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His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass)
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Product Description

FOR THE FIRST time, the hardcover editions of Philip Pullman's awardwinning His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) with the original, classic covers by Eric Rohmann, will be available in a boxed set.

In an epic trilogy, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to a world parallel to our own, but with a mysterious slant all its own. D?mons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first. Here, the three paperback titles in Pullman's heroic fantasy series are united in one dazzling boxed set. Join Lyra, Pantalaimon, Will, and the rest as they embark on the most breathtaking, heartbreaking adventures of their lives. The fate of the universe is in their hands. The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass pit good against evil in a way no reader will ever forget. (Ages 13 and older) --Emilie Coulter

Customer Reviews:

  • His Dark Materials

    I picked up these books out of morbid fascination after seeing the movie and hearing a coworker talk about the book. I borrowed the first one from her and found my self intrigued so I bought the series and waited anxiously for the post man to deliver it. I found that I love these books! They are together a great work of fiction. They carried me to worlds I had never imagined through perils I would never have known. The characters are engraved in my heart. Each cut and bump and soul wrenching tear made me love them all the more. I wanted so badly for true love to win and triumph over evil and In the end I could barley see through my tears and with no truly happy ending in sight I love these books all the more. ...more info
  • A far cry from Harry Potter. Children's book? Hah!
    Of course, I have never read Harry Potter. So basing my comparison with the first 3 movies of HP, I would say that this goes beyond the Harry Potter genre. Almost everybody reads Harry Potter. But His Dark Materials is not for everyone. To label this as a children's book is a grieve mistake for I am sure the little ones will miss the central message of the author. But as for adventure, it is non-stop and most people from all ages will absolutely enjoy it.

    After watching the movie, "The Golden Compass" my sister bought the set. The movie had instilled an interest in me. The bear fight scene "Bears! Who is your King?" cheesed me out, which made me realize how OLD I am. So thinking that the book is targeted towards children, it took me a while to pick this up and finally after 4 months, I continued on with Lyra's adventure. But when I did, my whole week is automatically committed. For five days, my sister saw me flipping book after book after book.

    THE GOLDEN COMPASS: I decided that I would start from the beginning. It is a general agreement that the book is always better than the movie, no? Except this time, I think the movie handled some of the scenes in the book much better. The movie moved and switched some of the scenes around but it still worked. Book fans bashed the movie because it left a big chunk of the book's ending. I wouldn't worry about it though because if they included the real ending, then it'll be much more of an excruciating cliff hanger. I don't think I could wait 3 more years to see next sequel. Still, several scenes has been skipped - important scenes and that's why in retrospect, the book is still better. But to put the movie in a better light, when I imagine the daemons and dust and those flying machines, I could refer back to the movie. Nicole Kidman is the perfect Mrs. Coultier! So in essence, the movie gives us a small peek of what goes on inside Philip Pullman's head.

    THE AMBER SPYGLASS: Since I've watched the movie, the first book was not as exciting as the second one. The Amber Spyglass made me stay up the whole night. Lyra's new friend and another main character, Will, started off as an annoying character but proved to be as courageous, as smart, as likeable (if not more likeable) as Lyra. Looking back, this book was so jam-packed and I felt like I flew through the pages so quickly.

    THE SUBTLE KNIFE: Finally, I think the series' tandem faltered a tiny bit in this last installment of Pullman's epic adventure. After building up so much intrigue and mystery, I was disappointed at the sloppy ending. He easily convinced me of the existence of the imaginary worlds he created but the most human and normal twist in the story fell out flat and forced. For twelve year olds, okay...sure, it's possible...but why can't I believe it? Well, I'm not spoiling anything.

    Albeit the weak ending, this series will definitely one of those books I'll keep recommending throughout my lifetime....more info
  • Do not miss this wonderful adventure!
    I initially learned of this series after hearing it compared to the Harry Potter books. I adored Harry's adventures with his friends and wanted more of the same British magic. After reading both I realized that Phillip Pullman's work can in no way be compared to J.K. Rowling. Both authors are spectacular in their storytelling, but are so different in their styles and objectives for their works that comparing and contrasting them would do neither justice.

