|Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials |
and various other books.
Saturday, December 11, 2010
His Dark Materials
Series Title: His Dark Materials
Author: Philip Pullman
Genre: Children's, Fantasy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
The Golden Compass Summary:
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.
The Subtle Knife Summary:
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.
The Amber Spyglass Summary:
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.
I read these books a couple of years ago, when I was in 5th grade, so I'm not sure if I remember everything about them. I liked the first one a lot. I thought that the idea of Dust coming from an alternate world/ universe was interesting and unique. The characters were believable, at least to me. I didn't really like the next two books in the series. My least favorite of the three books was the Subtle Knife. I don't know why, but I just didn't get into the story. I thought that it was kind of boring, and not at all as good as the Golden Compass. I don't remember much of The Amber Spyglass. It seems that with all the books I have read since then I forgot about this one. The only thing I really remember about The Amber Spyglass is that I kind of liked it. I think that I was kind of lost, and I thought that it was okay. The book of forgettable though. Not one of those books that you will never forget no matter how long it has been.
Series Rating: B-
"I stopped believing there was a power of good and a power of evil that were outside us. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are."
"When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don't take are snuffed out like candles, as if they'd never existed."
"That's the duty of the old,' said the Librarian, 'to be anxious on the behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old.'
"People should decide on the books' meanings for themselves. They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence."
"Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit."