Title: His Dark Materials (Nothern Lights, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass)
Author: Philip Pullman
Three Word Description; Magical, Complex, Heartbreaking
Right, what the hell is up with Pullman’s endings?
I was literally like this yesterday when I finished the book (series).
Anyway, this book series was really good. I never read it as a kid (like every book series people grew up with…) but, just like with American Gods, once I heard they’d make a TV-series out of it, I had to read it.
(But, be prepared for some unpopular opinions in this review, especially since I’m reading this without the nostalgia feeling a lot of people have.)
So the first book, Nothern Lights, follows Lyra on her quest to save her best friend and her father. I could definitely see why people love the book, as it has this great ‘adventure feel’ in it, and I’m so mad I didn’t read it when I was younger. The second book, however, felt much different, especially since a new main character arrives and the beginning of a completely new adventure. Unfortunately, with both the second and the third book, I had to drag myself through it quite a lot. It just didn’t grip me and lacked in suspense.
But the world(s) building was amazing, and it was really enjoyable to read and imagine them. An ice-bear kingdom? Sign me up. But also the supporting characters were very memorable and great. When kids are being abducted and the government turns their back on it, the oppressed gyptians are the only ones to act despite their few resources. Good but badass witches, a villainous church and, of course, Mrs. Coulter, probably the most memorable villain of them all. Will, the new main character introduced in book two, was a really good contrast to Lyra’s character and I felt very protective of him haha…
However, I actually found myself a bit annoyed with the main character, Lyra. First because of her immaturity, but she was like 11/12/13 through the books or something, so of course she would be. If she had been, she’d probably wouldn’t be realistic. But the thing that bothered me was that there was a great lack of character development? Like in the second, it was as if some things that happened in the first was completely ignored? Like what her “male-relative” had done was almost completely ignored despite that she should have been really traumatized by that (like me)?? Especially with the answer from her Alethiometer she got about Will. Plus he never has to answer for it ever? Also completely forgetting someone who had been like a true mother to her in the first book, just for the sake of “redeeming” one who had “tried” to be a mother for Lyra despite all her wickedness. I just felt overall that Lyra could have so much more potential in her character development. It pisses me of when author ignores plot events for the sake of… what, exactly?
So there’s a certain character I hate very much, despite everyone seeming to love him? It’s the male-relative, you’ll know who it is if you’ve read the books. I could never see him as anything but a jerkass and villain, but he never had to answer for what he did?? Also his little romance with Mrs. Coulter is not “goals” you guys.
But I have to give Pullman an applaud for the complex world he created, with so many good messages and unique powers and everything. About the struggle of a power-hungry church, good witches, gay angels and including probably the most exciting thing in science (in my opinion), dark matter. I was actually quite shocked to be honest when the story started developing to a much grander conflict, and I loved that.
The endings of all the books had me like the gif on the top. It’s clear Pullman likes to shock his reader, and now I don’t know what to do. There’s supposed to be a new series coming out this fall (like everything I’m excited about) so I will definitely give it a shot. But I warn you, you won’t ever be ready or okay about any of the endings. Not okay. But I did like a lot of things in the conclusion, especially what the prophecies turned out to be. It was very clever of Pullman.
SO overall I think the book series was good, but it lacked in character development and could drag on at certain points in the books. But the world-building was clever and unique and he did manage to get me very emotional (which I like about a book). I’d recommend it, but I think I actually would have enjoyed it more if I had been a bit younger.