    Philllip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy is a complex work of courage, love and betrayal, and conveys to the readers a wide diapason of human emotions and personalities. My initial impression of The Golden Compass (book 1 in the series) was that it was an anti-religious book and the propaganda behind it almost turned me off the entire series. I have to admit that I was utterly wrong in making such a conclusion so soon and am glad that I made myself suspend my skepticism and read to the end. True believers in a cause, be it eternal salvation or something entirely different, are sometimes blind to reason since they see nothing but the burning beacon of their faith directing their paths of righteousness. Their deeds might appear wicked in the eyes of the atheists among us, but are they truly so? Can you compare the actions of Father Gomez in his mission to kill Lyra and spare Will, who is in his eyes an innocent, to a common murderer? Does his unwavering belief absolve him of sin or condemn him even more? What about Ms. Coulter, who did unspeakable things in her life until she finally found the bliss that is maternal love? Does her final sacrifice make all the other deeds accidental?

    There are so many questions of human nature that this series raises and manages to avoid giving free answers that don't encourage thought and reflection. It shows that not everything in life is black and white and there are as many shades of gray as there are misconceptions, deceptions and misunderstandings within human character. And with all that, the purity of spirit and love shine through in both Will and Lyra as they undertake the most perilous tasks and continuously find themselves battling for the greater good that children should never have to do. Then again, may be it can only take the innocence and ingenuity of a child to accomplish what they managed without loosing themselves in the process.

    I will not spoil the ending of the series, but will say that it was as powerfully and beautifully written as the rest of the tale. All three books were fast paced and captivated my interest completely. I would personally not recommend this trilogy to children and in my opinion they were quite a bit darker then the Harry Potter books. On the other hand, the original Brothers Grimm stories are a lot more gruesome and I've read them as a child myself. Whatever you do, don't miss this phenomenal read.
    ...more info
  • Don't waste your time!
    What a waste. I agree that these books were well written but don't fool yourself - the subtle anti-God message gets stronger as the books progress! Again, I say, don't be fooled! If you let your kids read this junk you will be setting them up for spiritual failure...the more you find evil appealing, the more you accept it as normal. Don't do this to your kids or yourself! Stay away - run from evil!!!...more info
  • War in Heaven: His Dark Materials
    Phillip Pullman's magnificent trilogy started with The Golden Compass and continued with The Subtle Knife before reaching its conclusion with The Amber Spyglass, and there is much to be said for his achievement. He has told a story of sweeping grandeur that succeeds on a number of levels, with believable and affecting characters, amazing incidents of great beauty and terror, and layers of meaning which make you think as well as feel.

    It all starts with Lyra, the heroine - an urchin in an Oxford University which exists in a parallel universe, where all humans carry with them an external "daemon" or animal spirit which corresponds to the soul of man. Lyra's daemon, Pantaleimon or Pan, has not stabilized his form, (which takes place after puberty) and takes the shape of a number of different animals, from mouse to moth to leopard.

    This parallel Oxford appears mired in a Victorian-like era marked by a very powerful and reactionary Church. There are five known planets in the sky, the wealthy travel by Zeppelin, and though the glare of "anbaric" light is common, so also is the warm glow of naphtha lamps. Their physicists (called "experimental theologians") have discovered a class of elementary particles called Rusakov Particles or "Dust" which have an affinity for human life, and may in fact be alive themselves. This Dust is attracted to adults, not children, and the Church is disturbed by this, equating Dust with original sin.

    We are quickly swept into an adventure with Lyra, whose absentee parents prove to be the mysterious Lord Asriel and the beautiful, ambitious and amoral Mrs. Coulter. It is Lord Asriel who has set his sights no lower than to topple The Authority himself, the corrupt ancient of days, oldest of divine beings who lives in a fortress in the clouds and cynically claims to be the creator of all. In this effort he has the assistance of angels, divine beings from the fall so long ago. Lord Asriel is opposed in this by his former lover, who has gained considerable power in the Magisterium by heading the General Oblation Board, the fearsome child-stealing "Gobblers," who have been spiriting kidnapped children away to the far north.

    Action in The Golden Compass moves north, toward the frozen lands of the aurora, because that is where Dust is most detectable, and where the towers and buildings of another world are visible in the sky beyond the northern lights. When we finally arrive at the terrifying research facility called Bolvangar, where the Gobblers do their Dust-related experiments on children, we have come to a very powerful additional level of narrative, for though this place is run by seemingly familiar, genteel Victorian Englishpeople, it reminds one of the laboratories of Dr. Mengele, a frightening parallel for parents reading the book.

    When Lyra walks into that other world at the end of The Golden Compass, she has already had an incredible adventure, with her friends the Gyptians, Iorek Byrnison and the armored bears, the proud and beautiful witches and the rumor of angels. She has learned to read the Alethiometer or truth teller, the golden compass of the title, which has sent her to the ultimate north. And she has betrayed her best friend unknowingly, and been betrayed herself.

