"The Magician's Nephew," C.S. Lewis
I read "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," (TLTWTW) in sixth grade, and that was it for the Chronicles of Narnia. I just picked-up the series again because my boys are reading it - and I started with the first book in the Narnia chronology, "The Magician's Nephew."
It was a pretty fun read and helps connect some dots in LTWTW. The story also gives a more revealing glimpse into some features of Lewis' theology of God, creation, and the fall. For those reasons and many more, it is worth reading.
One thing that stuck in my Calvinist craw was how simultaneously close and far away Lewis came to a Calvinistic theology of sin and salvation... Late in the story, after Aslan had created Narnia, it was invaded by an evil witch because of the meddling of the sons of Adam - particularly the sinful meddling of Uncle Andrew. That loose allegory works just fine for me.
Lewis scores another point by portraying the effects of sin on "unrighteous" sons of Adam. In contrast to "righteous" sons of Adam, they cannot understand or converse with the creatures of Narnia - or Aslan Himself. Their sin causes them to "suppress the truth" in unrighteousness - when Aslan speaks, they only hear a roar. When Aslan's creatures speak, the "unrighteous" only hear noise. Wonderful stuff.
And then... one of the children asks Aslan to speak words of comfort to Uncle Andrew because he is so frightened by Narnia and Aslan. The allegory seems clear enough, the children are asking Aslan (God) to save unrighteous Uncle Andrew. Aslan responds that he cannot speak to Uncle Andrew because Uncle Andrew would only hear a roar. He is impotent to save Uncle Andrew.
Boy, was I disappointed. This is precisely where Aslan should have breathed on Uncle Andrew - changing his heart / ears so that he could hear Aslan speak and respond accordingly... because this is what God does with sinners. God changes hearts of the unrighteous (regeneration) so that they will hear Him and respond when He speaks (faith). If God doesn't "regenerate" people before speaking to them, everyone would walk around creation deaf and dumb (spiritually dead).
This was a supreme moment to demonstrate the total grace of God in salvation, but instead we are left with an untenable and unbiblical quandry. If Aslan can create worlds, heal sicknesses, rule with authority, and conquer death - but can't give fallen creatures ears to hear, then where does salvation ultimately lie? Is salvation of Aslan or the totally fallen will of the sons of Adam?
I love CS Lewis and Narnia - my prayer is that God would raise up a greater CS Lewis to touch us in similar ways, but ways that are more thoroughly faithful to the power of God's grace.