Share for friends:

His Dark Materials (2003)

His Dark Materials (2003)

Book Info

4.23 of 5 Votes: 4
Your rating
0440238609 (ISBN13: 9780440238607)
laurel leaf

About book His Dark Materials (2003)

I didn't know about Philip Pullman and 'His Dark Materials' before the trailers for 'The Golden Compass' aired - and I'm a bit sad about that. I would have loved to have read this when I was a teenager!Anyways, on to the review:The Golden CompasThe storyline in The Golden Compas is so well-crafted, compelling and interdependent that it's hard to tell much of it without revealing too much but I'll try.Lyra, the main protagonist, is a little girl, living at Jordan College, Oxford. She's a tomboy who scramples around on roofs, gets into fights with other groups of children and that sort of things. One day she sneaks into a meeting she shouldn't have been in and saves her uncle from being poisoned. This sets off a chain of events involving gyptians, panserbjørne (big fighter bears), a beautiful lady with a golden monkey and a lot of kidnapped children.I really liked the way Pullman crafted a world like ours, slightly different but very believable. Every person has a dæmon, an animal that is their soul - or at least part of it. For children, the dæmons change all the time and can be all sorts of animals but when you become an adult, your dæmon becomes one animal and your animal is a reflection of who you are. I loved this - I want a dæmon now! (Although my dog is probably as close to a dæmon as any animal could be!)One of the thing that Pullman has had to take a lot of heat over is his critique of the Church. In the book, the Bible is quoted, but it's not our Bible, it's a slightly different version of it and he does critizise the Church for allowing everything if they think it can further their interests, even if it hurts people - which is also true of the real Church ... (maybe not so much in our time, but definitely in earlier times)The ending of the book really blew me away - it really showed that you didn't know who was who and it showed a big gray area between good and evil. Who are in the right here and who are doing wrong? It's impossible to know... A very good read: 5 stars.The Subtle KnifeThis is a typical "volume two of a trilogy" book - it's very much a in-between book. We follow Will, a young boy who protects his mother from dangers only she can see and whose father is missing. Will goes into hiding to keep his mother safe and accidentally stumbles upon another world, a world of mostly children. In this world, he meets Lyra.Will's world is our world - a world that exists parallel with Lyra's world and an unknown number of other worlds. Will and Lyra find out that they must help each other to find Will's father - and to keep Lyra's compass safe. Lyra learns that the Dust she is trying to understand and learn about, is what we in our world call dark matter - and it is conscious...Will and Lyra hide out in the world of mostly children and they learn that something called Specters are eating the souls of the grown-ups. But when Will gets a special knife, things change...The discussion of body and soul gets even stronger in this second book. In the first, because it took place in Lyra's world, the focus was on the dæmon being the soul but in this book, because we are in different worlds, there are different ways for body and soul to interact - dæmon to human, dæmon being inside the human (our world) and then the world with the children, where the Specters suck the souls out of grownups. In all cases, something happens when children reach puberty - probably something having to do with original sin and therefore with the critique of religion.This book dives even deeper into a religious discussion - it becomes something of a faith v. knowledge, religion v. science debate. I'm very interested to see this play out in the final book and to see if Pullman can pull off the epic battle, he must end this series with.Just like the first book, this got better towards the end. It wasn't as good as the first one, partly because it was an in-betweener and partly because it didn't take place in Lyra's world which gave the first book a lot of it's charm. So this one 'only' gets 4 stars from me.The Amber Spyglass.Having just finished this third part of His Dark Materials, I must say it's one of my favourite book series. I loved all three books and I find them amazingly well crafted - and I do indeed feel a bit sad to have to leave Lyra, Will, Pan and all the people (and dæmons) they know and love behind.This is the novel to end it and where we find out how the amber spyglass, the golden compass, the subtle knife are connected to each other - and to Dust. But to understand it all, we once more must survive a lot of hardship and in this book more than in any other book when Lyra and Will have to travel into the realm of the dead. But to do so, they must leave behind their souls, their dæmons...And this make them even more open for harm and danger.Lyra's father, determined to face off against the Authority - or at least the angel who have taken his place - find the way to his goal a bit different than he had expected and both he and Lyra's mother must come to terms with what Lyra means - both to them and to the world.In the end, it all comes down to what Lyra and Will decides - and if they will survive reaching puberty...As well as being a critique of religion, I also see this series as a critique of the way we treat the environment and each other. The bears leave the North because the ice is melting because of something humans have done - they have to swim a long way to find food and their homes are melting away. Sounds familiar?And we find out that Dust are linked to the way we act - conscious beings create dust "by thinking and feeling and reflecting, by gaining wisdom and passing it on."(900) So the wisdom we achieved as a race when Eve took a bite from the apple is what created original sin - and Dust because humans then came of age and started noticing each other - but the lesson is that Dust is not sinful or wrong, it's beautiful and a symbol of striving to be the best that we can.But besides being about religion, the environment, parent-child relationships, how humans are both body soul and ghosts and other rather deep themes, it's a beautiful and engaging fantasy series with well-crafted characters and a very exciting story that will keep you reading on and on to get to the end and find out how it all works out. I only have one tiny problem with a situation where Lyra is saved and I at least didn't get how the people who saved her, knew that she was in danger ... but besides that, I found the plot so well executed that it was a true pleasure to read - and I will be looking forward to reading it again.I loved this series - and I think there's enough depth in it for it to be read over and over. This most certainly is and will remain a classic.