    In The Subtle Knife we meet Will Parry, whose arctic explorer father has been missing since before he was born. Now 12 years old, Will has grown up fast, protecting his ailing mother from her inner demons, and from the mysterious men who have come (from where? Lyra's world?) looking for John Parry's papers. Will accidentally kills one of these men, and from then on he is on the run with no looking back.

    Will escapes through a portal into another world, the same world that Lyra has walked to. They meet in Cittagazze by the sea, a city deserted by adults fearful of the vampiric Specters who drift almost invisibly on the air and suck the life from these people. Will takes Lyra back to his Oxford, where she meets a physicist named Mary Malone who is studying Dark Matter, and has reason to believe that it is intelligent. But Lyra and Will are hunted and wanted for questioning in our Oxford, and Lyra has her Alethiometer stolen by an aristocrat from her world, who sets for them a task if they want it back.

    It seems that several hundred years before, a guild of scientist/philosophers in the crossroads world of Cittagazze had forged a knife sharp enough to split atoms - or cut doorways into other worlds. The bearers of the knife became adept at stealing from these other worlds, but tragically the doors they opened allowed the Specters to come in, bringing horror and sorrow. This is the task Lyra's aristocrat sets for the children (for he cannot enter Cittagazze because of the Specters): if they bring him the subtle knife, he will trade it for Lyra's golden compass.

    Will and Lyra enter the haunted Torre degli Angeli and Will fights for the knife, becoming maimed as a result, with a wound that stubbornly refuses to heal (shades of Parsifal). As the new Bearer he is instructed in its use, and becomes as adept with the knife as Lyra is with her truth teller.

    With the help of witches who have followed them to this world, they escape a mob of evil children, and the witches try to heal Will's wound without success. The witch queen Ruta Skadi follows a flight of angels to the distant world where Lord Asriel prepares his armies to fight the Authority, and returns to tell about it. And Dr. Malone has an instant message discussion with her shadow particles, which identify themselves as angels, and send her (protected from Specters) to follow the children into the world of C'gazze. The book ends in confusion and alarum -- a cliffhanger readers had to wait several years to resolve.

    Before we get to The Amber Spyglass, a few comments. These books were inspired by Paradise Lost, and are full of allusions to the Hebrew Bible. The Authority, who Asriel is rebelling against, was the One who called himself Yahweh and claimed to be the Creator, when he was really just another angel. In other words, in the world(s) of His Dark Materials, the God of the Bible is a liar and a fraud, and His Church (read: all organized religions) is a Blakeian thief of innocence and inhibitor of joy throughout the ages. This helps explain Pullman's well-known antipathy to C.S. Lewis' (delightful) Narnia books, which Pullman detests for glorifying an afterlife (in The Last Battle) at the expense of the living world. I acknowledge this without further comment, except to say that The Last Battle is probably most readers' least favorite Narnia book.

    There are also many allusions to the story of Adam and Eve, particularly in reference to Dust as Original Sin, which send the Church into paroxysms of agitation. We come to see as the story unfolds that Lyra is tremendously important, with a destiny that affects all the worlds. How could this be otherwise, with Lord Asriel for a father (who can bend time itself to serve his rebellion) and the exquisite Mrs.Coulter for a mother, she of the most indomitable spirit and force of will anyone has ever seen, whom even the Specters obey? Of course, Will himself is an embodiment of this spirit - even the witches are afraid to look him in the eye. If Lyra and Will are to become Adam and Eve, with Dr. Malone playing the part of the serpent, well, this is just another layer to the story.

    I believe The Amber Spyglass will be long remembered for its bravura centerpiece: Lyra and Will's frightening, depressing and ultimately inspiring journey down into the land of the dead, but that's not the only arrow in Pullman's quiver. This big book is full of wonders, including angels, tiny aristocratic Gallivespian spies, Harpies, the wheel-riding Mulefa, and War in Heaven. Nor is it short on human emotion.

    I feel a strong reluctance to give away any details of The Amber Spyglass. It begins by resolving the cliffhanger of The Subtle Knife: we know where Lyra is, and crosscut to all the parties trying to reach her. And we are privy to her feverish dreams of the land of the dead, where her friend Roger languishes on a vast darkling plain of ghosts.

    Readers of Dante and Homer will not be disappointed - the land of the dead that Pullman has created is very real and frightening. It is all part of the age-old deception of the Authority: that believers will go to Heaven when they die, because instead all who die in all the worlds go down into the land of the dead. We feel uneasy when Lyra and Will and the lilliputian Gallivespians cut through to a world in search of food for their journey and find a stable full of dead horses covered with millions of buzzing flies, the corpse of a farmer with his throat slashed, and soldiers with guns coming up the road.

