Bloggers' Reviews

Read how Planet Narnia is being received in the blogosphere

"Amazing . . . the greatest study of C.S. Lewis yet produced," - Aaron Taylor at Logismoi

"Fascinating . . . one of the best written books I've read all year," - Aghaveagh at The Moon by Night

"Michael Ward's gift for uncovering themes, tracing threads, and piecing together clues is unsurpassed.  As a scholar, he's brilliant.  But the brilliance extends to his writing as well, which contains a brightness, a lyrical buoyancy, and an incisive poeticism . . . don't miss it.  Planet Narnia is a paradigm-shaping book and a high water mark in C.S. Lewis scholarship.  I can't recommend it highly enough to the person looking for jaw-dropping insight into Lewis's writing. . . . Ward's book is qualitatively different from the average "guide to" Narnia," - A.J. Vanderhorst at Bitter Sweet Life 

"Full of amazing insights," - Allison at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Just finished Ward's book a week or so ago and thought it utterly brilliant.  Stirred my soul as well as my mind," - Amanda at Christianguitar

"His case is bulletproof," - Andrew Faris at Christians in Context

"There is something about the Narnia books, a mystical and poetical element which takes me back to them again and again. . . . Michael Ward takes the credit for discovering a crucial and hitherto unguessed link between the seven Narnia novels and the seven "planets" of medieval cosmology. . . . As soon as he gets started on his exegesis, you realise he is on to a winner.  By Chapter Three I was convinced beyond doubt that Lewis did indeed base these works on his beloved astrological scheme - and deliberately concealed this fact from his readers. . . . [F]ull credit must go to Michael Ward for an important discovery about these much-loved stories," - AndrewL94 at

"Fascinating and very plausible theory for the foundational symbolism in Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia.  Many different "odd" elements in the Chronicles made sense to me after reading this book.  Ward seems to truly understand Lewis's writings and thoughts," - Anne Parry at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Superb and important," - Athos at The Four Mass'keteers

"[I]t makes me feel like I have "met" C.S. Lewis for the very first time . . . again.  It is like eating a wonderful meal - some chewing required but every bite fills you with a "wow" factor.  I STRONGLY recommend this book," - Barbara Gail Meyer at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"What was the best book you read [in 2008]?  Planet Narnia. . . . [It] is, as far as I'm concerned, the definitive work of Narnian criticism.  Like any fan of the Chronicles, I would be skeptical of anyone who claimed to have discovered the "hidden meaning" of the whole series, but now, about halfway through the book, I am quite convinced that Michael Ward has done just that.  And as a medievalist, I'm finding his discovery very, very cool. . . . [R]ead this book!" - Bard of Bedegraine 

"[B]rilliant, painstaking research that shows several things so clearly that it almost made me cry for joy. . . . A brief review simply cannot do Ward's book justice.  It's rare that I find myself coming away from a book of literary scholarship profoundly moved on emotional and spiritual levels, as well as challenged to think more deeply.  But that's the kind of book Planet Narnia is, and why it will long be remembered as one of the most important books on Lewis and Narnia scholarship ever written. . . . As the evidence mounts up, there's a lovely kind of logic . . . you find yourself wondering "why did I never notice that?" or "that seems so obvious!"  Yet despite feeling "obvious," many of the things he points out have not been pointed out before, at least not in this fashion.  It's as though Lewis's love of the symbolic richness of the planets is a kind of key that unlocks a door or un-shutters a window, and suddenly you find a new breeze blowing through the books. . . . [A]esthetically, it rings true and it works: it holds together and illuminates so much about the Narnia stories, even for someone who has read them again and again. . . . If you love Lewis and have any interest in seriously considering questions about the composition and lasting power of the Chronicles of Narnia, then you will want to read Planet Narnia.  I read it slowly, studying and savoring it as I went, and it's a book I will return to again and again.  There is much more to this delightful and challenging book than I can possibly even begin to recount here.  If you take away one nugget, know this: Ward's scholarship helps to open up the Narnia stories, and Lewis's imaginative life, in provocative, beautiful and satisfying ways.  I think Lewis would have loved that," - befus at Epinions

"A deeper hidden meaning behind Narnia?  "Yeah, right."  That's what I thought - until I read the book. . . . I decided I'd better start reading with my "skeptic's glasses" firmly in place.  If I kept them on, I reasoned, and still came out the other end believing Ward's theory, there must be something to it.  Well, my glasses came off about half way through Chapter 1.  Even aside from the content, Ward's clear style, his sincere tone, his obvious love as well as deep knowledge of Lewis's work - all these contribute to making this fairly academic work very readable and (to me) incredibly interesting.  Ward's work opened my eyes to a whole bunch of stuff I'd never noticed in the Chronicles before.  Not to mention the Ransom Trilogy and other of Lewis's writings. . . . [T]his book is one of the most exciting non-fiction works I've read in a long time," - Benjamin Hoyt at

