His Dark Materials Trilogy (Philip Pullman)

Northern Lights

Children’s Fiction, 8/10 – Dec/Jan 07/08

I love reading children’s books, you know you’re in for an adventure. I watched the movie at the cinema the same day that I finished the book – I can understand why they sweetened the ending because it’s horrible in the book. I find doing the comparisons interesting, for example for me, Iorek Byrnison was a much stronger character in the book but Lee Scoresby was a stronger character in the film.

My Thoughts:

  • I found the companionship of the daemons a lovely idea.
  • It was brilliantly eerie in the Arctic experimentation centre.
  • Excitingly dark ending

The Subtle Knife

Children’s Fiction, 7/10 – Jan 2008

The magical world that was created now gets rationalised a little with science (dark matter) and, as expected from the beginning, our own world is linked with the world from the first book with a new character, Will Parry.

My Thoughts:

  • I thought the soul-eating Spectres were a bit weak (certainly not as chilling as the Dementors from Harry Potter).
  • It turns out the golden compass is programmable on a computer and it’s possible to write a speech-to-dust-to-text plugin in one evening. P! Technology these days is so advanced.
  • There’s a funny section of sexual innuendo between Mrs Coulter and Sir Charles.
  • There’s a gruesome fight with the kids on the stone tower. Kid’s fighting other kids to the death is disturbing.
  • The ending is completely disappointing. It’s a cliff-hanger like an episode of Eastenders – not a fully rounded story!

The Amber Spyglass

Children’s Fiction, 6/10 – Jan 2008

For me, the Trilogy has weakened and is not so hard to put down anymore. The land of the dead and the Harpies didn’t work too well in my opinion but I guess “Live life to the full” is a nice message to give kids.

My Thoughts:

  • I liked the concept of the Mulefa even though it’s really hard to imagine an animal on wheels. They are good green role-models for the kids.
  • I liked the gruesome part where Iorek Byrnison feasted on his friend, Lee Scoresby’s dead body.
  • Childhood love is hard to pull off. “Their just teenagers, what do they know about love?”
  • The ending is sad. It’s also an anti-climax because Lyra should be treated as a queen now? and won’t Will just go to prison?

All in all, a wonderful trilogy, something I’ll be reading my kids along with Narnia and Harry Potter.

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