    They cut again, but with difficulty, into an identical world where the farmer stands wide-eyed in his kitchen, clutching at his throat, knowing he is dead. "I can't stay here," he says, and indeed the road is now filled with people from the town, dead people, walking towards the land of the dead. I shouldn't say more.

    These books are among the best young/adult books I have read, and I hope you will enjoy them.

    ...more info
    Had the author not stupidly used the term DEMON for the people's animals, he would not have lost the massive audience his books otherwise might have gotten him. I myself refused to see the movie because of this satanic crud, and I will not let my children see it or read the books. The worst mistake a fantasy author can make is to insult millions of people by using terms from real-world faiths. ...more info
  • A backwards view of life
    I finished the trilogy recently and found it quite thought provoking but not necessarily in a complimentary way. I found it quite intriguing that every good aspect of human behavior was attributed to those that fought against religion and every bad aspect of human behavior was ascribed to those that supported the church. In particular, the church is portrayed as domineering, narrow minded, dictatorial, supportive of ignorance and violently supportive of itself. He uses the Roman Catholic Church as the victim of his attacks but they could easily stand for all organized religion. However, in Mr. Pullman's defense, he does start the trilogy with the statement that the church has fallen, the papacy is gone and the church is being run by a number of committees, boards and other governing bodies. They are interested in maintaining their power and influence more than teaching righteousness and love for our neighbors. Thus, from the beginning, Mr. Pullman has life turned upside down with the good people of the earth fighting against the tyranny of the religious organizations.
    If that was what I saw in religion as a whole, I might be willing to join his rebellion but the fact of the matter is that religion is not all bad like he makes it out to be. My faith embrasses every good gift and virtuous trait that he escribes to the rebels. Thus, the trilogy's heroes utilize godly attributes and the trilogy's villains embody satanic attributes which is what every good story should do, but it unfortunately places those rolls on the social groups that they would not normally be ascribed to. From a fantasy point of view, this is okay because we can enter the trilogy with the notion that society is upside down and antireligious rebellion is justified.

    I could compose a much more lengthy comparison of the trilogy to my own beliefs but this is not the place for that. Suffice it to say that Dust is nothing more than spirit matter that emanates from the presence of God and permeates all space, it is in and through all things. The daemons represent our conscience or that part of us that helps us to know the difference between good and evil. The alethiometer would be similar to the Liahona and represents revelation from God.

    Of course Mr. Pullman has it all wrong when he attempts to talk about Adam, the Ancient of Days, and Enoch. They were not egomaniacs but were humble followers of God. God encourages education and knowledge. No man can be saved in ignorance. The glory of God is intelligence. The Gospel encompasses all truth whereever it is found. We are to learn wisdom out of the best books, learn by study, by faith and by prayer. He who gains more knowledge and wisdom in this life shall have so much the advantage in the life to come.
    If there is a fault in the churches of today, it is not God's fault, but the error of the people that claim to administer that Gospel. Don't blame God for man's faults. That is what Mr. Pullman does, and that is his first fatal flaw of logic....more info
  • censored
    Although the local Catholic church tried to censor this trilogy,I highly recommend it for all ages....more info
  • His dark materials trilogy Phillip Pullman
    Excellent trilogy. Once you start reading it you will not want to put them down....more info
  • Phenomenal Fantasy for the Whole Family
    A friend recommended these to me when I told her I had been trying to keep up with younger reader materials (Lord of the Rings, Eragon, Twilight, Harry Potter, Narnia, etc). She could not have done me a bigger favor. While the other series listed are very entertaining and I am so happy to see a revival of reading, I did not find many of them to be as well written or engaging as this series. The His Dark Material trilogy is a fascinating fantasy that has a quick moving, quirky plot that keeps younger readers turning the pages, but it also provides a good bit of mental stimulation for older readers. Combining entertainment, moral dilemmas, building empathy and philosophical dynamics, this book has opened up so many discussions across the ages. It is such a great way to bring the family together for reading and discussion. My only caution is gauge what subject matter is appropriate for younger readers because some parts can get a little scary. Pullman is not too shy with death, separation or his suspenseful imagination....more info
  • Great series for the open-minded
    For years I've had my own ideas about how the universe works and was fascinated to find some of my ideas reflected in these books. The worlds and characters were engaging and fascinating -- You have witches and armored polar bears and a Texan who rides in a balloon, people who see their souls in the form of animals... It sound outlandish, but they come together beautifully. I managed to read all three books in just three days because I couldn't put them down. As other reviews have said, this is not children's literature -- young adult at the earliest. To understand much of the series you need to have some reference points in Christian theology -- specifically the concept of original sin -- and in the spotted history of the organized church.

