DISCLAIMER: SPOILERS FOR THE ENTIRETY OF THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA SERIES
Before I jump into this let me preface this by saying I enjoy most of the books of The Chronicles of Narnia series. I have a few gripes about the 1st and 4th books of the series, but for the most part, I enjoyed the simple plot and recurring characters. My primary bone to pick with C.S. Lewis is the seventh and final entry to The Chronicles of Narnia which I thought was very poorly done and the ending was abrupt and confusing.
I know these books are intended to be children's books because of the shortness of length and illustrations. However, some of the plot points throughout the series are needlessly rushed to their conclusion when I thought Lewis could have gone into more detail with them.
I'll list a few examples of the ones that stood out the most to me. In The Magician's Nephew, the first book of the series, Digory and Polly end up waking up Jadis (sometimes referred to as the white witch) from her dying world of Charn going back to the real world and then tricking her into going with them to the creation of Narnia in a span of fewer than 24 hours. While this might seem standard for a story about children with world-hopping rings the pacing of the plot is all of this happens within about thirty pages. Now for so many important events to happen all at once with little to no explanation of the significance of freeing Jadis the empress or bringing her along with the children to the birth of Narnia without checking in on the character's states of mind while all of this is happening is leaving some unanswered questions for the sake of accelerating the plot.
The same thing occurs in the fourth book of the series Prince Caspian. Caspian has to take back the kingdom from his evil uncle Miraz with the help of the four Pevensie kids Lucy, Peter, Edmund, and Susan. We're never given to opportunity to learn more about Miraz or his motivations except hearing it from other characters because in the chapter he appears in he dies due to the treachery of his captains. Also, the entirety of the war is won in one battle which bothered me. I know the same thing happens in The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, but there it makes sense because, without the White Witch, her army is leaderless. You don't get the same feeling with Miraz and the Telmarines because they proceed to fight the battle with Miraz dead anyway.
Again, these are minor nitpicks but the reason I cite these examples is that they throw logic out the window for the sake of telling the story the author wants. Now I can suspend my belief in a fantasy novel well enough. Do you want this world-hopping adventure that Digory and Molly take in the first book to end with the creation of Narnia all in one day? Fine. Do you want to have wars won with only one necessary battle to ensure victory? I can live with that. What I can't live with is the existence of book seven The Last Battle which in my humble opinion is a terrible way to end a fantasy series.
The Last Battle is easily the worst book in The Chronicles of Narnia because from start to finish it is a convoluted mess. The last book in the series should've been The Silver Chair the one that comes before this book simple enough. Lewis could've easily combined aspects of both books and made it a satisfying conclusion to his series but nope! Instead, we are stuck with this stupid monkey named Shift and Tarkaan Rishad as the main antagonists of this final book. Not even Jadis who has been a recurring villain throughout the entire series! The plot starts off simple enough. Shift the monkey puts a lion skin on his donkey servant Puzzle and pretends he is Aslan tricking all of the talking animals. Shift then makes a deal with the Calormenes which are basically Narnia's version of Arabs that live south of Narnia past Archenland.
The warlord he makes the deal with named Tarkaan Rishad ends up manipulating Shift for his own purposes and ends up eventually taking over Narnia and enslaving the talking animals. The Narnian King Tirian is captured and it is up to Jill and Eustace ( who are also two kids who've been on Narnian adventures) to save Narnia.
To make a long story short they fail and are thrown into the stable where the fake Aslan is. What they don't know is that the God Tash (which is the God of the Calormenes though it is established earlier that Tash is a false god and Aslan is the real God, but apparently Lewis retconned this and now Tash is some sort of demon) Tash the bird demon is waiting for them. Tash grabs the monkey Shift and Tarkaan Rishad and takes them to basically hell, but the stable for the good people is a portal to Aslan's country.
After all this, Aslan shows up and ends the world with the good people going to Aslan's country which is a copy of Narnia kind of like "I saw a New Heaven and New Earth" from the Bible and the bad people go down to Tash falling into shadow. Aslan then explains to all the people there, Digory, Molly, Peter, Edmund, Lucy, Eustace, and Jill that they will have adventures in Aslan's world forever because when they were brought to Narnia from the real world it is explained to them they were in a railway accident and DIED. Also, Susan, wasn't there because she didn't believe in Narnia anymore for some reason so in my mind Susan won in the end because she didn't die in a freaking railway accident and was now in Narnia with Aslan forever which is basically Lewis's version of heaven.
So The Last Battle in my mind was a really weird book and a strange way to end the series. What Lewis should've done in my opinion is made the final confrontation between Jadis the Witch and all the people from our world who visited Narnia and then maybe kill off a character or two to make us sad and have Aslan explain they're with him now and they'll be able to see him or her again in this world or their own world as they are one and the same. Then we could have some sad goodbyes with them leaving Narnia for good and the promise of more adventures to come.
What are your thoughts on how this series ended? Do you have a favorite fantasy series in which you felt like the author totally screwed up the ending and left a sour taste in your mouth? Let me know what you think or don't it's up to you.