"Amazing . . . wow . . . This book started off with me evaluating the case.  It ended up with me re-evaluating (positively) my impression of Lewis.  I had always had the impression, compounded by Tolkien's own dismissive quotes, that Lewis threw together the Chronicles in a slapdash fashion.  (After all, Father Christmas?!)  I had always thought of myself as a "Tolkien" kind of guy more than "Lewis."  The best review I can give of this book is that now Lewis makes complete sense to me . . . and I'm not sure what "kind of guy" I am any more," - BenMc at Arrow Through The Sun

"Favorite Book of Literary Criticism [in 2008]: Planet Narnia, by Michael Ward - Just amazing in every way.  I think it will be remembered as one of the most important books of Lewis scholarship ever written.  Its prose and presentation are completely elegant, and its thesis, that Lewis purposefully steeped each Chronicle in the ethos and literary characteristics of one of the planets of medieval cosmology, is brilliantly and cogently argued," - Beth at Endless Books

And more from Beth at Endless Books: "The Book That Surprised Me Most [in 2008]: Michael Ward's Planet Narnia.  I didn't know one could be swept off one's feet by the beauty of a cohesive, persuasive literary argument."

"If you like C.S. Lewis, and especially if you've read both the Narnia series and his science fiction trilogy, you have to read this book.  With an encyclopedic knowledge of everything C.S. Lewis, Michael Ward develops a fool proof case for a unifying theme to the Narniad . . . and by the end of the book you feel like you've solved a 50 year old mystery.  No matter what, you'll come away from this book with a better understanding of literature in general, the Narniad specifically, and Lewis's thoughts in many respects. I recommend this work to everyone," - Bob at Good Reads

"This book is outstanding.  A breakthrough.  Real, and rare, Lewis scholarship," - Brad at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Gives a new way of understanding Lewis's classic children's series by showing quite clearly that the seven books were structured around an understanding of medieval cosmology, each story for a different planet. . . . [Ward] is spot on in his criticism," - Brian at Good Reads

"[A] work of literary criticism that will change Lewis scholarship forever. And about time! . . . [T]hose of you who love Lewis's work for its Christian elements should not despair to learn that the Narnia novels are inspired by the pagan gods who inhabited the planets of the medieval cosmos - those gods themselves were, in the Middle Ages, allegories of divine attributes of the Christian God, and Ward does a fine job of showing how the various layers of significance interplay," - A Catholic Reader

"[T]his is probably the most fascinating book that I have read about C.S. Lewis.   I am persuaded by the arguments, and I feel that my understanding of and admiration for the Chronicles, and for Lewis himself, have increased considerably," - cburrell at All Manner of Thing

"At University some studies in narrative theories helped me put into words what was going on when I read Narnia, and a guy called Michael Ward published an excellent book called Planet Narnia which confirmed my suspicions, gave my whole "Lewis mystery" some much needed background and context, and opened up a convincing possible governing schema for the Narnian world," - Charles at Planet of the Hats

"Do yourself a favor and read Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis, by Michael Ward.  It's an amazing book that will end up being a classic work of literary criticism/appreciation, if it isn't already. . . . When you go to read the Chronicles of Narnia again, you'll see them through new eyes, and read them with a much greater depth of understanding than you ever did before. . . . [A]bsolutely eye-opening. . . Buy the book and mark it up.  It'll be a great legacy to leave your children and your children's children for many generations," - Chip at Theology Throwdown

"Enthralling. . . . I'd recommend it," - Chris at Wet Lenses

"Ward lifts the veil from one book after another, exposing the Venusian elements in The Magician's Nephew, the lunar cast to The Silver Chair, and so on, sharing a relentless joy and pleasure with every discovery.  There is not a stretch or a forced connection to find here.  Ward has researched his writer and his topic thoroughly and, as if presented with a magic-eye puzzle, we're taught how to focus anew on what we thought we'd seen before, until the new meanings and connections leap forward from the pages.  There is much here to explain the lasting appeal of the Narniad, plus a fascinating look at the character of their author and why he might keep his cosmic structure from being discovered - how, even, he diverted colleagues from stumbling upon it," - Christine at AskChristine

"[A] convincing argument . . . I come away from this book . . . with a greater sense of the genius that was C.S. Lewis. . . . Lewis's mind was bent on creating a world that imparted, to use Ward's terminology, an atmosphere, a sense of a reality that shed light on the depth of the human condition.  All the while creating this atmosphere so that the reader at the same time breathes deep and breathes effortlessly. . . . The best art will often understate and even omit telling you its significance.  The best art will make you work for the meaning.  In such a work finding the meaning is made all the more personal and significant by the effort of the viewer or reader.  As Lewis knew, that which a person learns for himself/herself becomes of particular importance rather than meaning being force fed to the individual. . . . [Lewis] demonstrates how the unstated objective can be woven into a work of art and have lasting impact on the reader, even unawares," - Columbia Arts Advocate