    If you are familiar with the many worlds theory, the premise of the books is easy to understand. There is a strong anti-church/organized religion theme throughout the books so people with strong religious beliefs --including the belief that reading ideas that don't correspond with the bible are 'satanic' or 'evil' -- will not appreciate this series. The moral of the series, however, is profound. You won't regret reading these books....more info
  • Great series for the open-minded
    For years I've had my own ideas about how the universe works and was fascinated to find some of my ideas reflected in these books. The worlds and characters were engaging and fascinating -- You have witches and armored polar bears and a Texan who rides in a balloon, people who see their souls in the form of animals... It sound outlandish, but they come together beautifully. I managed to read all three books in just three days because I couldn't put them down. As other reviews have said, this is not children's literature -- young adult at the earliest. To understand much of the series you need to have some reference points in Christian theology -- specifically the concept of original sin -- and in the spotted history of the organized church.

    If you are familiar with the many worlds theory, the premise of the books is easy to understand. There is a strong anti-church/organized religion theme throughout the books so people with strong religious beliefs --including the belief that reading ideas that don't correspond with the bible are 'satanic' or 'evil' -- will not appreciate this series. The moral of the series, however, is profound. You won't regret reading these books....more info
  • Dark Materials is actually full of light
    I did not think it possible to make an interesting story involving religion, String Theory, Kids saving adults, and war, but Philip Pullman has. Do not worry about the String Theory part, as he never mentions it directly and there is no math involved. However, his ability to create an imaginary, yet believable world rivals J.K Rowling's "Harry Potter" series....more info
  • Forget Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and especially The Chronicles of Narnia
    I wasn't going to post a review of `His Dark Materials' (HDM) because there are so many already. This was my second reading of HDM and I liked even more the second time. But after reading some of the positive and negative reviews I felt as if I could add something to the discussion on three issues and add some comments of my own on Pullman's apparent themes. Two of these issues are, in my opinion, trivial and the third might be, but it is interesting nonetheless.

    If you look on Amazon or blogs or other book review sites you will see both positive and negative comparisons of HDM to `Lord of the Rings' (LOR). This is one of the trivial issues: HDM has no relationship whatsoever to LOR other than both are long books broken into three parts and are the basis for some pretty good movies.

    The second of these trivial issues are the positive and negative comparisons to the `Harry Potter' series (HP). The HP series are mostly for and about children and are about magic as in `Hocus Pocus' magic. HDM is about children but I would hesitate to say that Pullman wrote it for children. Pullman in interviews has said that he dislikes the label of `children's literature' as it implies `not for adults.' The themes in HDM are very adult, but I suspect that an intelligent young adult would respond to them and the adventure aspects of HDM would appeal to most younger readers as well. More over HDM is not about magic at all; it is science fiction (a genre Pullman also dislikes) in the best sense. The so-called `magic' is merely what someone might call the physics of alternate Universes.

    The last issue, and it may or may not be trivial, is the objection to HDM by Christians. There is no doubt that Pullman intended HDM to be a counterbalance to C.S. Lewis's slobbering exaltation of Christianity (and the superiority of male Anglo-Saxons) in `The Chronicles of Narnia' (CON) and in general a condemnation of some of the practices the Catholic Church. However most of the criticism you see about HDM seems to come from the politically conservative Christian right that interprets any and all criticism of religion as profanation of Christianity in general. I would add that there are also positive reviews of HDM solely on the basis of being anti-religion as well.

    I do find it interesting that some of the negative reviews of HDM by Christians are really very long and well written. It makes me wonder why someone would say that HDM was a not a good book when it obviously stimulated them to write several pages on it. I suppose that it upset them and they don't like to be upset by what they read. That is strange as it is one of the points Pullman makes in HDM. In passing he mentions that the church has imprisoned a scientist for coming up with what seems to be a valid description of multiple dimensions in String Theory. These negative reviews seem to follow a general trend on the Internet of a group of Christians who spend a lot of time sniffing out heterodoxy and attempting to stifle it.

    My last observation is why I think HDM is exception SciFi and why you should read it and get your kids to read it as well. What Pullman has done is to take the implications of String Theory, Chaos Theory, the theories about Dark Matter and Dark Energy in modern theoretical physics and asks the question of what a world would look like if these theories were true. What if there are other Universes and what would happen if we could travel between them? This is really, really interesting and I think Pullman has done an exceptional job here. The fact that he uses the influence of religion as one vehicle may or may not have been a major issue here, but it does not detract in any way from the fascinating SciFi aspects of this book.

    You can read this in three parts as it was published, but like LOR it is best considered as a whole work. HDM is available in a number of editions and I read, this time, the omnibus of all three volumes. If you don't know anything about modern physics it will not detract from the enjoyment of the book as just SciFi or fantasy.
    ...more info
  • censored
    Although the local Catholic church tried to censor this trilogy,I highly recommend it for all ages....more info
  • Good books!
    If you Keep with the first book, you discover a great set of books. Also, this set is very durable, more so than other paperbacks!...more info
  • Good story..
    Despite all the controversy, I enjoyed these books. The story was very imaginative and well written. I wouldn't recommend it for the easily offended or very religious for obvious reasons (***spoiler alert***) because the whole point of the last book seems to be the premise that God is dead or not really what He claims to be.. but religious themes have always been good material for writers. And there seems to be an emphasis in this series on thinking for one's self and not accepting everything you're told at face value, which is something I think we all would do well to think about in this day and age.

    Altogether a very good series!...more info
  • Good lure, strange logic
    If you're only interested in the 'story' aspect of fiction, go for it. Be aware that the premise beneath, is Material Atheism. His style is not as fluid as Rowling, but it's a good story. The logic that only those things we can prove to exist, actually exist, though... Well if that's the case, the world really was flat before Galileo. For those who believe in the big bang, and believe it's proven by science... well, all the necessary elements for the creation of a sand castle are present in hurricanes. Funny, I've never gone to the beach and found that in the winds of nature a castle was set into place, not even after Hurricane Andrew. If you sit on the beach and throw sand in the air, how long do you think it will take to form a perfectly working castle? Hmm... might take you more than time to prove that theory. Guess Material Atheists aren't that scientific after all.
    The following is from an interview of Pullman. "Those who are committed materialists (as I claim to be myself) have to account for the existence of consciousness, or else, like the behaviourists such as Watson and Skinner, deny that it exists at all."(Phillip Pullman, in an interview. [...]By the way, shouldn't a writer correct their spelling before putting something into print? "behaviourists" was his own misspelling; I copied and pasted this quote. I'm not a perfect speller, but I watch for red dots or squiggles beneath my words; even "gmail" warns of errors now....more info
  • Over 1000 pages and couldn't put it down
    I had watched the Blu-ray version of The Golden Compass and liked it a lot. That prompted me to buy the original books, especially since the second and third books were not going to be made into movies. I certainly wasn't disappointed! As I said in the title, I had a hard time putting it down even though the three novels in this omnibus edition were over 1000 pages long....more info
  • Unbelievable
    It is a great story that keeps you wondering: "what else could happen?" It is both a good fantasy and an interesting hard-core critic to the fanaticism that is sometimes part of many religions. The mixture between both fantasy (or rather, fantastic elements) with science makes it a great story....more info
  • A kid's review
    These books were actually very good. For people who say that they're anti-christian they are incorrect. If you pay attention then you notice that the "Church" in the book has very little to do with relgion they just use it as an excuse. And you only see the "Anti-relgious stuff if you're looking for it. Everyone that I've talked to who didn't know that people were saying that it was anit-christian didn't realize that.I'm a christian but I love these books. They have excellent writing and it sin't the typical farmer/slave/appritece finds out that he is going to save the world story. And it is nice to have a strong girl as a main character instead of the sidekick. And for people who get upset about the daemons well the daemons are basically who you really are good or bad. Overall they were good books...more info
  • Good children's fantasy series written for adults
    I would not expect to see this fantasy series on a recommended reading list put out by the Catholic Church. He is clearly not a fan of heroically/autocratic religious organizations.

    The book chronicles the actions and adventures of a young girl and her friends against a corrupted, power hungry "church". The characters are well developed and seem "alive" in every sense, including the non-human ones. The book holds together well. There is a lot of action, good dialog, suspense, etc., everything that makes for a good read.

    I would have given the series a 5 star rating, but I was not satisfied with the ending, although some may disagree.

