His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman

Fantasy book.. I thought I’d try another one just to see what this one is like. I have never fancy fantasy, the story usually gone beyond my head wooosh and I won’t be able to follow. In the past, I stop touching fantasy books, be it The Hobbit or LOTR. Narnia wasn’t bad in the movie though, so maybe I will leave fantasy for the big screen only.

But I managed to get my hands on His Dark Materials trilogy. The three parts are The Golden Compass (or sometime it is called The Northern Light), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. pyko has been recommending it for a while and as my usual copycat movement for anything that pyko does, I started reading it.

His Dark Materials doesn’t seem to be a children book to me. Just like how Harry Potter doesn’t really go too well for very young children in book 3 onwards (after Dementors start to show themselves), His Dark Materials have complicated background stories about institutions, especially churches around the worlds (ours and other parallel worlds). It peels into detail how each of the boards feed each other in order to survive, including doing inconceivable things and hiding it at the same time. As I was reading it, it was obvious to me that Phillip Pullman is not very religious. I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t read it, so I will keep it simple and sticking to my general feeling about each book only:

  • The Golden Compass: GREAT book, I’d say the trilogy will be better if it ends here. The adventure is on and hot, I couldn’t stop reading it until the very last page of the book. The creation of the ‘other’ world is very detail, full with enchanting, rich fantasy and interesting concepts of soul: according to the book, every human has a daemon. In some other worlds, the daemons are solid and visible. They can talk, be touched, get hurt, etc. In ours, they aren’t but nonetheless it is still there and when you die, your daemon vanished. I fully recommend anyone who hasn’t read it to do so, even if you don’t favour fantasy like me.
  • The Subtle Knife: I wouldn’t call it a book 🙁 To me, this one is simply a bridge between the first and the third book. It’s like ‘Oh we know what’ll be the content of two books, everything that are not very interesting, we’ll just chuck it in the middle’. The second one kills of the excitement brought up by the Golden Compass. Even until the end, the excitement level didn’t go as far (in fact, FAR from it) as the first one. I didn’t even realise that it was the ending when I read the end! Thankfully I got the trilogy series, so I was able to start the third one right after my confusion of this book ending. I won’t go through why it is not interesting since I don’t want to spoil the whole story.
  • The Amber Spyglass: hell lot better than the previous, but still no comparison to the Golden Compass. What is missing from this one is the causality of the situation. All the story that leads up to this point, seems to be caused by an event happened 300 yrs ago. But what is it? I totally scratched my head when I finished the book (if you know what event caused the whole situation to arise, please tell me if I missed it, I am still hoping that that is the case). Either way, I know it is fantasy so maybe it is my incorrect view to seek for explanation of the background reason.

 

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Nicole Kidman in The Golden Compass

If you want to read more about it, there is a good review on it but beware of spoilers. The movie is coming up for the first part of the book (The Golden Compass). Go and watch it in the movie as it will be very GOOD! (Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter ((picture from http://www.randomhouse.com/images/dyn/cover/?source=9780375847226&height=300&maxwidth=170)) ) 😀

every atom of you and every atom of me ~ Lyra Silvertongue

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