"Not only does Ward present a staggering amount of evidence as proof that Lewis has 'translated planets into plots' with his seven Narnia books, but he also presents his findings in a graceful and captivating style that one rarely finds in other literary criticism.  A great strength of the book is Ward's commanding grasp of all the works within Lewis's oeuvre.  For young students of Lewis such as myself, Planet Narnia provides a taste of Lewis's less-often read essays, criticism, and poetry, as well as glimpses  into the currents of thought that run through much of his work.  Yet my favorite part of the book is Ward's assessment of the theological messages revealed in the planetary imagery.  He succeeds in the same goal Lewis set out for himself in writing the Chronicles - to present the character of God to readers in reanimating and revelatory ways.  Planet Narnia presents so strong an explanation of the Chronicles  that I find it hard to imagine anyone finishing the book unconvinced of Lewis's enduring genius, and Ward's remarkable achievement," - C. Strecker at

"The author skilfully defends his thesis. . . . Michael Ward illustrates not only major themes of each book, (e.g., the Jovian Spring of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe) but several details in each book (e.g., the inclusion of the minotaur among the monsters of the White Which) that serve to substantiate his thesis.  In each book the author also discussed how the attributes of each planet serve to illustrate Christ. . . . I am thoroughly convinced that this astrological theme is the hidden structure of the Narniad," - C.T. Hall at Literary Ales

"[S]eriously brilliant.  The book's so, so interesting," - culleann at Bookshelves of Doom

"Dang if he isn't totally right on!  Read the book!" - dangermom at Bookshelves of Doom

"[M]an oh man, you will be blown away by what you find here.  I always knew there was more to C.S. Lewis than what I had seen and heard, I just never knew the true scope and breadth of his wisdom and skill!" - David at We Read

"Planet Narnia could prove to be the most important book thus far ever written on the Chronicles of Narnia.  All the other books I know of are commentaries, attempts to enlarge upon religious and moral questions, allegorical interpretations, and so forth.  But Ward has managed to discover for us more of the mind of Lewis himself which illumines the very foundation of the stories and becomes a necessary ingredient in all our subsequent considerations of the Chronicles," - David Beckmann at 

"Planet Narnia is an utterly gorgeous and a thoroughly astounding book.  Its central proposal constitutes a major discovery and it is at once theologically reliable, psychologically credible, overflowing with insights, and just great fun. Profoundly erudite and beautifully clear, Planet Narnia is an education and an inspiration. . . . [N]o readers of the Narnia Chronicles should be content with anything less than getting hold of and immersing themselves in this splendid, splendid book," - David Field

"Narnia lovers, behold this book!  Michael Ward's revelatory work is too edifying to ignore.  For half a century we read (or had read to us) C.S. Lewis's magnificent Chronicles of Narnia.  We love them because they captivate us.  The series has a mystery, however.  Disparateness clouds the atmosphere, a lack of thorough artistry found in Lewis's other fiction.  Lewis's mind is consistently meticulous and lucid, a chief trait of the medieval authors he taught professionally, and therein lies the secret. . . . Planet Narnia contends that Lewis made it so intentionally.  Ward argues that each Chronicle corresponds to one of the seven planets of medieval astrology.  As a whole, they (the Chronicles infused with the characteristic traits of the planets) create an atmosphere that is both honest to the human experience and consistent with the loveliness and sovereignty of Christ the Lord.  The subtlety, an atmospheric quality, is consistent with Lewis's pneumatology, which maintains that unawareness of the Holy Spirit is a common condition in our human experience.  Ward's case focuses on the peculiarities in the Chronicles, of which there are many, like the supposedly discordant appearance of St. Nicholas in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.  Suddenly they make sense - the jovial saint's laughter resonates like guilt forgiven." - David M. Talbot at

"The mythology of the seven heavens was integral to medieval Christian faith - hence the church's vehement rejection of the Copernican system - and Lewis harbored a secret love for this mythology over against the materialistic, scientistic conception of the heavens that now dominates the modern era.  Ward brilliantly shows how each of the Narnia books corresponds with one of these heavenly bodies, and he builds his case not only on careful readings of the books, but also through analysis of Lewis' more "academic" texts, such as The Discarded Image," - David W. Congdon at The Fire and the Rose

"One of the most fascinating books about Lewis . . . ever. . . . This is a must read for lovers of Lewisian literature," - Dennis at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"[T]he book is well-researched and has a fascinating thesis.  It should be well-loved by Narnia fans," - Diane at Good Reads