    All humans in Phillip Pullman' universe have a "daemon" spiritually attached to them, that is a reflection of that humans soul. The daemon can take many shapes when the human is young, but as the human matures into an adult, the daemon takes its permanent form.
    ...more info
  • A new look at the world
    I thought just as a read it was great fun, mostly the first one, I didn't love the second two nearly as much as the golden compass. But they were still a fun read. But as an older reader I love the ideas of man, heaven, and god. When people say that this book is trying to insult religion and/or christianity don't take their word for it. I do not beileve that is what Pullman was trying to do, he wanted to make you think, and give us a new idea of what life and heaven might be, or mean to us. And he never quite says which side is right or wrong. I strongly suggest these books to anyone who likes to think or just a fun and interesting read!...more info
  • Loved it!
    The story is imaginative and brilliant. The author combines a child's deepest feeling about friendship and closeness into an adventure tale. Absolutely magical and a great read for children and adults with imaginations. Don't miss these tales. They will become classics. ...more info
  • Loved it.
    This is such a great series. One of those where you can't turn the pages fast enough. I understand some people were up about the religious undertones. Well that's hardly the point. It's just a solid series. Not sure what the age bracket is for this series, but small children might be frightened....more info
  • Disturbing
    I purchased this box set after seeing the movie and out of curiousity (to see what the Christian Coalition was up in arms about). Books 1 and 2 were fine but when I got to the 3rd I could not finish it. I am a Protestant and perhaps this will turn some folks off from reading this review - perhaps it won't for others. Pullman is an admitted atheist and has advised he wrote these books to be an antithesis to C.S. Lewis' works - Chronicles of Narnia. Pullman has criticized Lewis' works (and everyone has a right to do so of any work, don't get me wrong).

    I was actually offended by the fact that Pullman is using children in the story to further his atheistic agenda. There is brutality against the children by the so-called church in his story, making the church out to be a bunch of crazy, evil people... These children are abused psychologically and killed by these very same people. The main character's father and mother are insane as well - not something I see as virtuous at all. Aside from that, Pullman takes the topic of God further by suggesting He is a deceitful and lying entity(I won't spoil it with a more detailed explaination for you if you so choose to read this literature).


    [...] Very disappointed in this series....more info
  • A fine feast for fantasy lovers
    His Dark Materials, By Philip Pullman is a rich network of complex, exciting story lines.
    It was also enjoyable because the characters were three dimensional and realistic.

    The book is a little darker than some of your average fantasy books. It's dramatic descriptions of violence set it apart from many other similar novels. There are some frighteningly vivid descriptions of terrifying mechanical killing machines, like the silver guillotine that cuts people away from their demons and kills them by the shock of it.

    Pullman also uses a non-Christian description of the after world. Instead of a heaven or a hell there is a world of the dead where every one sits in a never-ending world of oblivion or limbo where monstrous harpies whisper to you everything you have ever done wrong up in the world of the living.

    I found it to be one of the most enjoyable and exciting books I have ever read. The author holds a very precise and fine fantasy paintbrush. His pallet is full of amazing, dazzling colors that he puts to good use in these books. His characters are very real and unpredictable.

    The book has an original story line filled with suspense that will make you wish that the book never ended. I enjoyed every single minute of it. I suggest this book to anybody that liked The Belgariad, the Hobbit, the Spider Wick Chronicles, The Inheritance Trilogy, or Harry Potter.
    ...more info
  • Great books in one place
    The best part of this book is that it is actually all of Pullman's Dark Materials in one book. It is definitely cheaper than buying all the books separately.

    Adapted as a screenplay in late 2007, The Golden Compass follows Lyra through her world of Oxford and beyond as she goes on a mission to rescue her friend Roger and the other children of the country (what would be England) suddenly start disappearing by the Gobbers. Along the way, she meets and collects a collage of supporters, from families of gypsies, an armored polar bear, and an aeronaut. Their mission is to save the children and find out what is really happening to them. The book, expectedly, explains more than what the movie actually shows, including reasoning for certain events and actions, as well as scenes that never made it to the movie.

    The Subtle Knife starts in England, with Will finding an entrance to another world. In that new world, he encounters Lyra, and a knife that can cut through anything, including air space to make new openings to new worlds.

    The Amber Spyglass deals with the upcoming war between two sides over science and religion. It also describes the conflicts that Lyra must face, including fulfilling the prophecy and saving the universe and all the parallel worlds, including Lyra's and Will's.

