Trying to find out more about himself without revealing he has no memories, he gets carried into a knot of family intrigues, counter-plots, magic, swashbuckling, and assassination. After all, just because he doesn't know the ins and outs of whose Throne is at stake doesn't mean he's not a contender. It features both epic elements and a dark-ish Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Not to be confused with The City Of Ember. In , the Tabletop Game Amber Diceless Roleplaying was released, followed by Shadow Knight in ; the expansion Rebma was announced but never released.
There was supposedly a prequel series in by another author Martin and Neil Gaiman , two friends and colleagues of the late Roger Zelazny. During his life, Zelazny had repeatedly and firmly turned down the possibility of an anthology of Amber stories by other authors. The complete first series was published in an omnibus edition called The Chronicles of Amber. After the second series was written, both series were published in omnibus editions called The First Chronicles of Amber and The Second Chronicles of Amber , respectively.
A single volume edition of all the novels has been published as The Great Book of Amber: The Complete Amber Chronicles. You need to login to do this. Get Known if you don't have an account. It is far worse than trusting strangers. With a stranger there is a possibility that you might be safe. So, we have afterlife, and pre-ordainment, in an anti-religious book? Sweet, how does that work? Angels are flying around, and they're the good guys. No, wait, they're the bad guys. Well, no matter, I mean, there IS a god, but he didn't make all creation.
That was, apparently, maybe, the dust. Seems to me that if you're praying to dust, rather than God, it doesn't make any difference. Religion is religion, and this was a religious book. I saw most aspects of the ending coming from about pages to go. Easy ending, take 2: Let's see, Will and Lyra fight against God and All the Angels, against the pull of their own daemons, against not only all creation, but all of creation on multiple universes, they lose friends to bullets, explosions, souls ripped out, and a myriad other ways as legions of people die to either protect them personally, or what they stand for, the two of them travel to the freakin' Lands of the Dead in order to remain together, and they eventually get it on in all sorts of transcendant-garden-of-eden ways, restoring the entire multi-verse with the Glory of Their Hot Sweaty Action, and then Any way around it?
It's just ta-ta, been good knowing you. Well, trilogy, it actually hasn't been so good knowing you. View all 46 comments. Jan 23, Ava I agree, but I could still not put the book down. How ever, I still rate it 4 stars Dec 11, A sad but necessary ending; its exceptional last chapters may have seemed unconvincing if penned by a lesser writer.
View all 8 comments. Mar 27, Brad rated it did not like it Shelves: My entire review could be this: Phillip Pullman's "The Amber Spyglass" is one of the poorest closing books of a trilogy ever written. But I feel compelled to continue. At one point, I actually stopped reading "The Amber Spyglass," put it down and vowed not to finish, but I wanted to be able to slag off the book with authority, so finishing became a must.
And I even had a slight hope that Pullman could save his series I did finish, but it never got any better. Iorek Byrnison My entire review could be this: Iorek Byrnison fixing the incredibly fragile subtle knife? The knife breaking at all? Coulter continuing to live? It was all too much, and it only got worse as the book went on. Thematically it was equally frustrating.
There has been so much talk about Pullman's anti-religiosity, but the most offensive part of The Amber Spyglass is Pullman's portrayal of women. I wouldn't go so far as to say that Pullman is a misogynist , but he does seem to have a poor understanding of women. The five main women in "His Dark Materials" are a catalogue of feminine stereotypes. Lyra, as her name so clumsily suggests, is a consummate liar, who eventually becomes a moony-eyed, love sick teen, subordinating herself to her lover Will. Coulter is a manipulative femme fatale whose only hint of goodness is her inexplicable maternal instinct.
Mary Malone is the pure ex-nun full of kindness and curiosity, blessedly open to all new things. Seraphina Pekkala, the loyal witch, is the classic "heart of gold" character usually she'd be a whore with a heart of gold, but in a kids book witch with a heart of gold will do. Then there is Mrs. Parry, Will's mom, and her madness other women appear in the story more, but they're not as important as Will's mom. There are few if any shades of gray in these women, and as the book drew ever nearer the close I found myself hoping desperately for the women to do something unexpected.
My wish went unfulfilled. Maddening, frustrating, and a great disappointment because of what it promised, China Mieville got it right when he made his list of 50 books every good Marxist should read and said, "in book three, 'The Amber Spyglass,' something goes wrong. It has excellent bits, it is streets ahead of its competition… but there's sentimentality, a hesitation, a formalism, which lets us down. Read "The Golden Compass" and skip the rest. View all 36 comments. I would not have read this book were it not for my friend Pat E.
Did I know, he asked, that Pullman was actually in conversation I would not have read this book were it not for my friend Pat E. Nope, I said, I had had no idea, so I paid some attention to that aspect of the book as I read it. A little attention, I say, because I am no Milton scholar, and how many are who would be reading it? Nor had I read more than the sections of Paradise Lost I had read in the survey Brit lit course I had taken decades ago.
Now, many years later, I and my family have invested some 37 hours listening to the audio version CDs of His Dark Materials narrated by Pullman himself. Which I loved, and then I find that one of the Goodreads reviewers I much respect hated this series, and a little Goodreads argument through his highly critical review ensued.
So I at one point read his review and the subsequent hubbub, mostly pushback on him from Pullman fans. I went back and looked at his review to see if I might, on reflection, change my mind. I did review the book and disagree with him, as will happen here, obviously. And reread this review in November as I wait for my family copy of Pullman's fall release, The Book of Dust, that is part of this world. One place to start in thinking of this book is that Pullman, unlike C. This review is being written by an agnostic once raised in the Calvinist Dutch Christian Reformed Church.
- Dragos Journey: Through the Wormhole.
- Keeper of Shadows (The Scarlet Rain Series, Book 2).
- Am I My Sisters Keeper?;
- THE BRIDGE OF TIME: BEYOND THE PRESENT PART II!
- The Amber Spyglass.
- Kindle Editions.
I not only know that tradition, but actually taught in Christian schools, even taught classes on the Bible in them for a couple years. I am pretty familiar with some of the territory Pullman treads. He intended to have adults—all ages—read this trilogy, too. And we should, and we do. His Dark Materials is also an epic novel series, but it is, like much literature, talking in various ways to the authors whose literature that it is built on.
In this case, Pullman has written a version of Paradise Lost, an inversion of the central arc of that tale. Satan, an angel who fell from Heaven, engineers this act. To split the body from the soul as he suggests Christianity does is for Pullman a horrible, horrible mistake.
Materiality is a good thing, Pullman says; the Earth should not be seen as a temporary place to wait until you get to the really good place, Heaven, but a place where we should fully, existentially, engage. It's a kind of identity conceit, as identity in youth is in flux, in construction. His view—in part supported by contemporary physics—is that there are multiple spiritual worlds and traditions, all of which should be supported and celebrated.
Pullman favors diversity of all kinds—spiritual, cultural, biological. We are different and interdependent or we expire as a human race. Instead of Christianity's idea of One All-Powerful God, Pullman flips that script to show us the limitation of that view through the specter of The Authority, who is frail, weak, sniveling, small-minded, associated with a bad group from the Church called The Magisterium who wants to control your minds and souls and bodies. Ultimately the series is about growing up in the face of an oppressive adult religious soul-killing authority.
We need more connection to the natural world than Christianity seems to have fostered, Pullman insists. And we need more joy and a spirit of adventure and discovery and imagination than the Church would seem to have given us. We need to stop thinking our bodies and the material world are somehow just merely bad. And he knows how to have fun, in this rollicking adventure. And he loves Milton, too, though he disagrees with him.
The epigraphs before every chapter are wonderful, perfect, a guide to the argument that is coiled deeply in his story. The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, endorsed the series, calling the books instructive, saying they are in fact about the death of a false God and the upholding of true Christian values. Fundamentalists, needless to say, do not agree. But the imagination is key to spiritual health for Pullman. He does not think most religions value imagination.
Along the way, assumptions about the good or evil of individual characters of the book are questioned. Is Lord Asriel good? What are the limitations of such categories? Lyra is a liar, which is a good thing in some situations; fiction is a wonderful and useful adaptive strategy in the world, but lies, or false stories, can also be hurtful. Will is a good guy, but he also kills people.
The Magisterium has sent Father Gomez to kill Lyra and Will; he seems closer to a completely bad guy than almost anyone in this tale, but even he claims to want the best for kids. The former nun and physicist Mary Malone is a pretty good person, a guide for Will and Lyra in the absence of The Magisterum. Iorok Byrnison, the flying armored bear who has special capabilities with metal-working, once a captive drunk, is a great and mostly good character.
