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

In the epic trilogy His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to worlds parallel to our 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. The three books in Pullman's heroic fantasy series, published as mass-market paperbacks with new covers, are united here in one boxed set that includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. Join Lyra, Pantalaimon, Will, and the rest as they embark on the most breathtaking, heartbreaking adventure of their lives. The fate of the universe is in their hands. (Ages 13 and older)

Now, for the first time, the HIS DARK MATERIALS Trilogy is available in a trade paperback edition. All three books in the His Dark Materials trilogy-- THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE SUBTLE KNIFE, and THE AMBER SPYGLASS--are available in a new complete boxed set featuring the trade paperbacks. New material is available in all three books: The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife feature black-and-white chapter-opening art by Philip Pullman himself; The Amber Spyglass features chapter-opening quotes from the likes of Milton, Donne, Blake, Byron and the Bible, which did not appear in hardcover.

Customer Reviews:

  • 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
  • Some of the best literature I've read!!!
    I bought this book set in hopes that it was literature that could keep my imagination rolling, and it did more than that. Mark Pullman put together a work of art with this trilogy. ...more info
  • Don't be turned off by the first book.
    I heard that this series was better than Harry Potter, so of course I had to read them. For me, the first book, The Golden Compass, was quite ordinary. I did not engage emotionally with Lyra - somehow, Pullman's writing did not connect. It was an okay fantasy, and I almost didn't care about reading more. Later, I picked up the second book, the Subtle Knife, and became a little more engaged, at least enough to decide to finish the series. Wow, I am glad I did. The third book, The Amber Spyglass, is full of intriguing ideas. The characters go from static to dynamic, and you finally, finally, get emotionally involved with them. The clear-cut good-and-evil that is so easy to follow in Harry Potter is absent from Pullman's stories, which might be why some people like them better. Pullman has his characters say that people are not good or evil, only their actions are good (if they help someone) or evil (if they hurt someone). So for older kids, this is an important idea to introduce. I would not read this to young kids; it would be confusing and scary....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
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
    The book arived sooner then was quoted and in very good condition.
    I'm enjoying the book. Fast moving with very intersting charactors....more info
  • His Dark Materials Trilogy
    His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) (His Dark Materials)I bought this as a new set and received exactly what was advertised. I've only read the first book as of yet, but must say the book was WAY BETTER than the movie. Can't wait to read the remaining two. [...]...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
  • 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 fantastic Trilogy
    I first was introduced to this trilogy by a friend that had the audiobooks. It was a fantastic story that kept me on the edge of my seat. The characters are full of life and the story is jam packed full of excitement. If you want a story that will take you to other worlds and draw you into them, check this one out!...more info
  • Outside the Box!!
    The story is brilliant whether one is Christian or not. Enjoy it for it's entertainment value. Friendship, loyalty, and self sacrifice for the greater good of humanity. That a young girl could have such a profound understanding of her own purpose, a greater responsibility than any being other than God Himself. Some people found the books more difficult to read as they progressed, but I feel the story became more rich as you read. A little difficult for a child to read, but a worthy title for even the pickiest reader's bookcase. ...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
  • Book one, "The Golden Compass". A book for young and old alike!
    I have only had time to read the first novel, "The Golden Compass". This is a great start to a fantasy trilogy. Great fun for young readers and adult readers as well. I can hardly wait to get through the next two books and see where Pullman goes with this epic story. A must read for fantasy enthusiasts!...more info
  • Intriguing and suspenseful
    I bought the trilogy looking for an opportunity for my imagination to take wing. Philip Pullman does a great job of bringing this adult back to her childhood and the ready fantasy I found there when learning how to interpret and understand a complex world. I loved the drama, passion, and loyalty of the heroine. It's an exceptional read. . ....more info
  • amazinggggg!!!!
    i bought this amazing trilogy and i can totally say that this series is one of my favorites..ever... its too great to resist...4 thumbs up :P :)!!!!