"Ward has discovered an amazing tie that binds Lewis's fiction together.   Lewis was a medieval scholar and puts this pre-enlightened world view into his works to pump up the majesty and myth.  The author, Michael Ward, is a profound author in his own right.  Clearly written, he gave me plenty to think about as he weaves through some of the most obscure notes and references of Lewis's work.  I highly recommend this work to Lewis fans as well as those who study story structure.  I gained a few important tools for my craft," - Doug at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Ward has discovered something amazing.  Not only is his book authoritative and convincing, but Ward is himself a clear, entertaining writer," - Douglas R. Ten Napel at

"Mind-bogglingly good," - Douglas Wilson

"A fascinating book, and really worth reading, not the least because it shows how thoughtfully Lewis wrote the Chronicles: I always thought of them as sort of slapdash, something for this Oxford prof to do on the side; but Ward references all kinds of Medieval literature to show how each image and turn of plot is carefully planned to evoke some area of created experience," - Eric at Scatterings

"Planet Narnia is now my favorite work of literary criticism," - Eric C. Redmond

"Favorite Non-fiction books read in 2009: Number One, - Planet Narnia . . . a very strong and fascinating argument," - Everett at Everett's Blog

"This is a very deep analysis of Lewis's writings.  Although some have found it laborious, I was delighted to see how deeply these themes ran through his work.  If you are a lover of C.S. Lewis, and are willing to dig into some literary analysis, I highly recommend this book," - Gregory at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"I was truly astonished by Planet Narnia: the depth of insight, the sheer brilliance of the reading of Lewis's works. . . . Nearly time to read it all over again (as I have done already . . . )." - Hannah Boyle at Books I've Read

"I think it would be fair to say that Michael Ward's book Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis has few readers who started out more skeptical than I.  And yet, by the time I was done, I found myself completely convinced by his argument: that the medieval cosmology of the "seven heavens" is the key to understanding the symbolic and artistic depth of the Chronicles of Narnia . . . [T]his is extraordinarily good scholarship and absolutely essential for a serious understanding of any of Lewis's fiction . . . It really works.  It's astonishing," - Holly Ordway at Hieropraxis

"Even though The Discarded Image is one of my favorite books (so I should have known better), I was skeptical when I first heard of this planetary theory. Ward's scholarship is completely convincing; I think he's absolutely correct about it. Planet Narnia is dense and does not go quickly, but it is really enjoyable and I learned so much. . . . It's well worth reading several times. If you are a fan of C. S. Lewis at all, this book is a must-read. I am not kidding. Go read it now," - Howling Frog Books

"For those interested in Lewis's literary techniques, I suggest Planet Narnia. . . . I think Ward makes a very good case," - inked at

"Definitely a read for true C.S. Lewis fans," - Isaac B. Villa at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"[This book is proving to be not just good, but truly an excellent and scholarly take on Lewis's work. . . . Published by Oxford University Press, it has copious notes, both a scriptural index and a general, with also a vast bibliography that testifies to some legit research on the part of the author, Michael Ward.  Good inspiration to be found; do check it out," - Jacques at Arts & Faith

"Compelling . . . a good read," - Jason Dietz at Non Modern

"One of the most exciting and wonderful works of literary scholarship that I have ever read.  It makes Narnia even more pleasurable (when I thought that that was not possible).  And it was just as revealing for the space trilogy," - Jason T. Farley at

"Fascinating . . . I was pretty sceptical of the whole idea of a 'hidden theme,' but I was first hooked, then floored, then completely convinced by Ward's arguments," - Jayber Crow

"This guy has nailed it.  I am so impressed, and I'm loving the book.  Everyone interested in Narnia symbolism should read it!" - Jean at We Read

"[A] thorough and fascinating literary detective work," - John Arkelian at Anglican Journal

"Interesting, persuasive . . . Ward establishes his case thoroughly and entirely convincingly . . . the burden of proof is now firmly on anyone who seeks to argue against his thesis.  I'm sure this book will increase people's appreciation for the Narnia books, as Ward provides many illuminating insights," - John at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Seminal . . . ground-breaking . . . highly recommended," - Johnny at The Hog's Head 

"I, for one, am convinced by Ward's interpretation of the Chronicles. . . . [It] has such explanatory power. . . .  I hope you will find Planet Narnia, as I did, an enriching exploration of Lewis's most famous books," - Jonathan Askwith at Live Journal

"I recently read a book called Planet Narnia by Dr Michael Ward, which I highly recommend. . . . It's great," - Jonathan Lowery

"Though I can't claim to have surveyed all the literature on C.S. Lewis, it's safe to say this volume from Oxford University Press based on the doctoral studies of Cambridge scholar/clergyman Michael Ward is one of the most important contributions to the corpus yet released.  It ratchets up the whole level of scholarship on Lewis and his work by proposing a key to understanding not only the Chronicles of Narnia . . . but also most of Lewis's other major works. . . . Ward's case is impeccably argued and supported by internal evidences.  Reading that case adds depth to everything Lewis wrote, and forever dispels the claim of J.R.R. Tolkien that "the Chronicles were carelessly assembled out of incompatible mythologies" and that the children's books have insufficient depth to inflame and occupy the imaginations of adult readers.  Ward has given us a quantum leap to a higher rung of Lewis appreciation," - Jon Kennedy at Postcards from Nanty Glo