I prefer the sheer imaginative joy of the first volume, The Golden Compass, with its strong girl character Lyra; she shares the stage with boy Will in the later two books. But the last book is powerful, and often moving. The plot in this last book sort of rambles slowly along, contemplative and reflective as it intends to be. After being primarily an adventure story, The Amber Spyglass slows down and helps resolve all the central issues. But I still truly loved it. I maybe especially loved it because I heard Pullman's sweet and loving and gentle voice on tape shape the narration, as well as all the wonderful characters read by great actors, so well acted.
Pullman also has a bone to pick with C. Pullman told The New York Times in Lewis is saying, his message is so anti-life, so cruel, so unjust. The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt. I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife. So he may have a point there.
This is Blake--and not Milton-- talking through Pullman, advocating a pluralistic way of life and not a monotheistic religion. Be God where you are, Pullman says. Renounce the One or False God, he says, and instead Be God, which as I see it is one interpretation of what Christianity is saying a Christian ought to become.
No guru, no teacher, as Van Morrison sings. In the end, Lyra, having lost her ability to read the alethiometer intuitively, decides to return to Oxford to study alethiometry, which might just be another word for how Pullman sees fantasy, as the narrative exploration of multiple worlds and dimensions and truths. In the light of the ongoing destruction of the planet, this is a hopeful vision of how we should be living the spiritual life, honoring the environment. View all 37 comments. Mar 03, mark monday rated it it was amazing Shelves: Chronicles was a wonderful adventure AND a clear religious allegory.
View all 23 comments. Sep 18, Corie rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: I absolutely fell in love with Lyra. She was the sister I wish I would have had growing up. In my opinion, Philip Pullman was brilliant in his creation of this little girl. Her flaws were her strength just as much as her strengths were her salvation. I was heady with adoration for the two of them combined.
But my cynicism runs deep and my heart was still touched. The absoluteness of it. Will was the boy every girl wants to fall in love with. Loyal, strong, clever, honest, sweet and faithful. So I sighed and cried and watched them felt them! And I agonized over whether they would ever figure out how to Astral Project into eachother's lives. And if the one would wait for the other when they died, so that they could walk out the window they created hand in hand. I could literally picture them sitting there on that bench for an hour each year, aching for eachother once again.
I liked how Mrs. Coulter was deep enough to be both intrinsically evil and love Lyra with a blindly, maternal love in the end. I liked how the Master at Jordon and John Faa were father figures in their own ways. I did find Mary Malone unbearably boring and found myself wishing away any chapter having to deal with her and her mulefa. Get back to the real story of Lyra and Will! I could have done without her entire story line. And of course there was Pantalaimon. How much fun would it be to have a morphing little partner in everything we do? All in all, an excellent book.
I wish I would have read it slower so that I could have enjoyed Lyra and Will's company a little longer. View all 14 comments.
Nov 26, Manny rated it really liked it Shelves: You were having a nightmare. Do you want to tell me about it? But it did in the dream. It was even noble and tragic. There was - George, wake up! There was something about dark matter and angels. I think angels were dark matter? But they weren't dark when you looked at them in the right way.
I built a sort of telescope and I could see them. Remember that next time. And, ah, let me see, God lived in a Calabi-Yau manifold I showed you a picture, right? So God's in his That was a good thing though. And they can't ever see each other again. They're in different branes. That was so sad. You know, parallel universes floating in multi-dimensional space.
Anyway, he has to return to his brane and he's lost her forever. We'll be so tired tomorrow. It was really good. I think I could turn it into a book. And you know what? I thought you'd like it. View all 20 comments. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are. View all 4 comments. Aug 31, Bookdragon Sean rated it liked it Shelves: The first book, The Golden Compass, is one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read.
The second book is something else entirely. I was horrified when I read it and truly disgusted with the unexpected direction the series took. I did not want to read this one because I did not want my memories of the first book shattered completely. So I finally picked it up and I approached it expecting to hate the thing. I expected it to be worse than the second book, but my expectations were unfounded. Each book is not self-contained but needs to be read in sequence; they are not structured like individual books: And this book, whilst nowhere near the same level of mastery the first book possessed, was not entirely bad.
It managed to piece everything together quite nicely, but this series had the potential to do so much more. I was delighted with the first book, for many reasons. One of the main things that impressed me was the strength of its protagonist. She is not a messiah figure and was prone to make mistakes but she was also capable of moments of real brilliance. I rooted for her. I wanted to see her grow and conquer those that would seek to use her for their own ends.
