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Saturday, 9 April 2011

Review: HIS DARK MATERIALS TRILOGY

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman:

Genre: YA, fantasy

Review:
I've read these books a long time ago so this is a retrospective review. The world building is incredible and masterfully woven. Pullman creates a world which is believable, beautiful and vivid. 5 out of 5. Character development is another 5 out of 5. Lyra and the gang are not just characters off the pages but people one can root for. Can empathize and sympathize with. The story itself is a nice twist in a congested genre. The story telling quality is superb. It takes you totally away to another place and reality so easily fades away. I would give this trilgoy a 5 out of 5.

I love this series so much that I chose Northern Lights as my book of choice to giveaway at the World Book Night event. Even though I did not meet a lot of enthusiasm during the WBN, I still think this series is a classic, a masterpiece!

Cherry's Rating: 5 out of 5 cherries


In a landmark epic of fantasy and storytelling, Philip Pullman invites readers into a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, or Redwall. Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing, victims of so-called "Gobblers", and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.
Source: Info in the About Northern Lights was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/119322 on 14/03/2011.

THE SUBTLE KNIFE
Book 2 of the His Dark Materials Trilogy

About The Subtle Knife:
With The Golden Compass Philip Pullman garnered every accolade under the sun. Critics lobbed around such superlatives as "elegant," "awe-inspiring," "grand," and "glittering," and used "magnificent" with gay abandon. Each reader had a favorite chapter--or, more likely, several--from the opening tour de force to Lyra's close call at Bolvangar to the great armored-bear battle. And Pullman was no less profligate when it came to intellectual firepower or singular characters. The dæmons alone grant him a place in world literature. Could the second installment of his trilogy keep up this pitch, or had his heroine and her too, too sullied parents consumed him? And what of the belief system that pervaded his alternate universe, not to mention the mystery of Dust? More revelations and an equal number of wonders and new players were definitely in order.
The Subtle Knife offers everything we could have wished for, and more. For a start, there's a young hero--from our world--who is a match for Lyra Silvertongue and whose destiny is every bit as shattering. Like Lyra, Will Parry has spent his childhood playing games. Unlike hers, though, his have been deadly serious. This 12-year-old long ago learned the art of invisibility: if he could erase himself, no one would discover his mother's increasing instability and separate them.

As the novel opens, Will's enemies will do anything for information about his missing father, a soldier and Arctic explorer who has been very much airbrushed from the official picture. Now Will must get his mother into safe seclusion and make his way toward Oxford, which may hold the key to John Parry's disappearance. But en route and on the lam from both the police and his family's tormentors, he comes upon a cat with more than a mouse on her mind: "She reached out a paw to pat something in the air in front of her, something quite invisible to Will." What seems to him a patch of everyday Oxford conceals far more: "The cat stepped forward and vanished." Will, too, scrambles through and into another oddly deserted landscape--one in which children rule and adults (and felines) are very much at risk. Here in this deathly silent city by the sea, he will soon have a dustup with a fierce, flinty little girl: "Her expression was a mixture of the very young--when she first tasted the cola--and a kind of deep, sad wariness." Soon Will and Lyra (and, of course, her dæmon, Pantalaimon) uneasily embark on a great adventure and head into greater tragedy.

As Pullman moves between his young warriors and the witch Serafina Pekkala, the magnetic, ever-manipulative Mrs. Coulter, and Lee Scoresby and his hare dæmon, Hester, there are clear signs of approaching war and earthly chaos. There are new faces as well. The author introduces Oxford dark-matter researcher Mary Malone; the Latvian witch queen Ruta Skadi, who "had trafficked with spirits, and it showed"; Stanislaus Grumman, a shaman in search of a weapon crucial to the cause of Lord Asriel, Lyra's father; and a serpentine old man whom Lyra and Pan can't quite place. Also on hand are the Specters, beings that make cliff-ghasts look like rank amateurs.

Throughout, Pullman is in absolute control of his several worlds, his plot and pace equal to his inspiration. Any number of astonishing scenes--small- and large-scale--will have readers on edge, and many are cause for tears. "You think things have to be possible," Will demands. "Things have to be true!" It is Philip Pullman's gift to turn what quotidian minds would term the impossible into a reality that is both heartbreaking and beautiful. --Kerry Fried
Source: Info in the About The Subtle Knife was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/119324 on 14/03/2011.


The Amber Spyglass brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heart-stopping end, marking the final volume of His Dark Materials as the most powerful of the trilogy.

Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Byrnison the armored bear, come a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Gallivespian Lord Roke, a hand-high spymaster to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. So, too, come startling revelations: the painful price Lyra must pay to walk through the land of the dead, the haunting power of Dr. Malone's amber spyglass, and the names of who will live—and who will die—for love. And all the while, war rages with the Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal battle that—in its shocking outcome—will uncover the secret of Dust. Philip Pullman deftly brings the cliff-hangers and mysteries of His Dark Materials to an earthshattering conclusion—and confirms his fantasy trilogy as an undoubted and enduring classic.
Source: Info in the About The Amber Spyglass was taken from GoodReads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18122 on 14/03/2011.

6 comments:

Ricki said...

OK, I'm a little confused - was the first book not called "The Golden Compass" in England?

Blodeuedd said...

I did watch that first movie ;) So I am waiting for more of those. Since it was fun

Rabid Fox said...

I've always known the first book as The Golden Compass as well--never heard it referred to as Northern Lights, thought it works on its own level, too.

This is also a cherished trilogy in my home. Love it to pieces.

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} said...

YES! I love this trilogy! great review hon =D

Cherry said...

Ricki & Rabid Fox - "The Golden Compass" is the title of the movie version of the Dark Materials trilogy. "Northern Lights" is book 1 of the trilogy.

Blodeuedd - I think the movie included all three books of the trilogy already... but I agree with you that I would love to see more :)

Larissa {Larissa's Bookish Life} - thanks for dropping by! ;)

Matthew (The Bibliofreak) said...

Nice review. Cheers :)

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