Friday, December 20, 2013

The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
184 pages

The Last Battle is the riveting conclusion of C.S. Lewis' epic high fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. At first it is scary and suspenseful, but towards the end there is peace and closure. In the final book a nefarious ape named Shift uses his weak-willed, yet gentle donkey friend Puzzle in an evil plot that precedes the ending of the world Narnia.

In the first chapter of The Last Battle, Shift manipulates Puzzle into swimming underneath a waterfall to retrieve a yellow object. The object is a lion's skin that Shift uses to carry out his plot to deceive and control the Narnians. Puzzle reluctantly accepts Shift's idea for him to wear the lion's skin and pretend he is Aslan.

When rumors are spread across the land that Aslan has returned to Narnia, King Tirian and his companion Jewel the Unicorn are excited until a great centaur arrives and tells them the rumors are a lie. He reveals that the stars are showing signs of impending disaster. Suddenly a tree nymph races up to King Tirian and shouts that the trees are being cut down and murdered. Tirian arranges for the centaur to get help back at his castle Cair Paravel while Jewel and him go to the site of destruction.
Tirian and Jewel discover that his fellow Narnians are working with the foreign Calormenes to cut down the talking trees to sell to Calormen. After witnessing a Calormen whip a talking horse who was carting lumber, Tirian and Jewel commit murder in their rage at the sight. They surrender to the Calormen and are held as prisoners in the area. Tirian is tied to a tree and starved for hours when he calls to Aslan for help after figuring out Shift 's deception. Tirian is transported to another world where he sees seven people gathered around yet he cannot speak.
In several minutes two children appear and free Tirian from his bonds. They introduce themselves as Eustace and Jill, the ones who rescued his ancestor King Rilian from Underland. The three of them rescue Jewel and form a plan to attack Shift and free the Narnians. Along the way to a safe house they assist a group of Dwarves who were being sold into slavery to Calormenes. After the Dwarves are freed they tell Tirian they no longer believe in Aslan and will no longer serve any king.
Tirian, Eustace, Jill, and Jewel continue their plans and are joined by a loyal Dwarf who leaves his group to fight with them. During the planning they see a large monstrous figure of a skeleton creature with a large vulture head entering the forest where the Narnians are enslaved. They are frightened when they realize it is the Calormene god Tash. In the evening they return to the location where Puzzle impersonating as Aslan leaves the stable at night to trick the Talking Beasts of Narnia. They take Puzzle from the stable and decide to wait for the centaur to come with help from Cair Paravel. An eagle meets them and tells them that the centaur is dead and Cair Paravel has been overthrown by an army of Calormenes. They are deflated, but decide they must fight for justice to the death.
Tirian leads his group to a showdown with Shift and the Calormen in the forest. The Narnians are quickly defeated while Eustace, Jill and Tirian are thrown inside the stable where the god Tash has already consumed Shift. Tirian is thrown into the stable and sees Tash take a Calormen leader. He fears he will be taken next when a voice tells Tash to be gone in the name of Aslan. Tash disappears and King Tirian looks at his surroundings and sees he is no longer in the darkness of the stable. He is in a sunny land where he is greeted by High King Peter, King Edmund, Queen Lucy, Lord Digory and Lady Polly.
King Peter and his friends explain that they saw his face when they were gathered at the Professor's house and knew he was from Narnia. They took a week to find the magic rings Digory buried as a child at his old home and were meeting at a train station for Eustace and Jill to go to Narnia. Then they all suddenly transported to this place, while Eustace and Jill went to him when he was tied to the tree.
Aslan appears and allows the group to watch him end the world of Narnia from the other side of the stable door. Aslan calls all the people of Narnia, including those who have died in the last battle to the door. The Talking Beasts and people who have been loyal to Aslan and Narnia enter through the door, while those who did not believe in him were sent away. Then Aslan wakes Father Time who was featured in The Silver Chair and orders him to call down the stars and put out the sun. High King Peter shuts the door, which ends the world of Narnia.
All of the Narnians who made it to the new land are amazed to realize it is a better version of Narnia and that they are starting a new life. Aslan leads them to his country where they are greeted by all the former kings and queens of Narnia, along with Reepicheep, Mr. Tumnus, Puddleglum, and other characters from previous books in the series. Aslan explains to Peter, Lucy, Edmund, Jill, Eustace, Digory and Polly that they were killed in a train accident in their world and this is the start of their new life. They are overjoyed and reunite with their old friends from Narnia. 

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