She had power in her. With the introduction of Will she took a backseat in the story, he became the main hero and overshadowed her completely. She seemed happy to follow his lead and became subservient to his decisions. This was a big mistake. Pullman seemed unable to balance the two personalities together without one unfortunately dominating the other. And the ending they pushed towards was so very how shall I put this?
It was not the ending this series needed. I feel that Pullman sacrificed the situation he had blooming to fit the writing into the allegory he had been devising since the first book. It became too forced, one the story would have been much stronger if it was allowed to breathe and go where it needed to go. The redemptive themes towards the end seemed drastically out of place. I found it a little unbelievable. You may wonder why I even bothered to give it three stars. I think a lot of it has to do with Iorek Byrnison.
He was in the last book, and his presence here helped pull the story up in my estimation. But His Dark Materials will always be a series that ruined its own potential. View all 12 comments. Jun 09, Porter rated it did not like it. I and several of my friends went and enjoyed ourselves. And then suddenly they closed the doors, turned off all the games, and a preacher got up and proceeded to try to "save" us.
True, we had already gotten our money's worth, and we we could have gotten up and left even though all of us wanted to but none of us had the nerve. But we still felt deceived and cheated. This is how I felt reading The Amber Spyglass. I was lured in by the promise and the deliverance of an exciting story in an utterly compelling world. But then in the third book, Pullman closed the doors and turned off that great storytelling and I found myself sitting through a tedious sermon waiting for it to be over already. It follows the coming of age of two children, Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, as they wander through a series of parallel universes.
Dec 21, Jim O'Donnell rated it liked it. Pullman's series concludes like it started. Good but nothing great. The Amber Spyglass weighs as much as the other two books put together It just got to be too much. Between the witches and the angels and the cliff-ghasts, the shadows, the specters, the ghosts, the Gallivespians, the Oooooof. Between the witches and the angels and the cliff-ghasts, the shadows, the specters, the ghosts, the Gallivespians, the armored bears And yet, you cant stop turning the pages.
It is well-written, suspensful and you just cant help wanting to know what happens next. Thus the extra star. The vast assortment of characters and beings would be fine if it hadnt detracted from the well-crafted main characters of the first book. Coulter becomes less of a player and less interesting by the page. The same with Asriel and Most maddening was Lyra. She began the series as an admirable, sympathetic, tough little woman-to-be; a wonderful, powerful heroine driven to do what was right.
By the end of the series her subservience to the boy Will is complete. The woman must bow before the man. This book is much too full of "Oh Will! What will we do Will?
Keys (City of Keys #1) by Amber Kell
I found that very chauvenistic and quite a turn off. Still, the ideas of the book are interesting - but not earth shattering. What initially drew me to this series was that the Christians are busy crying about how this series and the movie based on the books are going to corrupt our children and kill God and wreck havoc on our peaceable society. Laughable to say the least. Understanding that this book was geared towards young teens, I still couldnt help but think that any teen who had not had these doubts or questions or wonderment about God should be tossed out in the snow.
Many of the "anti-God" things in this book were things my friends and were arguing about over cases of Miller Genuine Draft in Stephanie Montez's basement. There's nothing new here. So I dont understand the fuss. In fact, there is only one atheist character in the book, Mary Malone and she felt and empetiness and a loss without her connection to God.
I found her rejection of the Church odd. She ate marzipan and kissed an Italian. I ate roasted chesnuts and kissed a Colombian once but it didnt make me an atheist. Cant we believe in God and enjoy the world at the same time? Pullman seems not to think so. Therefore there is something ironic about the near heavenly place Dr. Malone finds herself stranded in fact, the mulefas, thier trees and wheels and her relationship with them was the most interesting part of the book.
In any case, Pullman doesnt say that there is no God. In fact, he allows that there may be a creator, a greater force but the war isnt against God. The war is against the supposed Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal dictatorship run by an angel who wields power through the Church. What is atheistic about that?
See a Problem?
What drives the Christians nuts is that the books but the very valid question in the reader's mind If you arent or havent asked yourself that question you too should be chucked out in the snow. Here, the Church clearly works for a corrupt and evil angel and considering little things like the Crusades and the Inquistion Pullman may have hit it on the head. God may indeed exist for me It does but 'His' spokesmen on earth, indeed his most ardent supporters, clearly do not work for US or for HIM. View all 6 comments.
