(Originally posted on Goodreads; I've made minor adjustments.)
This book is the one that solidified Lewis's place as my favorite author. (Mere Christianity started the process, though.) What blew me away was the utter complexity of his writing (and also his impressive flexibility and aptitude in being able to change his style for his various books). The first time I read it, I didn't know "where he was going with it," so to speak, and when I reached the end I was floored by the power in his pen.
Lewis was skillful enough to make his Christian theme very subtle, but still very noticeable. He never once mentions the Christian God by name, but the ending chapters (which are sheer joy to the book-lover's soul) make it unequivocally clear that all along he has been painting a tale on a mirror, to show us where we, even dedicated Christians, have all felt a complaint against our God.
Aside from the stunning theological inflection of the book, the story itself is compelling. One feels for Orual in the midst of her unlovable-ness, wishes her happiness and peace, mourns with her every time they are taken away, and rejoices when at least she realizes: