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is very nearly the best book in the series. It is full of adventure, has interesting protagonists and introduces a lot of heretofore unknown magical elements. The reader feels more like part of the discovery as the characters they meet and places they see had been unknown to Narnians before their discovery in this book. One is also introduced to and sees the transformation of Eustace Clarence Scrubb, a central character in the remaining books in the series.  This book does employ b bit too much deus ex machina for my tastes, as Aslan himself saves them from situations at least three times throughout the book.

3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Book 2)

Chronologically, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the book that started the whole series. It introduces the Pevensies and all the other major characters. The story is extremely compelling and the character portrayals and conflicts are well written. The reason that this book falls to third in my opinion is simply that it does not provide enough detail for much of the story, being only 85% as long as Prince Caspian and 76% as long as Dawn Treader.

4. The Last Battle (Book 7)

The Last Battle is one of the more interesting books in that you find yourself looking at how many pages you have left and constantly thinking, "How are they going to pull this off?" It is a good example of what happens when people start things that they can't control. However in the last chapter, the book devolves into preachy allegory, which the rest of the books had been able to avoid.

5. The Silver Chair (Book 6)

The Silver Chair is a very average book as far as this series goes. The new characters (Jill Pole, Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle) that are introduced are interesting, but become a bit tired after a while. The story is compelling enough, but there are holes in the plot that are distracting and confusing. How did the witch survive if she was in fact destroyed by Aslan? Why are the giants in league with the witch? The ending of the book (which I won't give away here) is somewhat unsatisfying as well.

6. The Magicain's Nephew (Book 1)

Written as a prequel to The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, The Magician's Nephew is intended to explain how the connection between Narnia and our world was first made.  While it does this well, it also introduces unanswered questions about the creation of the Narnian world and about the inhabitants.  Some of the unanswered questions include:

  • What happen to the humans between the end of this book and the beginning of the next?
  • Does Aslan only create Narnia or the whole planet at that time?
  • Where do the Giants (in later books) come from?
In this sense, the book leaves many questions unanswered and leaves a reader unsatisfied, especially if they have read the whole series already.  It also doesn't really fit particularly well being read first, because Lewis foreshadows a lot that is more enjoyable if you know what he is referring to.

7. The Horse and His Boy (Book 3)

What can I say about The Horse and His Boy? It is by far the weakest book in the series for the following reasons:

  • It has no relevance to the rest of the books in the series
  • It has only a few of the characters from the rest of the series
  • It is in the "Chronicles of Narnia" but 90% of the book takes place in Calormen and Archenland

It is an interesting enough story unto itself, I suppose, but it does not fit into the series very well at all.  Let's put it this way: there is a reason why they skipped over this book when making the movie series.

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Comments 16 comments

mgiles101 profile image

mgiles101 6 years ago from Seattle, WA

I never really read the books, but the movie was interesting

Http://entertainme101.blogspot.com


thatsmyname 6 years ago

they skipped the horse and his boy because they wanted to make the movies in the order that CS Lewis wrote the books. that's also why they skipped the magicians nephew.


dosters profile image

dosters 6 years ago from Chicago Author

thatsmyname: Thank you for your comment. I was not aware that Horse and his boy was published after Caspian and Dawn Treader. I still wouldn't miss it if they just cut it out entirely (or maybe as a side-story in the Silver Chair, where it is mentioned twice).


wolfheart 6 years ago

I found the Silver Chair to be the worst book in that series and The Horse and His Boy as the best. Seems we have different opinions.


prayers 5 years ago

I loved all of them, but my favorite is 'The Final Battle' followed by 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' and 'The Magician's Nephew'. I loved the details about the end of the world in 'The Final Battle' and 'creation' in 'The Magician's Nephew'. I wish the movies were more true to the books.


aslansapprentice 5 years ago

Good article. It's funny, The Horse and His Boy is my favorite. I've read this series to children for 30 years. Prince Caspian has always been my least favorite. I appreciate your insight and reasoning. I too wish the movies would be truer to the books. I don't mind cosmetic changes, but when they change the character of the person, as they did with Peter in Prince Caspian, It changes the meaning that Lewis intended.


ME 5 years ago

On the Silver Chair, it is another which, not the same white which from The Lion, the Which and the Wardrobe. And the giants came from the wild lands lands of the north, mentioned in a couple of books, one of them being The Magician's Nephew. I think you kinda put them in order of relevance, and which one made things clearer.


screwy 5 years ago

Best to worst IMO

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Silver Chair

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The Magicain's Nephew

The Last Battle

Prince Caspian

The Horse and His Boy


Lady Wordsmith profile image

Lady Wordsmith 5 years ago from Lancaster, UK

I think we all have different favourites for different reasons. My favourite is actually the Magician's Nephew I think. It's too close to call between five of the others, and they're only marginally behind first place, but I could quite happily leave out The Silver Chair - it's barely Narnian at all. I love The Horse and His Boy, and it actually does feel Narnian to me, because Narnia is always talked about, strived for and is the ultimate goal of the heroes; in that way, Narnia is always tantalisingly close, just beyond the horizon.