Coleridge in his criticism of Paradise Lost somewhere wrote that Milton was really of the Devil's party without realising it. I don't know about Milton, but I feel that what Coleridge wrote was true of Philip Pullman channelling Milton by means of his appearance to William Blake in poetic vision while in Felpham, all of course transmogrified into a children's book - with armoured bears. Even the Jungian Daemons, anima and animus to every character, have their counterparts in Blake, while the sexu Coleridge in his criticism of Paradise Lost somewhere wrote that Milton was really of the Devil's party without realising it.
Even the Jungian Daemons, anima and animus to every character, have their counterparts in Blake, while the sexual awakening of Lyra and Will prompted by Mary Malone's fond musings about Marzipan is the fruit of Milton's conception of Adam and Eve in Eden. Three paths are open to me at this stage. The reinterpretation of Milton by means of Blake by Pullman, His Dark Materials as anti-Narnia, and the trilogy as a profoundly religious work written by a non-believer. All of these together place Pullman's work in a dialectic relationship with a dissenting Protestant tradition in English literature, these books are part of an ongoing conversation about culture, about Britain, and also about the family and upbringing.
If on the one hand Pullman was inspired to reinterpret Milton and Blake then he was also writing in response to C. Lewis by writing an anti-Narnia. The world of Narnia is a closed and tightly knit one. We are always in a family circle, family is always sufficient and saves a child from outside influences so long as you are not a pubescent girl and have no thought of entering into adult sexuality which are always wicked.
Authority is good and directly experienced, although not comprehensible because Jesus isn't a tame lion for goodness sake. And curiously the most we know about any of the parents in any of the Narnia books is the sickly mother from The Magician's Nephew. Pullman takes an opposite approach. The family is nothing, its influence is weak. The child is open to the world, the world is a place of adventure, foreigners are friends rather than weird people with the wrong skin colour who are incapable of achieving salvation. Authority is fractured, remote, and corrupt. Parents are terrible role models.
Witches have joy in the experience of creation, and armoured bears are proper bears who eat people rather than giant honey pawed embarrassing emanations of an Oxford Don's imagination. This is the battlefield for the dream of Oxford and what part it will play in a child's imagination.
A battle fought in a culture war between Anglicanism and Dissent. If Anglicanism remains dominant - and I suspect that idea of an Establishment encompassing religious, civil, cultural, and political elites can be read across by readers into their own countries - Dissent still dissents. The down side of this incredible openness and excitement about the universe and all its many varieties of Oxford is that that the series can be diffuse, some characters are much weaker than others despite having important roles to play in the story and more seriously it is hard to take the Authority and The Church seriously as antagonists when we see the heartless cruelty of chief rebel and Miltonic Satan Lord Asriel ultimately aided and abetted by the no less hideous and beautiful Mrs Coulter.
While Lyra and Will for me did not emerge as synthesis, or resolution, or an alternative to either, but somehow always remained associated with the child sacrificing Lord Asriel. And what are we to make of a Republic of Heaven established by a Lord! Can the idea of the establishment of a Republic of Heaven move us as readers when the Authority lacks authority in the author's own text, the sprawl out runs the story, in effect we are with Satan at the beginning of book three of Paradise Lost surging through the unformed void where element fights against element in never ending anarchy.
But perhaps this is part of Pullman's point. The universes are such incredible places and our lives so exuberant and full of adventure that we can never follow all the possible stories fully. Scheherazade, does Pullman say, did not even come close, her constant digression into other stories which interrupt each other and fall over each others toes to such an extent that there is time for a child to grow to from egg and seed to fullness in her womb before she was half way done with them gives us but a fraction of the idea of potential plot-lines a story could follow.
A storyteller must then be a vicious creature, like Blake's Urizen, dividing up the seamless cloth of creation into ugly pockets and then calling himself god. Yet none of this is irreligious. Maybe for some it is an unfamiliar take, but then there is more, even to Christianity, than C.
Pullman's universes are steeped in religion. This is a creation, but just as in Blake's vision the original creator had been displaced by Urizen so too here power has been seized by a Demiurge. The argument is not over the place of religion in the universes but over who controls religion, is faith a matter of personal revelation or of a top down authority, a republic of spiritual equals or an absolute monarchy. A creation in which it is revealed that Dark Matter are Angels cannot be thought of as irreligious or Atheistic without exploding those concepts. What is Lyra and Will's journey to the afterlife than the Harrowing of Hell?
