The Last Battle: The Chronicles of Narnia (By C.S. Lewis) This is the last of the Narnia books. I had read most of the series as a youngster but I'd never actually gotten to this one. So over the years I've always assumed it was going to be about an epic battle between the forces of good and evil. The goods guys lead by Aslan of course. If you haven't read it, it's not that at all. It starts out like that is what's going to happen. A bad guy (a talking ape) gains power through deception. The good king is arrested and escapes. Eustace and Pole (from the previous book) are called from the real world to save him. The good guys start getting organized and they begin plans to muster an army. The evil god Tash shows up and the bad guys are increasing their army as well. Up to this point I was really enjoying the book, then a little over half way through the book, suddenly Lewis decides to switch things around entirely and everyone dies. And I do mean everyone. And not really in some epic battle. Some do die fighting in a small skirmish, but the main characters just walk through a door into heaven. It's unclear if they actually died to get there or not. There they meet all of the other characters from all of the other Narnia books who are also dead. Then Aslan causes all of Narnia to be destroyed and then they all wander around heaven for a while. And that's it. Religiously speaking it's a very nice depiction of the afterlife, complete with some reunions of old friends and the forgiveness of some enemies. Speaking from the story aspect it's not that great. The entire first half of the book really has nothing to do with the second half. I used this analogy with the Pook and while it's not perfect it serves its purpose. It would be like if in the Wizard of Oz, after they've finally met the Wizard, Dorothy and her group suddenly died and the second half of the book was a description of Brazil, which turns out to look a lot like Oz*.
The Last Battle: C+
* - No, I'm not saying that Oz or Brazil are heaven or that Oz and Brazil have anything to do with each other.