NOW A MAJOR, CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BBC HBO TV SERIES What is he A friend, or an enemy He is a murderer Will has just killed a man He s on the run His escape will take him far beyond his own world, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra Her fate is strangely linked to his own, and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds The second volume in Philip Pullman s groundbreaking HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy, acclaimed as a modern masterpiece I enjoyed this but my problem is, I finished it so fast,That is a good thing. The Subtle Knife was one of my favourite books as a teen although I haven t read it in well over a decade and it still largely stands the test of time For a children s novel, it is hugely ambitious It raises some deep theological concepts, ranging from the nature of innocence to the problems of organised religion to the perception of reality It should possibly be noted that, despite the accessible way in which this novel is written, a lot of the subtext is likely to go whizzing over the head of younger readers.The story has escalated rapidly from Northern Lights, as Lyra unknowingly finds herself sandwiched between two factions the Magisterium in their crusade against Dust, and Lord Asriel who has now set his sights on destroying the being that they worship known as the Authority The result is deeply original, yet still felt as though it was lacking something fundamental I think the main problem is that Pullman s ideas are far too grand for this novel The Subtle Knife is a bit of a smorgasbord it contains a bit of everything but its scope is so broad that it lacks finer detail We see glimpses of the bigger picture of Lord Asriel s fortress and Mrs Coulter s ever growing greed but there isn t enough room in the novel to really focus on any aspect.In this, The Subtle Knife is a bit of a middle novel It really exists to move the key characters into the places that they need to be for The Amber Spyglass It s not a bad novel by any means in fact, I think it s better paced than Northern Lights however, the perspective does jump around a lot between important parties It s not just Lyra s story any Will, Mary Malone, Lee Scoresby and Serafina Pekkala also are the focus of chapters and so the 3rd person narrative flits between them and the various worlds that they travel to The novel also ends on a very sudden cliffhanger, leaving it feeling incomplete as a whole.Yet where The Subtle Knife really grabbed me was its characters I cared about all of them deeply and never wanted any of them to come to any harm which is unfortunate, as Pullman has no trouble tearing out my heart and crushing it Although Will and Lyra often seem older than pre teens, they are still both really likeable protagonists and showed noticeable growth and maturity throughout the story The twists and turns in their destiny are also compelling, drawing the reader in and leaving you wondering how things can possibly turn out okay in The Amber Spyglass.All in all, this is not a perfect read but is a strong sequel to Northern Lights I really look forward to seeing how it all wraps up in the final book. Here then we have the second volume of His Dark Materials trilogy, where the action and adventure continue This opens with a new character, Will Parry, who lives very much in our own world, but with certain events happening, so he finds himself on the run and discovering a portal to a different world Whilst exploring this other world he comes across Lyra Belacqua, who now calls herself Lyra SIlvertongue, and thus both their destinies become entwined.Whereas the first book gave us only one world, so here we actually have three, as we carry on following the adventures of Lyra, and now Will as well Taking us back to Lyra s world, so we see what is happening there and how others have crossed over to seek Lyra, some to assist her, and others to try and bring about her downfall Inspired partly by Milton s epic poem Paradise Lost, so there are many other elements here, including influences from William Blake s poetry, and even Keats, along with religion, physics especially quantum physics , metaphysics and philosophy.As we see, what is the organised religion in Lyra s world do not want the young girl to succeed in her quest, but can she be stopped Will is also on a quest of his own, to find his father, but with a knife, called the subtle knife coming into his possession, so he finds that his destiny is far greater than he thought Making us ponder many things, this of course does raise the question of free will, and whether it really exists Also this takes in loyalty, duty, friendship and respect, things that we should all know about.With a number of thrills and spills this is a great read for young and old alike, obviously with us mature readers taking in all the nuances that this tale has As with the first novel this does have a lot to offer any reader, and will make you think about many things, including your own place in the world Also, this has a great ending, which leaves things up in the air for the third volume. I had already read the first book in the trilogy so naturally bought this one too Both are brilliant, beautifully written with a captivating story I couldn t put the first book down and this is no different Every sentence leaves you needing to read the next without a pause I m having to limit my reading, savouring it to make it last longer, like a delicious chocolate cake Sadly I will soon be at the end with nothing else to do but buy his next book Pullman s ability to blend reality with fantasy is astonishing and his imaginings are equally plausible, not beyond the realms of reality at all.
- Audio CD
- The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials)
- Philip Pullman
- 09 October 2019 Philip Pullman