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5 Books like the Chronicles of Narnia: Adventures in Magical Realms

Helen Maloney itcher‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ is a classic, must-read series for a reason: it is a tale full of adventure and discovery. There’s also some talking animals –though not all my books like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ have them in, I’m afraid. Read on for a fab fantasy list including the amazing ‘Dark is Rising’ sequence and the immortal ‘Redwall’ series. ~ Helen Maloney

Adventure and Mythology Combine

Within the pages of Narnia, many elements and creatures from mythology and Christianity appear, blended with danger, mystery and a quest or journey of some kind. I hope you find these 5 books like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ also contain similar elements as well as fabulous stories.


Books Similar to ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’…

‘The Dark is Rising’ Sequence (Susan Cooper, 1965-77)

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Once upon a time…a long time ago…underneath all the bits that have been added, the magic swords and lamps, they’re all about one thing – good against evil. – Over Sea, Under Stone

Like ‘Narnia’, many people start with the second novel in this sequence, ‘The Dark is Rising’, but you should definitely make sure to enjoy the first story. Also like ‘Narnia’, at first there’s only a tenuous link between the first novels and their characters, until you reach the final novel(s) and it’s clear it’s been leading there all along.

Similarity Match: 90%
The main difference is that there are no talking animals and the children don’t often travel to a magical land, but they are still full of Celtic and Christian elements woven throughout, due to Cooper including a similar traditional quest structure.

‘Redwall’ (Brian Jacques, 1986-2011)

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Even the strongest and bravest must sometimes weep. It shows they have a great heart,one that can feel compassion for others. – Redwall

This series revolves around a world full of talking animals of numerous species, each with their own identity and culture. It’s not exactly like ‘Narnia’ though, as there are no humans.

Each novel is standalone; there is no overarching plot connecting them or great evil to defeat. On the other hand, they do involve heroes (often unlikely ones) defeating evil and defending the innocent. Jacques also uses the quest structure to tell his imaginative stories, with his characters going on dangerous and thrilling adventures in order for good to overcome evil.

Similarity Match: 85%
Similarly to ‘Narnia’, ‘Redwall’ is full of good ‘people’ finding the strength and courage to battle evil, but there is no real magic.

‘The Chronicles of Prydain’ (Lloyd Alexander, 1964-1968)

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Neither refuse to give help when it is needed…nor refuse to accept it when it is offered. – The Book of Three

This series is of a very medieval-style land full of magic with strange creatures, one that reminds me of Narnia in many ways. Taran is Assistant Pig Keeper, charged with protecting Hen Wen, a very special pig.

As in many of the ‘Chronicles of Narnia’, in ‘The Chronicles of Prydain’ Taran is joined by a small band of trusted companions, many of whom are the unlikeliest heroes, who must search within themselves for their hidden strength. Unlike ‘Narnia’, in this series each novel continues on from the last in clear ways.

Similarity Match: 85%
Although there are no talking animals, as in ‘Narnia’, there are many dark creatures and Christian elements, including a reference to Noah.


If You Like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, You Will Like…

Although these next two novels do include elements comparable to those in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, such as journeys and magic, they don’t have talking animals or the links to Christianity and the like. That doesn’t stop them from being good books like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’.

‘Tales from the Perilous Realm’ (J. R .R Tolkein, 1949)

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This is not a series of novels but rather a series of short stories that aren’t linked together except that they contain weird and wonderful plots and characters, magic and journeys. There’s plenty to enjoy here though, with a little dog who goes on an adventure to the moon and under the sea, or the farmer who ends up fighting giants, dragons and kings.

Tolkein writes these tales in a distinctive and similar style to Lewis, with sly and subtle humour, usually in the narrator’s comments.

‘The Once and Future King’ (T. H. White, 1958)

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If you enjoy tales of fantasy, unlikely heroes and magic, then this is a must-read! The story of ‘the sword in the stone’ and King Arthur is a legend, an enjoyable one full of adventures and an unexpected journey, and of course Merlin is involved, which makes it all the more fantastic.

There’s so much going on in these novels as you follow Wart on his journey from childhood and adolescence through to being perhaps one of the most famous kings of Britain ever, ending with his tragic last stand. While there are many similarities with themes etc between the two books, I’d recommend this more for those who enjoy this genre, rather than looking for a book like ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ which is very similar.

Similarly to ‘Narnia’, White uses a narrative voice that blends humour with his amazing and often beautiful descriptions, however there is a lot more time and depth given to the negative aspects of life and Arthur’s story.


Escape Into a Magical Land

Everyone knows the genre of fantasy is about letting your imagination run right and exploring issues of society, morality and humanity among strange creatures, evil villains, magic and more.

All of these novels are great examples of more traditional forms of fantasy and quest-style adventures, written primarily for children but don’t let that stop you from joining Arthur, Taran and everyone on their their fantastical adventures.

Please let me know if you enjoy these adventures or have any other books similar to ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ that you think should be on this list.

Hi, I′m Helen, I teach English in the UK and am a book addict (I′m serious - if I go too long without reading I get withdrawal symptoms!). I also love music, films, crafting, corresponding and video games. It is impossible for me to sit still unless I′m eating, holding a book or making something.
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