"Words fails to express the genius of this work. . . . [B]reathtaking. . . . [D]eserves to become a classic. . . . For any serious fan of Lewis and of the Chronicles, Planet Narnia is an absolute must-read," - Joseph at lovemesomebooks

"If it were at all possible, this book made me fall in love with the Chronicles even more than I had previously.  I would recommend this work highly to anyone who has read through the entirety of the seven Chronicles. . . . The archetypes that Lewis uses to communicate God's character are something beautiful to have uncovered.  I hope others can appreciate this work as well," - Josiah at We Read

"You'll need to turn your brain ON to get through this one, but if you're a C.S. Lewis fan, you'll love it!" - J. Raymond at

"This really is a very good book, and utterly convincing in both its thesis and execution.  Ward provides a simple, and universally credible, lens through which the Narniad can be interpreted, understood and appreciated," - JustinLA at Library Thing

"I just finished Planet Narnia by Michael Ward.  In a word: amazing," - Kara Jenkins at MySpace

"Book of the Year, 2008: Planet Narnia . . . . [M]agnificent . . . forever enhancing my love and appreciation for Lewis as a craftsman.  I will never read these stories in the same way again.  A new light has been shed on them which makes them all the more beautiful and joyous," - Kenneth Myers

"This book is very, very good.  If you like the Narniad, this book will make you enjoy it even more," - Kevin at Good Reads

"Michael Ward has succeeded in C.S. Lewis's footsteps, exploring intellectual and theological insights, and managing continually to ignite the reader's imagination.  In what will likely be a key text in Lewis scholarship from now on, Ward makes a detailed and convincing argument," - kj at Bulletin Board of the Brain

"[A] very interesting read. . . . Ward is without a doubt an expert on Lewis's life and works.  He does not approach this topic lightly or without proper research, and this is something he demonstrates throughout his argument.  Of course, I was skeptical at first, but my skepticism gradually broke down as he presented his evidence in the initial chapters.  Not only has he studied Lewis's works in detail, but as a priest in the Church of England, he knows his theology as well.  He is able to use this theory of his to point out ways in which Lewis used medieval mythology to present more intricate pictures of Christ . . . . One thing about this book that helped to convince me of this theory was his examples from Lewis's other works of just how much he studied and appreciated planet mythology. . . . One of the most satisfying aspects of this book is how Ward shows how each story presents a different picture of Aslan as Christ, through the lens of each different planet. . . . It became exciting just to see what little things Ward would find in each story. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone who is a big fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, especially if you're into mythology as well.  Planet Narnia has given me an even greater appreciation for Lewis's knowledge of literature and mythology, spiritual symbolism, and his ability to subtly incorporate such symbolism into his stories," - Laura at Eowyn86

"Halfway through chapter three, and I am totally convinced.  You will not be able to talk intelligently about Narnia, or make satisfactory movies about Narnia, or ever hope to write something similar to Narnia, until you have read this book," - The Light Shineth in Darkness

"[T]his was easily my favorite book this year [2008] - it fired my theological and literary imagination, it made me want to reread everything I've ever read by Lewis, and it gave me a deeper understanding of both who I am as a believer and what I am to do with that calling," - The Living Room

"[T]his is turning out to be a seriously seriously good study of the Chronicles of Narnia . . . The combination of subject matter and scholarship is making this a truly wonderful book.  As I say, go buy it.  Now," - The Llama Butchers

And more from The Llama Butchers: "As for Planet Narnia, I am now well into Ward's discussion of the ways in which Mercury permeates The Horse and His Boy.  Go . . . buy the book.  Seriously.  I have been so swept up with Ward's discussion of Lewis's Christianity, medieval and Renaissance scholarship and classical predilections that I have felt positively elevated."

"My spirit exults in Planet Narnia," - lucy_ps at

"[W]onderful, fascinating and persuasive.  Anyone interested in the world, Christianity, God, Lewis, literature or pretty much anything else besides should read this book.  It's beautifully written, eloquent and playful.  I often found myself marking passages on most pages," - Marc Lloyd's Miscellanies

"A brilliantly clever analysis of the Narnia books.  Ward's argument is airtight, comprehensive, and highly readable.  Thoroughly academic and thoroughly enjoyable - I was impressed," - Marisa at We Read