First let me make one thing clear before I review this book. I work in a library. I am totally against the banning of books. Censorship, as a colleagues button says, does not protect innocence, it only promotes ignorance. But I also do think that we should be careful with the books out there. There are some books that are not meant for kids of certain ages, simply because they are not yet ready to handle the content. This is true about the Golden Compass series. It may have animals on the cover and the main character may be young but this is not a children's series!!! It has a lot of mature topics and it's audience is for late teens not young children.I should also add that it is not the content that leads me to plan to boycott the movie, if they do make the second book into a movie; The Subtle Knife. It is the reasons why the author wrote the book; to insult Christianity. I do not respect a man who takes pride in writing a book to insult people, who is actually rather pleased with himself for it. That is why I intend to boycott the second movie. I do not respect him for it and I will not support him for it by watching the movie.As for the books themselves. I actually did not like them. The first book was very annoying. The main character is very young and everything you read comes from her point of view and I found it very annoying. A lot of information about what is going on is delayed towards the end, that could have been found out sooner but was not because no one wanted to tell the main character, Lyra. It was actually very annoying. For those who want to know, there is actually very little bad mouthing of religion in the first book, it is almost as if the author wants to get you hooked.The second book just totally lost me. From the start it was just plain awful. It was just too ridiculously far fetched. How many people have a quarrel against a religion decide to up and go kill God? "Oh, I don't like Christianity, I am going to try and kill the Triune God!" Riiiiiiiiiight. Or maybe, "I hate Islam. Let's go kill Allah" That chapter, the conversation, just lost me. It was just so silly, so out of the blue wacked out insane. From that moment onwards it just went downhill. Gay angels?!?!?! Angels? In love?! And in such a sappy and cliche way I was wincing and feeling pained sympathy for all homosexuals. It was the worst romance EVER. "Ohhhhhhh Baruch. My beloved" It was melodramatic, cliche, sappy and just plain gag me with something and put me out of my misery, I cannot take any more of this. No kind of romance could have been done worse. It was a relief when they finally died! It just kept getting worse and worse. And it just getting worse and worse. From the romance between Lyra and that boy, who's name I cannot remember, to the killing of God to Enoch, to the horrible, sappy, cliche, awful ending. And did I mention the crazy priests? And the weird wheeled creatures and just . . . . no. And the fact that reading books 2 and 3 you can clearly see this guy has a grudge against Christianity. He isn't writing this to write a story, he is, even if he did not himself say it, writing it to strike one against Christianity. The entire story revolves around this. He didn't write it to be creative or anything, he just wrote it to insult Christians and it makes the story all the worse for it.Bad does not even begin to describe these three books. Horrible. Terrible. Insult to the written word. Wonderful fodder for my if the world goes "Day After Tomorrow" burn for heat!

Do You like book His Dark Materials (2003)?