Actually, for me, it's quite impossible to split the books up into their constituent parts, because they are, essentially, one book. That's just how I see them.

Linda.

Read my hub on Narnia if you fancy it :) If you don't want to, that's alright.

http://hubpages.com/literature/Returning-to-Narnia


ruffridyer 5 years ago from Dayton, ohio

I keep thinking I'm missing something with The Silver Chair, I also don't care much for The Boy and his Horse. The lion Witch Roderobe, Magicians Nephew, Voge Dawn Treader and Last Battle all fit nicely together, Prince Carpacian not so much.


A person 4 years ago

I liked all the books the same amount! But if I had to choose, my favourite would have to be The Last Battle. It was moving & I think it was the only time I've cried over a book.


Jim Milburn 4 years ago

Just finished the series good, bad I enjoyed it because it had it all. But to rank the books in terms of enjoyment and insight I would go with:

1. Book 3 The lion witch and the Wardrobe (Best)

2. Book 7 Last Battle (Excellent action)

3. Book 5 Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The movie helps

its an adventure into the unknown)

4. Book 4 Prince Caspian (Ties into book 5 because of

2nd movie)

5. Book 1 The Magician's Nephew (Gets the whole party

started Good but not great)

6. Book 6 The Silver Chair (It really is kind of

confusing)

7. Book 3 The Horse and his Boy (I agree its unrelated

to the series, and brings you down, a little

depressing)

Overall its not Lord of the Rings, but it is a good set to enjoy. It takes place in a separate universe, but it is a world with passages into our universe. I like that, imagination with a doorway into our lives.


JK3 4 years ago

It complains that 'The Horse and his Boy' Takes place mainly out of Narnia, yet Voyage of the Dawn treader (my favorite and number two on this list)never goes to mainland Narnia at all. This is not mentioned, possibly out of a desire to enforce an opinion by manipulating facts to fit only to ones point.


Jimmy 3 years ago

Sorry, but completely disagree.

1. The Horse and His Boy

2. The Magician's Nephew

3. The Silver Chair

4. Prince Caspian

5. The Voyage

6. The Last Battle

7. The Lion


Paul 13 months ago

Horse and his Boy is actually my favourite. It is precisely the fact that it is so different from the rest of the series as to why it is so good. It also really doesn't get bogged down in plot exposition like Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe or Prince Caspian. It really starts rolling from page one, and doesn't let up throughout the book.

#2 is Dawn Treader. Again a very different novel from the rest of the series. In some cases because of the sea adventure this plays out like a series of semi-related short stories rather than a unified novel. Some may not like that, I personally love it. You have Lucy and the Magician's book, Eustace and his Dragon Adventures, and the Adventure at the end of the World. This book contains some of Lewis' most vivid imagry, particularly in the last 1/3 of the book.

#3 is The Magician's Nephew which really fills in a lot of the plot loops from LW&W. Really the concept of Satan (Jadis) and original sin are examined here. A good tandem with LW&W.

#4 is Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. It put it at 4 because really it is the quintessential Narnia novel. It doesn't really hit the highs of some books, but also isn't as much of a train wreck as some. I do think that it gets bogged down a bit at the beginning. The book doesn't pick up till halfway through, and Aslan doesn't show til near the last 1/3.

#5 The Last Battle is a tough one. It is very dark. We witness the destruction of Narnia, the betrayal of Susan, and even the "Happy" ending involves our main characters all dying in a train crash. Morbid.

#6 The Silver Chair. Really a quest with not much of a payoff in the end. The Green Witch is defeated and yet there is still a story about Bism and the odd bit about Caspian scaring a bunch of bullies in the end. Also suffers from the lack of the Pevensie children.

#7 Prince Caspian, although not even the High King Peter could save this one. Half this story is told in flashback which bogs the whole story in plot exposition. The we get the whole rehash of no one believing Lucy and Aslan again. Really? Figure they'd have learned their lesson by now.


Emma 7 weeks ago

The Horse and His Boy is by far the best. Narnia isn't just one book to be read like LOTR, it's separate stories that all build on and compliment each other. In The Horse and His Boy, Shasta and Aravis have a beautiful story that begins as an escape for personal reasons and ends up with them saving all of Narnia and Archenland, AND they both end up creating new lives for themselves. It ties in perfectly with LWW by filling in part of the Golden Age of Narnia and adding depth to the universe.

2.The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

This book is amazing for a multitude of reasons. It adds a few characters and fleshes out old one. The plot(s) is very entertaining and ties up a lot of loose ends from the previous book.

3.Prince Caspian

An adventure that as a sequel to the previous book, an introduction to the next, and very much a book of its own.

4.The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe

I love this book because of Lucy's faith, Aslan's sacrifice, and Edmund's redemption. Susan never did much and Peter had a huge role in the plot, but not in the book itself.

5.The Silver Chair

It's a great story but it's not an especially happy one. The whole story is filled with mistakes made by the characters and them arguing about how to correct them. They barely make it out alive and almost immediately afterward Caspian, the character that we knew the best from previous books, dies.

6.The Magician's Nephew

7.The Last Battle

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