The seven books that make up The Chronicles of Narnia are among the most famous fantasy novels ever written, and for good reason. C.S. Lewis' stories set a new bar for fantasy and delighted readers old and young alike. After all, who wouldn't want to step through the doors of a wardrobe and find themselves in a magical world? (Being immediately offered the role of a monarch wouldn’t hurt, either.)
Of course, this isn't to say that there weren't dangers in the world of Narnia. The heroes of The Chronicles of Narnia, the four Pevensie children, get caught up in all kinds of exciting adventures and end up fighting in appropriately epic battles. It's all great stuff — too bad there are only seven books!
But, hey, that's why we're here. Here are some great reads that you should turn to after reading The Chronicles of Narnia, at least before you start over again with The Magician's Nephew or The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (And no, we're not getting into reading order debates here.)
"Is" is a name, here — the name of the young girl whose story is at the heart of this novel. After her uncle makes a dying request, Is sets out to find her cousin, Arun. The journey takes her to London, where kids are a rare sight and a train called the Playland Express departs at midnight once a month to cart more of them away. But all is not as it seems — the Playland Express, as it turns out, is not going anywhere quite so nice as Narnia.
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The Hero and the Crown
The Hero and the Crown is a prequel to The Blue Sword, so you can think of this as McKinley's The Magician's Nephew. Like the Pevensie children, the protagonist of The Hero and the Crown finds herself on a throne she never asked for and has to grow to become the defender that her kingdom needs. The Hero and the Crown's main character, Aerin, comes into her throne in a more traditional way than wardrobe teleporting — she's the daughter of the king — but there's a lot here that fans of The Chronicles of Narnia will recognize and love.
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Like The Chronicles of Narnia, Andre Norton's Fur Magic is about a magical fantasy world accessible — to some, anyway — from our own boring, nonmagical one. Protagonist Cory Alder stumbles upon the strange world in Fur Magic after he goes to stay with his adopted Native American uncle while his father ships off to the war in Vietnam. After running into a Native American medicine man, Cory Alder is hurled into a world in which Native American myths and folklore are real.
The Dragon's Boy
If you love classic fantasy, then you can hardly go wrong with a King Arthur story. Yolen renames the famous king "Artos" and dubs Merlin "Old Linn," but this is unmistakably the story of King Arthur's coming-of-age. The 13-year-old Artos would fit right in with the Narnia gang, and The Dragon's Boy is every bit as interested in the challenges and growth of youthful heroes as is The Chronicles of Narnia.
Out of the Silent Planet
If you love the writing of C.S. Lewis, then who better to turn to for more than the man himself? You may have run out of Narnia books, but you could always try Lewis' science fiction trilogy, which is less well-known but no less respected than his famous fantasy books. The Space Trilogy, as it's called, kicks off with this first volume: Out of the Silent Planet. If you’re willing to make the jump to sci-fi, this is a great way to get more of what you loved about The Chronicles of Narnia.
The Golden Compass
You may already know this little trivia fact: Philip Pullman hates The Chronicles of Narnia. He hates it all! The source of Pullman's distaste is C.S. Lewis' devout Christian faith, which finds its way into the Narnia books in the form of religious allegory. Pullman even went so far as to call The Chronicles of Narnia "religious propaganda." When Pullman set out to write his own children's series, His Dark Materials, he deliberately pit his protagonists against an evil institution that seems an awful lot like a church. In other words, Pullman did pretty much exactly what Lewis did, only for atheism instead of Christianity. Regardless, both series are a treat for fantasy fans, with lovable young protagonists, richly-realized worlds, and epic adventure.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Now, this one flew under the radar a bit, so don't be embarrassed if you haven't heard of it. It's this awesome little book about an English boy who finds out he's a wizard. There's a whole great series, but the wonderful ways in which the first book reveals the wizarding world to Harry (and the reader) are the bits that remind us the most of The Chronicles of Narnia — particularly The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, when everything is still totally new to the Pevensie kids.
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A Wrinkle in Time
A Wrinkle in Time is an all-time fantasy classic, and it's easy to see why it would appeal to fans of The Chronicles of Narnia. L'Engle’s young protagonists bear more than a passing resemblance to Lewis', and their journey is every bit as fantastic as anything the Pevensie clan got up to on the other side of the wardrobe. The heroes of A Wrinkle in Time, the Murry siblings and their friend Calvin, hop through time and space on a universe-spanning mission to save the Murry kids' father.
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