Author: Philip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials
Genre(s): Fantasy, YA
For: Personal Interest
When Lyra's best friend Roger is kidnapped by the fearsome Gobblers, she and her daemon Pantalaimon must risk everything to leave her home at Jordan College in Oxford to find him. She enlists the help of Gyptians, a Texas aeronaut, an armored bear, and witches. She must figure out how her uncle Asriel and the lovely Mrs. Coulter are involved as well as stay away from the Magisterium that controls nearly everything in her world.
There are mild spoilers for The Amber Spyglass in this review.
This is my second time reading the His Dark Materials series. I loved it the first time I read the series and I loved it this second time as well.
I love the mystery, the political and religious intrigue, and I absolutely love the idea of daemons. I really wish I had my own or I knew what mine was and could talk to him. I also love how different and similar Lyra’s world is to our own. I love meeting Will in the Subtle Knife and seeing how he and Lyra become allies and work together to accomplish their goals. I love seeing the different worlds in this trilogy. I enjoy learning more about Dust and what it has to do with the story. The Amber Spyglass is my favorite of the series. It’s very bittersweet, but I love it still.
My only complaint about the story is the little bit of romance between Lyra and Will. I understand why Pullman had the story go that way. However because Lyra and Will are only 12, it felt forced and a little bit cringe-worthy at times.
I read His Dark Materials the first time at the height of the controversy surrounding the series due to the movie for The Golden Compass being released. I had received an email from one of my sisters warning me not to watch the movie nor read the book because it was anti-Christian and it was about “killing God.” I actually had just finished reading The Golden Compass and the email made me very angry.
Instead of letting others dictate how I should feel about this series, I read with an open mind and told them to do the same. The religious conflict with the Authority and Metatron and who they actually are in the story (and what Dust is) made me examine my own beliefs and compare them to Pullman’s world. I enjoyed the thought-provoking nature of the story. Even though I had read that Pullman’s intention was to “kill God” and be a direct rival for the Christian feel of The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, I felt in no way that Pullman was belittling my belief in God. In fact, The Authority was never God to me. He was always just an angel and mirrored more how I believe Satan is. I also felt Pullman was presenting another way to think and that the story was different from others I had read, like many stories are, and created an enjoyable story to read.
Anyway, I adore Lyra and Will and their daemons and I wish I could stay with them a little longer.