    Personally, I didn't like the ending of the Amber Spyglass, but the books are a must read if you have lots of time to spare. Settle down for a long weekend. If you wait too long between readings, you can easily forget what happened when you last read. The suspense will keep you going until the last pages. ...more info
  • The Death of Dogma and the Birth of Joy
    I just finished re-reading Phillip Pullman's astonishing trilogy for the third time. No, I'm not an eager 11-year-old desperate for a Potter substitute. I'm a thirty-two year old English teacher happily immersed in the modern day renaissance that is children's fantasy. Of course, like any renaissance, there are the founding fathers, such as C.S. Lewis. There are the, at times, appallingly bad writers like Stephenie Meyer and there are the highly capable, thrilling storytellers like Madeleine L'engle, Lois Lowry, and J.K. Rowling.

    And then there is Phillip Pullman outstripping them all with his spiritually complex, daringly original trilogy, "His Dark Materials."

    The great thing about Pullman's series is that it works on two levels. Adult readers (and even academics) will note his ingenious use of literary allusions, scientific theories, history, and various myths and religious beliefs to bring to life not just multiple worlds, but multiple universes. Young readers will appreciate his carefully crafted, highly suspenseful plot, his exciting descriptions of exotic worlds, and his heroic, compelling characters, all of whom must suffer and make difficult choices in a time of great upheaval.

    I dare not give any plot details away--the twists and turns are too clever to ruin--but I do want to say a word about Pullman's contribution in terms of fantasy literature for young girls. This series is certainly one that boys will enjoy, chalk full as it is with giant armored bears, action-packed battle sequences, texas ballooners, gyspies, and a young boy, Will, who becomes the second protagonist when he shows up in book two and learns to wield a knife that cuts through the very fabric of the universe.

    However, unlike, say, "The Chronicles of Narnia," which demonizes female power, or "The Lord of the Rings," which pushes women to the side, or even "Harry Potter," which, let's face it, is mostly about a young boy's quest, "His Dark Materials" centers on Lyra, a feisty, smooth-talking, brave, highly independent, young, intelligent female protagonist. She absolutely explodes gender expectations and her adventurous, hilariously gutsy spirit leaves you realizing just how few strong female characters we have in fantasy children's (or young adult's) literature. Pullman reverses expectations again with his sympathetic depiction of female witches and with his complex portrayal of Mrs. Coulter, who is neither entirely good nor entirely evil.


    Come with an open mind and you will not be disappointed. ...more info
  • Good Read, NOT Children's Literature
    A marvelous, captivating read. Pullman is an artful storyteller, and this series is more than sufficient evidence. The plot is epic, enthralling, and will keep you glued to your seat for hours. And its themes are though provoking and challenging.

    That said, I cannot recommend this series for everyone. Some will find its take on the secular-religious struggle unsettling or outrageous (read any one-star review from your neighborhood conservative Christian). And I do find the subtle thematic progression to be a distasteful choice: the fantastic plot in the first book lures young readers not yet able to analyze the the series' themes in terms of symbols, metaphor, or abstaction as they become more overt later on in the series.

    While it has been called the antithesis to C.S. Lewis' Narnia series (which, by the way, also ought not be read by children until they reach an age where they're ready to interpret the symbolism and hold a few abstract discussions on religion), Pullman comes off not so much as atheist as humanist, condemning organized religion not spiritually, but on a utilitarian scale that weighs heavily against its potential for corruption, social ill, and ability to inflict guilt disproportionate to the fault, and lightly on its potential to work moral good.

    If you can handle a mature discussion of the aforementioned topics, I highly recommend this series, and might even suggest a comparative reading of Pullman against Lewis. Worth a read for the narrative alone if you don't find the themes distasteful, and definitely a strong pick to read for discussion....more info
  • Finally!!!
    Finally a fantasy book written in an intelligent manner that has elements of fantasy and incorporates a strong belief in science and logic. Christians are the most narrow minded, cruel and ignorant people on the planet and it is fantastic to see them portrayed as such. Amazing plot, characters and story. I was absorbed totally throughout the entire series and hardly noticed the fact that this is a YA book. Unlike Harry Potter and the Twilight series, these books can be read and enjoyed by adults with reasonable intelligence. An excellent book that I am reading to my nephew as soon as he can grasp the concepts! ...more info
  • Wonderful!
    I somehow skipped over these books in my adolescence (though I read and enjoyed another series of Pullman books) and I'm SO GLAD that I've finally gotten around to reading them because they are truly amazing. Not only full of adventure and intrigue and many well-sketched characters, but also full of deeper meanings and issues that I might not have picked up on as a child. All three are wonderfully rich and suspenseful and as soon as I finished the first I knew I had to read on through the end. If you haven't read them I would highly recommend it and if you haven't read them since your childhood I would suggest reading through them again. Truly thought-provoking and wonderful....more info