The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2)

Title: The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2)

Author: Philip Pullman

Genres: Adventure | Fantasy

Length: 288 pages

Source: Purchased

Publisher: Laurel Leaf

Publishing Date: September 9th 2003

Rating: 4.5/5

Premise:

Lyra has travelled to a different world, a strange world with many things in common with her own but many different ones as well, and dangerous ones too. Her path will cross with Will’s, a mysterious slightly older child, and Lyra will come to know that her destiny and Will’s are intertwined. Once again going through perilous adventures, and never knowing who to trust, Lyra and Will fight their way through to the truth.

Review:

The second book of the trilogy starts with a different voice, as we accompany Will through his ordeals. As in the first book, we dive right into a situation that leaves the reader quite confused and where it is evident that danger is imminent. Then we rejoin Lyra and some of the characters from Book 1, each going through their own journey. At some point it is clear that they are all destined to meet but what does that mean?

Again the writing is enthralling. Where it could be easy to have Lyra just consult the alethiometer for every single decision, the author plunges the characters into the right amount of action and twists to prevent the narrative from going the easy way, while introducing new concepts and characters.

It is again amazing how he merges myth and science, from Lyra’s world and Will’s, giving an entire new sense to things we thought we knew.

As I flipped through the pages, I became aware that Will’s role in the story would be as important as Lyra’s and wanted to know what came next for them.

This is an action-packed sequel with no boring times, just many moments of unease. What exactly is going on in this new world? Who is friend and who is foe? What is Will’s role and what is Lyra supposed to do, pursue her own goals or help him?

I had a great time reading the book and raced through it. I do wish some concepts had been further developed, like how exactly Parry gained a daemon (wasn’t it supposed to be inside him?) or how he managed to become a shaman considering where he came from. The concept of spectres was also quite odd to me, as was the capability to control them.

Overall I found it an engaging read, not quite as good as the first book, but still a thrilling one, and quickly moved on to book 3.

Read from February 17th 2019 to February 25th 2020.
GR Review

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)

Title: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)

Author: Philip Pullman

Genres: Adventure | Fantasy

Length: 351 pages

Source: Purchased

Publisher: Laurel Leaf

Publishing Date: September 9th 2003

Rating: 4.9/5

Premise:

Lyra Belacqua is an orphan who lives in the grounds of Jordan College in Oxford University. Oxford is all she ever knew, and Lyra is very happy there, but her world is changing and Lyra will have an invaluable role in it, so that’s when her adventure begins.

Review:

I had this trilogy sitting on my shelf for quite some time, so when I heard this had been adapted to a TV series I figured, why not? I’ve always enjoyed reading the book(s) before watching an adaptation.

When I first started reading this book I was a bit taken aback because the author did not waste time setting the scene; the reader dives right into the midst of Lyra’s world. It is an extremely rich one, with many odd concepts to learn.

The avalanche of new terms, whose meaning was merely hinted at in the beginning, made me a bit impatient at first, as I had no idea what was going on. After a while though, I got used to the writing and Lyra’s character began to grown on me. I was enthralled. Soon I wanted to know where this little incredibly strong-willed, curious and resilient urchin would do or learn next.

I don’t want to give too much away because I believe the true pleasure when reading this comes from not knowing much about what you are going to find. I will say however that I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the characters through Lyra’s eyes, and watching her tackle each new adventure, growing with each obstacle. I further appreciated how some characters were not obviously good or bad.

But I especially enjoyed reading about the bond every human has with their dæmon. This concept is so subtle in the beginning but as the adventure unfolds the more you learn about it and you begin to comprehend the depth of it. And it is so amazing how beautifully it is woven into everything else. About 25 pages or so from the end I have to admit my jaw dropped.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The world building is so ingenious and clever, the characters so well built, the writing with the right balance between description and action… I cannot wait to read the following two books in the trilogy.

Highly recommended!

Read from February 13th 2019 to February 17th 2020.
GR Review