"One reason I was so intrigued with Planet Narnia is that scholarly works on The Chronicles of Narnia are few and far between.  Ever since Walden and Disney announced they were working on the movie The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, there has been no shortage of books written about Narnia, but few of them would qualify, in my estimation, as scholarly. . . . Don't let Ward's "deepness" intimidate you, though. . . . Having recently re-read the Chronicles myself, my reaction on page after page was, 'Yes, I see.  I understand exactly what you mean.  That makes so much sense.'  The other reason that the book intrigued me is that it included a part of Lewis's life we do not hear much about.  There have been books after books written about C.S. Lewis's Christianity, but little about his great love of poetry and medieval literature.  How Lewis imaginatively integrated this love for the medieval cosmic understanding with his Christian beliefs is nothing short of amazing.  It gives me a sense of what a genius he really was," - Mark A. Sommer at

"If you like C.S. Lewis and the Chronicles of Narnia, go and read Planet Narnia by Dr Michael Ward.  It is a very interesting 'unveiling' of Lewis's literary and theological intentions in the seven Narnia books," - Marvelous Light

"[T]his book really is remarkable.  It is a beautiful read; the poetry and imagery that so moved Lewis fill the pages of this convincing and exciting book!  I hope that this book marks a turnabout and that Lewis starts to gain more scholarly attention because, as Ward shows time and again, the depth of Lewis's thought and his creative vision is unparalleled," - Matt Moser at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"I confess to a forehead-smacking, well-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that? moment.  Once the planets and their personalities are explained, and their manifestations in the Chronicles revealed, Ward’s theory fits the series neatly together, and one wonders how this could have gone overlooked for so long. . . . Solving this puzzle ought to please us, not for the sake of solving it, but because it inclines us, subtly and ultimately, to the knowledge and awe of God, who “walks everywhere incognito.” And is that not the beginning of wisdom?" - Megan J. Robinson

"Wow!  Absolutely earthshattering.  I've read the Narniad almost every year since I was five.  In one sense, Lewis's work has shaped both my imagination and my theology, but at that subconscious and poetic level.  While this book has opened up some of the reason behind the work, it has in no sense diminished the mystery and wonder of the books.  On the contrary, it has increased my appreciation for both their level of literary scholarship and their theology.  And it has made me immensely happy for all those Tolkien enthusiasts who automatically denigrate Lewis's work as slipshod," - Melanie at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"If you love C.S. Lewis and his Chronicles of Narnia (deeply, not just casually, but DEEPLY), then you'll find this book very wonderful. . . . Ward has hit the nail on the head," - Melinda at Good Reads

"Utterly excellent. . . . The best publication on Lewis I've EVER seen," - Micah at Kingdom of God Media

"Clearly the most significant book written about Narnia . . . ever," - Michael at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"In addition to being insightful literary criticism, Planet Narnia introduces a valuable way to look at social change.  Whether consciously or otherwise, our society has cast off each of these medieval ideals or influences, seeing in them undesirable things as well as desirable.  But, as Lewis believed, the negative aspects of these ideals are not present in the ideals themselves, but in those who receive them.  Human nature is unchangeable without Christ, but these symbols served as signposts that we have cast away without understanding them properly," - Michael Lucero at Kirishitan Thoughts

"Rarely has a book of literary criticism so gripped me.  I found it fascinating and wished it had been longer.  Ward's thesis seems at first sight to be far-fetched. . . . Yet he argues cogently not only for the validity of this schema, but also for the reasons why Lewis chose it, why he concealed it, and why no one has previously discovered it. . . . The astrological scheme does not detract from the books' Christological intent, for in each case, the Christ-figure, Aslan, is presented in the corresponding planetary aspect. . . . [T]he book is well-argued and well-written, and the author's deep knowledge of Lewis's thought is constantly apparent.  It is hard to see how anyone can now write a literary or theological study of Narnia without taking Ward's ideas very seriously indeed," - MyopicBookworm at Library Thing

"More than making me think Ward has made a brilliant literary discovery, the book is making me realize even more just how brilliant Lewis really was.  I suppose the mark of a good critic . . . is that he disappears altogether and makes us appreciate the original work more, so Ward certainly succeeded in that regard," - Nate at Christianguitar

"An astute piece of Lewis scholarship. . . . Thanks to Michael Ward's erudition, I am now beginning to appreciate [the Chronicles of Narnia] as works of profound subtlety and ambition," - Nate Bell at Conversant Life

"[O]utstanding. . . . I'll have to try hard to keep from gushing. . . . [T]he evidence for Ward's position is simply overwhelming.  When Ward places Lewis's own poetry and writings side by side with the Chronicles, one has a hard time not seeing the structure.  (Frankly, though some may have some quibbles with a minor point or two, I really don't think anyone can argue with Ward's thesis.)  For anyone who has ever read and enjoyed the Chronicles, I would highly recommend this book.  (It made me downright giddy.  It was like turning on a light in a dark room.  I kept thinking, "Oh, that makes sense now.")" - Nevada at Epiginoskein

"Planet Narnia is astounding," - Nick Roark at The Gospel Coalition

"[A] very readable academic book about Lewis's work, with a bold, brilliant unifying theory about the Narnia books . . . It's a really convincing argument, one that understands and analyzes - and so is a great guide to - the religion without trying to forcefeed it," - palindromebeta at

"[I] read it three times consecutively. . . . [E]ach read brought new appreciation for the books which are the subject of its study. . . . I would challenge anyone to argue convincingly against his evidence and conclusions," - Paula at Good Reads

"This thorough work demonstrates clearly and convincingly the truly cohesive quality of the Narniad and shows how Christ is revealed in the "atmosphere" of each work in a way that is far from superficial or simple," - Paul C. Edgerton at

"I intend to read this at an exceedingly  slow pace.    This book is for me like a heavenly rich dessert  - small tastes and sips," - Phil at Good Reads

"[T]he most persuasive reinterpretation of an author's work I've read - consistently adding to, rather than detracting from, both the stories and their Christian interpretation.  If you're a friend of Narnia and want to delve beneath the level of the text, you'll find this a compelling read," - Philip Purser-Hallard at surefish

"A new book on C.S. Lewis's Narnia Chronicles has come out and, unlike previous books, it seems this one may actually have something new, interesting, profitable, and most importantly, correct, to say.  Having read the Chronicles multiple times as well as being familiar with a large portion of Lewis's other works, I have to say that my first impression of this idea of the seven heavens corresponding to the seven books is that it is not only likely, but it would be just the sort of thing that Lewis would do," - Ply the Silent Planet

"I admit initial scepticism, being averse to revisionism in interpretation.  However, I was wrong, and this book by Ward brings a new depth of understanding Lewis's vision and fiction, "baptizing our imaginations."  This is a challenging work of amazing depth of scholarship," - Priest at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"If you really want to dig into the Narnia series, you should check out Planet Narnia . . .  Pretty deep in spots, but really, really cool," - Queen of Carrots at Reading to Know

"Thank God someone finally wrote this . . . I'm convinced his schema for the Narniad is correct," - Queen of the Highway at 43 Things

"Unbelievable.  I've been excited about this book and Ward's theory all month.  Both a thorough academic treatment and a really fascinating read," - Rachael at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Dr Ward has unlocked the underlying metaphor in the Chronicles of Narnia.  His theory makes complete sense, given Lewis's other works and his passion for medieval cosmology.  Tolkien blew it by pooh-poohing the Narniad.  If he had cared to look deeper with knowledge of his friend's scholarly metier, he would have found what he thought was lacking," - Rebekah at We Read

"I recommend this book to lovers of Narnia . . . [Ward] puts together a well thought out analysis of C.S. Lewis's use of Medieval cosmology in the Narnian Chronicles," -remikit at Library Thing

"By Jove, I think he's got it!' - Rich Batten at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"A must-read . . . Anyone who is a fan of C.S. Lewis and the Narnia stories will find this a fascinating book . . ." - R. Porter at

"I believe it is the glory of a thoughtful, engaged reader or scholar, to seek out the secret that gives that unforgettable flavor of wonder to some of the world's best stories. This is just what Michael Ward has done in Planet Narnia," - Sarah at

"Ward's book is too readable: it pulled me through a couple hundred pages before I knew it.  Planet Narnia is a great study of Lewis's most popular works.  All good criticism draws you further in to the work being analyzed; it extends the work's own power of fascination.  Bad criticism explains a book away, but good criticism explains a way into the book.  Michael Ward's Planet Narnia is very good criticism. . . . Ward's thesis doesn't strip away the mysteries, but draws the reader to re-experience them more fully," - The Scriptorium

"Marvellous.  This book is a devotional experience.  Ward's postulation that C.S. Lewis crafted the Narnia septet to show seven aspects of God as the seven planets from pre-Copernican medieval mythology is in my humble estimation brilliant and enlightening.  As an added bonus reading this tome is an instant SAT vocab review.  After finishing this book I'm a re-devoted Lewis fan and have been inspired to add more of the classic canon to my reading list. . . . I could rave on and on . . . but if you have the stomach for 250 pages of dense literary analysis definitely attempt it; if not, tuck away the title to "drop" the next time you feel out of your league at a party: anyone who has read it will have a new respect for you," - Snooley at HANDEL BÜCHER

"The fabulous Planet Narnia," - Sparkles & Crumbs

"[M]an, what a convincing argument!  I recommend this book which shows a complexity to C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series that will dispel the criticism from Tolkien to Pullman that Narnia is simplistic allegory!" - Steve Bussey at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"[I]t casts a whole new light on the Narnia books. I think that Ward proves his thesis pretty comprehensively," - Steve Billingsley at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Michael Ward has made a convincing case for yet another layer of meaning in the Chronicles, showing that Lewis's medieval scholarship was at work as much as his Christian faith and his love of stories.  The books were not a result of Lewis going soft in the head or having a bit of a lark, but rather reflect that "everything he believed was present in everything he said."  This is a two-bookmark book - one for the text and one for the copious endnotes - but it is as readable as it is scholarly. . . . Planet Narnia explains the Chronicles without explaining them away; in fact I have returned to them with still more appreciation for the stories, their author, and the God whose glory the heavens tell.  Thank you, Michael Ward, for a book I will be recommending for years to come," - Steven Crane at