The ending came across as apt to me. The initial breach between worlds was an act of huge violence, Will's subsequent movement using The Subtle Knife again is violent, although since he only cuts rather than blows open with a explosion not quite as bad, however still this is no gentle business, it is plainly damaging and destructive.
An ending in which these holes in the fabric of existence were not knitted together would have to be unremittingly bleak. The resulting human sorrow is part of Pullman's expansive vision. Here love is inevitable, so long as one can remember the marzipan, it is not something to be feared and rejected, it gifts us the pain of parting the Newtonian opposite to joys of intimacy. For me this vast mixture of elements was hugely exciting. Dark matter and William Blake, Milton and Armoured bears, a joyful expansive approach of life in which actions have cruel consequences which our child protagonists will repent of.
Way back in the first book we are told that irrespective of what other characters think or would prefer, they are engaged in a war and will have to fight, the only question is for which side. This may be true in our non-fictional lives, with the important difference that one does not need to turn coat to turn covers and sample what both sides have to offer, and even a child person is a complex thing that needs more than just one type of book to grow well.
View all 17 comments. Apr 05, Emma rated it it was amazing Shelves: It is literally decades since I read it and all I could remember was that I loved it, and the mulefa. But of course there was so much more to it than that. And I cried my eyes out at the end.
View all 3 comments. Apr 20, Shannon rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Heartbreaking, cynical, beautiful, potentially life-changing. Jan 17, Joe rated it did not like it. This book was twisted. The plot was very contrived and the characters have lost the remaining appeal that they had in the first 2 books. Coulter and Lord Asriel is utterly unconvincing. Pullman makes an open mockery of God, whom he depicts as a weak, timid, helpless old being manipulated by a twisted, tryanicial angel.
No, Lyra and Wil don't kill God in the end, but Pullman does. The story culminates in the predictable recreation of Adam and Eve's experience in the gard This book was twisted. The story culminates in the predictable recreation of Adam and Eve's experience in the garden, with the conclusion that Satan had it right all along. The problem with Pullman's "Republic of Heaven" ideal is that he puts too much faith in humanity.
History has proven time and again that men are incapable of building and sustaining a truly benevolent society. We need God in order to build heaven. The true God, not a warped idea of Him as seen in many religions today. The only thing worse than religious oppression is Godless oppression. Pullman is right that men have corrupted the truth, and this is manifest in many false teachings in religions today, but he is wrong in concluding that this is God's fault, or that the very idea of God is false, and that God himself is a corrupt invention of man.
There is a God, He is good, and there is a true way of worshipping him that affirms humanity. Pullman is also right that human passions have wrongfully been suppressed by many religions. But he is wrong in suggesting that there should be no higher authority to set bounds on human passions. Our passions are God-given, and God desires that we enjoy them. He teaches us, not to deny ourselves of these passions, but to deny ourselves of selfish and harmful to ourselves or to others expressions of these passions.
There is an appropriate bounds. True religion strikes the right balance between the full expression of human passion and approprate self restraint. Finally, Pullman is also right about one thing in the Garden of Eden: It is in fact what God intended to happen. There was nothing inherently evil in the fruit itself. The sin was in doing so at Satan's urging. View all 10 comments. Sep 13, Pige rated it did not like it Recommends it for: I actually finished this book a couple weeks ago.
But life outside of goodreads, my general frustrations with the book, and the sense that reading it and thinking about it was contributing to an extended bought of grumpiness kept me from putting any thought or effort towards commenting on it here. I suppose I should get it over with now. I have to say that reading this book was at times overwhelmingly painful and my main motivation for actually finishing it was to be able to know for myself that I actually finished this book a couple weeks ago. I have to say that reading this book was at times overwhelmingly painful and my main motivation for actually finishing it was to be able to know for myself that there was no redemptive ending at least in my eyes to be found.
Regardless of how someone may have responded to the anti-religious overtones, the shortfalls in how the characters developed, the simple resolution of problematic relationships between the characters, the disjointed storyline, the questionable timelines when trying to synchronize the disjointed stories, the shortcuts in solving problems, and my general lack of sympathy for any character exhausted me.
When a problem occurred there consistently appeared some angel or witch or bear or the compass or some other wise being to simply fill them in on what to do or what happened or will happen over the course of a couple paragraphs or pages. This is the conclusion to the trilogy known as His Dark Materials.
