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A rather exciting beginning for a syrupy ending.
am 18. August 2005
This is the seventh and last (chronologically) Chronicle of Narnia (after The Magician's Nephew; The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver Chair).
This final volume is more or less cut in two parts. In the first one, an Ape called Shift bullies and forces his companion Puzzle the donkey to wear an old lion skin on his back and to pretend he's Aslan the great Lion. Allied with Calormenes, they start slaughtering Talking Beasts and doing other evil deeds.
To Tirian, the current King of Narnia, and to his dear friend Jewel the noble Unicorn, this seems like a most unusual behaviour for Aslan, so they set out in search of the truth. They'll call children from our world to their aid: Eustace and Jill.
Ensues a battle opposing the King's small party to the Calormenes and the Men and Beasts they've managed to cheat.
In the second half of the book, like in a mirror image of the adventures of Digory and Polly in The Magician's Nephew, we witness the unmaking of the World by Aslan (the real one this time). Like in a curtain call, all the characters (but one) from the previous volumes return for the final journey to the forever kingdom of Aslan.
Whereas the beginning was rather exciting, I found the ending really too syrupy and allegorical. It was also very shocking to see the absence of Susan explained by "she's interested in nothing nowadays except nylons and lipstick and invitations." With its oldish style, and the fact that the baddies, the Calormenes, have a definite Middle-Eastern profile, I felt that the book was really anchored in the 1950's. I must admit I'm glad to have finally finished the series.