"Ward is a scholar who, through decades of love for the Narnia tales, first discerned an astonishing depth to Lewis's "children's" books. . . . [N]o one for fifty years had seen, before Dr Ward, the manner in which a medieval conception of the cosmos as articulated in their astronomy - and taught by Lewis for decades as a scholar - made for that perfect number seven in Lewis's books.  Nor had anyone seen the way in which the seven planets gave the very atmosphere of each of the Narnia books. . . . [T]he author does a masterful job. . . . By Jove!" - St. Nicodemus at All These Things

"I have to admit, I was skeptical about the premise of this work . . . I mean, how unlikely is it that Lewis used a thematic structure for the chronicles yet never told anyone, and how much more unlikely is it that no one would figure it out for 60 years?  But then I read the book and heard Ward lecture.  Then I saw all the other Lewis scholars nodding their heads in admiring wonder.  The guy figured it out.  It's like Darwin.  It's this big fat simple idea staring everyone in the face until someone comes along, points to it, and we all say, "of course!"  It's no hyperbole to say that this is probably the biggest discovery ever made - that likely will ever be made - in Lewis scholarship.  It also happens to be a fascinating read.  Ward is a first rate scholar, and his wealth of knowledge from the medieval era illumines Narnia in a way that makes you want to go back and read it again and again," - Stratton at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"I have been reading, in the evenings, Planet Narnia, and am thoroughly enjoying it.  I find Michael Ward's arguments convincing, he writes really well (it is based on his PhD dissertation, but reads really well, so either he writes in a non-academic fashion always, or he did a lot of work on this before it was published), and it is getting me interested in C.S. Lewis all over again, which I find to be a pretty good way of judging whether or not the author does his task well when writing about someone else," - Stuart at Stoogle

"It is hard to overstate the excitement with which I read Planet Narnia . . . a delight . . . a cool stream dancing through a dry and thirsty land.  It is intellectual and academic without being in the least bit dry, a book clearly written for the general public - but an intelligent and educated general public . . . fascinating . . . will well bear re-reading, probably several times. . . . Tolkien was wrong in considering the Narnia septet to be a literary hodge-podge.  Planet Narnia makes a convincing argument that the apparently random elements are instead carefully placed stones in a brilliant mosaic," - Sursum Corda at Lift Up Your Hearts!

"Fascinating and convincing," - Susannah at Caves of Kôr 

"Planet Narnia by Michael Ward is something far beyond the most important work on Lewis or Narnia: it may be the most important work of literary criticism for the last fifty years," - Suzannah at In Which I Read Vintage Novels

"Very convincing . . . excellent . . . it hangs ridiculously well together," - Taflu at Digital Spy

"Although (and rightly) a scholarly book, which will best be appreciated by those who have some exposure to the same literature as Lewis or are prepared to go and look up references which they don't recognise, nevertheless this book can be read simply as an enlightening and enjoyable sketch of Lewis's major imaginative works - Narnia, the Cosmic Trilogy, some of his poetry.  Highly recommended,"  - T. Cooke at

"[I]t is very well researched and very well written with a very Lewis-like attention to every possible argument.  And I think the case is airtight.  Mystery solved!  It's fantastic to be able to read the Narnia stories through new eyes!  If you have CSL's Poems read the one called 'The Planets'.  It's all there.  And once you read it you'll find it amazing that it took us so long to uncover the structure of the Narniad," - Teri at Good Reads

"Ward's thesis is not only believable, but convincing," -

"A very good book exploring insights into the seven books and revealing Lewis's love for and incorporation of medieval literary themes.  He also shows how those themes were explicitly used in the Space Trilogy, which may inspire many of us to reexamine those three books and find a new appreciation for them.  The reading of the first two chapters is a bit laborious, but once you get to the third chapter, where the real analysis begins, the book flies," - Tim Newton at Facebook Visual Bookshelf

"Ward's work is really important, as it uncovers the long-hidden imaginative key to the Narnia stories, and get us, finally, to the anagogical layer of Lewis's series," - Travis Prinzi at The Kibitzer

"Ward convincingly identifies the imaginative key behind the the Chronicles of Narnia. This "imaginative key" stirs a deeper appreciation for Lewis and his abilities," - Twentystone

"I cannot recommend a better read.  Whatever pocket change you have, put it towards Michael Ward's fine work.  It'll be worth every penny," - Tyler Blanski

"Absolutely amazing!" - Valerie at Facebook Visual Bookshelf


To see other online verdicts on Planet Narnia and to contribute your own view, click here.