Tag Archives: philip pullman

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman

The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (unabridged audiobook read by Anton Lesser; 6.5 hours on 6 discs): Sally Lockhart, recently orphaned, finds herself suddenly embroiled in a complicated plot wherein multiple people want to either kill her or save her. There are guns, and opium, and diaries, and shipwrecks, and over all it’s a pretty good whodunit. A little confusing at times, sure, but full of delightfully memorable characters.

A note on the audio: Lesser is simply marvelous. Seriously: he’s so good that I may go out of my way to listen to other books he reads, even if they aren’t normally my sort of thing. He’s just that excellent.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman: I’d been looking forward to this last installment of His Dark Materials, both just because I thoroughly enjoyed its predecessors, and because I wanted to find out the twist ending that had inspired such polarized reactions among my friends. Without spoiling anything: I understood the ending, and it made sense with the rest of the story, but it still made me sad. Other than that, I can say that I very much enjoyed these books, and the characters will stay with me for a very long time. I admit I got a little confused with the Biblical metaphors here and there, but the rest of the adventure was quite satisfying, and I’d love to read more stories set in that universe. Definitely recommended, but not for sensitive young readers. There’s a lot of violence.

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman: While trying to protect his mother from some mysterious men, Will steps into another world. There he meets Lyra and is swept up into the tale of Dust and witches and daemons. This is the second installment in the His Dark Materials trilogy, and like many seconds-of-three, it’s pretty dark. The violence is both more prevalent and more graphic than in The Golden Compass, and at times I almost cried. But it’s well-written and exciting, and I just love Will. Like the previous book, it ends with a cliffhanger. Looking forward to the conclusion.

Also posted on BookCrossing.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: A far more detailed and extensive alternate universe than I’ve seen in a while. I can’t decide what time period it’s supposed to take place in, as there are guns and telephones and arrows and zeppelins. Perhaps it’s a sort of steampunk. Anyway, every person has a daemon, which is in the form of an animal, and is more or less their soul. Scholars have discovered a new elementary particle, referred to as “Dust,” and it is causing quite a stir. When Lyra’s best friend Roger is kidnapped by the mysterious Gobblers, she and her daemon must journey north to rescue him. Lyra is a charming, if brash, little girl and the characters she meets are marvelous. I really enjoyed this one, and am a little sad I can’t rush off to read the next in the series, as the ending leads right into it.

I came into this expecting something somewhat controversial but didn’t really find anything. I can almost see the bristling of the Catholic Church over this – except at the very beginning of the book there is mention of Pope John Calvin, implying that the Church of this book doesn’t particularly resemble the real one. But oh well, some people get quite bored unless they have something to be offended by.

The original title of this book was Northern Lights, which is far more fitting, as the item to which I assume the title is referring is not a compass at all. Publishers are funny things.

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