Remember how, when the film version of "The Golden Compass" came out, evangelicals told their followers not to see it because the book is about a battle against God, and that God is defeated in the end?They were right. And it's really sort of childish. In the bad way. And I'm about as far to the left of the right wing religious nut cases as you can get. I'm all for a critique of how religion has hobbled civilization. I firmly believe that the church (pick your religion, not just the Christian church, but the mosque as well) has been responsible for atrocities that would never have happened without its existence and for a finite amount of good that could easily have been accomplished without its existence.But "His Dark Materials" is not that critique. It's just nastiness in the guise of fantasy--and poorly accomplished fantasy, at that.The first book is quite enjoyable, the parallel history fascinating, the world well-imagined, the climax compelling, the characters engaging and well-iimagined. The concept of all humans having a "daemon," an animal familiar that's a physical projection of aspects of their personality, which can talk with them and accomplish certain tasks, is quite brilliant. It's that concept that dominates the plot of the "Northern Lights" (called "The Golden Compass" in the U.S.), and the book is a good read.Then Pullman starts to expand his fantasy world, with "The Subtle Knife," and each addition tends to water it down and make the cosmology both more complicated and more incoherent. Bringing in the world we know seems smart, at first, but then he decides there has to be an infinite number of worlds, and each is imagined with considerably less aplomb than the last, until they become as two-dimensional as "Star Wars" planets.At the same time, the cosmology becomes both more twisted and more blatantly diadactic, even childishly vindictive, pretty much as rabidly anti-religion and anti-church as the right wingnuts would have you believe. It finally seems conceived not with wit and clarity of vision, just with bitterness and anger. The third book is long and winding (and long-winded) and poorly structured, and Pullman just keeps inventing more creatures and more worlds and more cosmological twists and more, more, more that results in a clatter of silliness as the series finally reaches its silly and unsatisfying climax.If ever there was a popular fantasy series with a "making it up as he went along" feel to it, it's this one (moreso even than the "Star Wars" movie series and the "Twilight" books). If I were to rate the "Dark Materials" books separately, I'd give "Northern Lights" four stars out of five, "Knife" two or three and "Spyglass" zero or one, but taken as a whole, the awfulness of the third book poisons the intelligence and good storytelling that has come before and the whole series comes crashing down.

i am actually assuming that i will be Left Behind, so my concern is more for others. i hate seeing families and friends split apart! when it does occur, i would like to be someplace like a church where there will be lots of people Raptured... that way, right afterwards, i'll be able to pick up all the wallets and purses that are also Left Behind. you don't need money in heaven, right? and with all the honest folk gone, i also feel confident that post-Rapture will be ripe for money-making opportunities. no more guilt! i can indulge in all the hustles, scams, and grifts i've ever wanted, to my heart's content - but without feeling any sadness over cheating any of the Good People. yay, bring on those post-Rapture greenbacks! I'M GONNA BE RICH, BITCH!
—mark monday

Never has a book/series had such an impact on me as His Dark Materials, specifically The Amber Spyglass. It still stands as the only book that has ever made me cry. I was a wreck after finishing it, to the point where I literally could not sleep because I couldn’t believe it was over. Not only was the ending beautifully heartbreaking, but I had to accept the fact that these characters' journeys had come to an end, the series was over, and it was time for me to move on in my life. I just couldn't accept that, because I had become so unbelievably attached to these characters over the span of the trilogy. And because of that, this is the best reading experience I've ever had in my life.I'll admit it, I read this series because of the movie release of The Golden Compass, and, of course, the appeal of how "controversial" it is. The film was incredibly disappointing (they stopped two-thirds of the way through the book, for God's sake) and wanted to see if the books helped clarify some of the plot holes in the movie. What I found was an incredibly absorbing and inventive world that the filmmakers only skimmed the top of. The alternate universe Philip Pullman has created is much darker than the movie (especially as you move into The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass).I know everyone's heard of how controversial this series is. Most prominently in The Amber Spyglass, Pullman subtly (and in other places, not so subtly) deals great blows to the Christian faith, or religion in general. He reacts to the Church's view of the afterlife, free will vs. obedience, the portrayal of God, and even gay rights. But he does this so unabashedly that it's hard not to appreciate (or in my case, adore) his declarations on religion. Through it all, though, this is simply a story about growing up. It is truly a masterpiece, and deserves to be more widely read. This is one set of books I will never part with for as long as I live.

download or read online

Read Online

Write Review

(Review will shown on site after approval)

Other books by author Philip Pullman

Other books in series his dark materials

Other books in category Young Adult Fiction