2.75 stars ...close to 3, but not quite.
To be perfectly honest, I think I've debated between 3 stars & 4 stars for most of the stories within the Chronicles of Narnia...except perhaps The Magician's Nephew. The Silver Chair is certainly not as good as it's predecessors (chronologically speaking, since I read the series in chronological order and not in publication order). I didn't hate it...but it pretty much had no lasting impact for me. One the one hand there's the inherent magic and innocence that warrants a higher rating. But on the other hand there's the frustrating and dated subtexts. The Silver Chair almost comes off a bit sad, when compared to the other stories of the Chronicles...maybe sad isn't the right word but the tone just doesn't seem as optimistic as it used to be. And while that in and of itself isn't enough to warrant the slightly lower rating, it simply felt off. The other, more prevalent reason for my lower rating lies with my issues regarding the main villain in The Silver Chair and Capsian's faith I guess, which I'll get to in a bit.
Essentially, The Silver Chair features Eustace Scrubb from TVOTDT along with one of his school friends Jill Pole. I was surprised (and a bit let down) that the story is told mainly from Jill's POV. Having seen the amazing transformation that Eustace went through during Dawn Treader, I was anxious to get to know his character better. The story takes place approximately 1 year after the events of TVOTDT (but 70 years have passed in Narnia...gah!) I really enjoyed all of the new characters, even if I struggled a bit with Puddleglum the Marsh-wiggle at first. Being called to Narnia, as usual offers a much welcomed escape for our heroes and a chance to make a huge difference in that world. Aslan's presence is more subtle than it was in Dawn Treader (where he seemed to appear randomly the second someone needed a hand). Here our heroes have to work hard to overcome all obstacles and evil.
My main issues with The Silver Chair were really only two things. Firstly, I was saddened by the unfairness that seemingly follows King Caspian X. This time around, we find the poor king an old man, who has lost his beloved wife to a deadly snake and subsequently looses his son, Prince Rilian after the lather goes missing in the woods and has not been seen for 10 years. At the end of the book, father and son are reunited for about thirty seconds before King Caspian dies. It just seems awfully cruel for someone beloved by Aslan and promised a good life. My second issue lies with the Lady of the Green Kirtel. Upon hearing her physical description of being very tall, very beautiful, blond and from the North my initial reaction was that there could be no doubt she was Jadis the White Witch, but in another form. 'It's either Jadis or Lewis has lost some points for originality' I said to myself. Unfortunately, it seems it turned out to be the latter. Lewis himself says at the end of the book that she is 'of the same kind' as the White Witch. Here's the thing though: We KNOW Jadis destroyed EVERYONE in her world of Charn before she was found and unfrozen in TMN. So we can say with utter certainty that Jadis has no relatives that could have survived. I think we can also assume she DIDN'T have any children while she reigned over Narnia. That being said, the Lady of the Green Kirtle could NOT possibly be 'of the same sort' as Jadis. It would have made ALL the sense in the world for her to be an embodiment of Jadis, but sadly the author went the other way; he created not one, but TWO main villains who are exactly the same. Who knows, maybe Lewis got attacked by a really tall, beautiful, blond woman from the North when he was a kid...and then a few years later he was attacked again by ANOTHER really tall, beautiful, blond woman from the North... o_O End rant.
I still enjoyed reading The Silver Chair despite certain aspects or context I just couldn't wrap my head around...or even try to ignore this time around. These stories are without a doubt classics that should be read a least once in a lifetime, but the tone in this one drops considerably. It made me a bit sad to see what seems to be becoming of Narnia by this point in the series