The Amber Spyglass is about Will further travelling through the worlds, now in the possession of the Subtle Knife how much I love that boy with his quiet courage and sense of duty and faithfulness. Lyra ha This is the conclusion to the trilogy known as His Dark Materials. Lyra has been taken and is kept sedated by Mrs. Coulter and has to be rescued — or be taken by enemy forces who have also found out where she is being kept. Accompanying Will are a number of new companions view spoiler [first two gay angels which I thought a brilliant characterization and for whom I almost cried because their fate was heartbreaking, then two miniature creatures riding fireflies and spying for Lord Asriel hide spoiler ].
We learn that many places known through myths and fairy tales such as the Kingdom of Heaven, the world of the dead etc are simply other worlds in the multiverse. However, about years ago something went wrong with dust and caused problems throughout them all. Mary Mallone, the physicist Lyra encountered in the previous book, is also travelling through the worlds, guided by the I Ching, which is basically another version of what the alethiometer is, settling eventually in a very interesting one populated by elephantine creatures that use seed pod wheels for transportation.
What I love is that you can never truly be sure which person is good and which one is evil. For example, we know that Lyra and Will are innocent, despite them having had to kill and lie. Enlightenment instead of blind obedience. Nevertheless, no matter what was said and done by him and Mrs. Coulter in this book, they are simply irredeemable to me. But Pullman never makes it easy and so all of the characters have good and bad sides and most of the time the author even plays with our expectations and our definitions and turns them upside down to emphasize that neither any world nor any creature therein is black-or-white.
Because the battle is not won on a classic battlefield alone, but in the hearts and minds of people like Lyra and that exposition was beautifully done. Moreover, I very much enjoyed the exploration of the multiverse by all kinds of different people as well as the different worlds themselves. All questions are answered, all events and encounters such as the spectres explained. Most importantly, Pullman said Lyra's sexual awakening "is exactly what happens in the Garden of Eden … Why the Christian Church has spent 2, years condemning this glorious moment, well, that's a mystery.
I want to confront that, I suppose, by telling a story that this so-called original sin is anything but. It's the thing that makes us fully human. Which is why it is an abominable crime that the American version of this book was changed the North American edition censors passages describing Lyra's incipient sexuality!
Not many authors are capable of weaving such a complex story with so many layers of meaning and symbolism that is still thrilling and full of adventure as well as relatable fantasy elements and great and vivid characters. Aug 28, Snooty1 rated it it was amazing Shelves: This cannot be a children's book, because I am not feeling child-sized feelings right now This book, however, was the best of the entire trilogy.
Wonderful, amazing, and so damn relevant. What an amazingly brave and thought provoking book This book makes me gush. I can't wait for the new trilogy to come out Lyra cresce, amadurece, descobre o amor, e Jun 17, Rebecca rated it it was ok Recommends it for: This book was an experiment, and while there were moments that were clever and compelling and emotionally resonant, as a whole, the experiment failed.
Even though Pullman ultimately failed to create a believable, subtle, or controlled narrative universe, even The Amber Spyglass did have its good moments. P This book was an experiment, and while there were moments that were clever and compelling and emotionally resonant, as a whole, the experiment failed. Pullman's writing is still as vivid and engaging as it was in the first two books, and he has a good sense of how to write exciting and suspenseful action scenes.
He has a knack for describing landscapes richly he tends to describe landscapes and nature a bit more than I care for, but that's just my personal preference as a reader , and he has a passion and respect for curiosity that I find admirable. The overall message of the series, as bluntly and childishly as it was delivered, is still a worthwhile and important message to build a book around: His vision and goals as an author are praiseworthy, and his skill with language is something that other children's authors can emulate. However, Pullman fails one very important test of novel-writing: Try as I might, I simply did not care about most of the characters in the story.
Lyra was basically a broken record that said things like "I been thinkin' It wasn't until a flood of estrogen poured into her system when she spontaneously hit puberty that she finally stopped stamping her foot and listening seriously to the advice and wisdom that adults had to offer. Sure, she and Will were brave and strong and self-sacrificing. But neither of them really developed into anything beyond Pullman's simplistic notion of golden-hearted goodness. Despite all the fuss Pullman made about Lyra being "tempted," she was never really tempted at all. She never had to face a real moral choice about right and wrong: Her personality was cloying and saccharine when she wasn't being abrasive and stubborn, and I couldn't stand her.
Will was a bit better, but even he failed to live up to my expectations of character development.