    get it...more info
  • Imaginative fantasy
    This is one of the most original fantasies I have read in a long time. I found it a good read. The first book is by far the best of the three. However, I think parents should read them first before deciding to give them to their children. These are very dark stories. The first book alone includes murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, torture, and betrayal. It is hard to know who is the good guy, and who is the villain. It is also openly anti-church (not that I had a problem with that, but some people might).
    It is interesting that Pullman, an atheist, has written a trilogy that is actually profoundly spiritual. The positive themes (yes, there are some) include friendship, loyalty, honor, cleaning up messes ( both the ones you have made and those of others ), keeping your word, and generally trying to do the right thing. Pullman presents a different concept of "soul" than has previously been explored.
    All in all this is a thought-provoking work, and worth the read, but I would say NOT suitable for younger children....more info
  • As you'd expect
    Bought as a gift for a friend it arrived on time, packaged well and in greatcondition. As described. Not a bad word to say. ...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
  • Mesmerizing!
    I've always loved the classic fantasy works of Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, LeGuin and most recently, J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. However, my absolute favorite is His Dark Materials. Not only is it a bold interpretation of Paradise Lost, another one of my favorite reads, but it's full of completely new ideas, characters, and theories; not to mention it's coming from a completely different philosophical perspective. The idea of parallel universes was enough for me to get hooked. The Golden Compass is probably the slowest reads of the series, but it serves the purpose as being an introduction. Once you read the the Subtle Knife, you will be completely mesmerized; not to mention this series has one of the greatest and most heartbreaking endings ever in the Amber Spyglass. Pullman is a master story-teller and I will never get over the fact that he chose to use a young girl as the main hero - and is able to write her perspective brilliantly....more info
  • Great Talent Gone To Waste
    As a Protestant Christian, I decided to read these books because I wanted to have an educated opinion of them and all the controversy surrounding them. The result was that I came away with an odd mixture of opinions.

    First of all, for all parents out there (especially Christian ones) these are NOT books for young children to read. They contain scenes of graphic violence, they encourage lying and rebellion. They glorify preadolescent, and extramarital sex, even if it is in a very subtle way. For those who care, they are the most anti-Christian, anti-faith story books I have ever read. Philip Pullman is an atheist/agnostic and makes it abundantly clear in his trilogy.

    Secondly and from a purely literary point of view, Pullman is a very gifted writer. He knows how to weave a fascinating story. He makes one care about his characters and the fate of his worlds. The correlation to "Paradise Lost" is brilliant. Sadly, he has thrown away his potential to write about truly great things by choosing to ruminate on his own hatred of "organized religion' i.e. Christianity. It is very pointedly Christianity he writes against and not just any organized religion. He makes no comparisons at all in the books to Islamic jihads or other religions which have spawned blood baths. I also find it interesting that he makes no allegorical allusions to any kind of non-Christian political party which uses its power to oppress people. The communist party is responsible for millions of deaths and its leaders are comprised almost solely of atheists. Would have been interesting if he had mentioned them.

    He uses his books to drive home his own agenda and believe me he DOES have an agenda. As opposed to the relatively harmless Harry Potter books, it is impossible to read these stories and deny any ulterior motives. Pullman himself has stated that his intention in writing these books was to influence children toward atheism. This is a direct quote from "The Amber Spyglass": "The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all." How in the world do people argue that these books are not anti-Christian?

    A third conclusion I drew from these books is that Pullman has a terrible, terrible understanding of Christianity itself. I mean he really does not get it. (I suppose this is true of all atheists) His experience with the Christian faith is only that of the politics, rules and corruption of the Catholic Church. He has no grasp whatsoever of true faith in the God of the Bible. He knows the Bible but he does not understand it. He views sin as "natural pleasures" and depicts resistance to it as "repression". He also seems to suffer from the delusion that Christianity discourages any kind of sexual pleasure. This is a gross misconception. God strongly encourages it as long as it is within the bonds of marriage. (Read "The Song of Solomon".)

    I was both disgusted and amused at Pullman's depiction of "God" as a feeble and geriatric being. I assume that this character is a fantasized version of what he thinks God is really like. The last book especially is overflowing with the relief he would evidently feel if the world were to discover that God was simply a fraud. Poor man. If his "God" were truly the one running the world it would be in a much worse state than it actually is. I suspect that, contrary to Pullman's claims that he is an atheist or agnostic (he can't seem to make up his mind which) he is in reality a misotheist (one who hates God). If he were simply indifferent to God and to Christianity, then I don't see the reason for him to basically write a three-book rant against the two, ending with "God" being killed. There's definitely some kind of negative feeling going on there.

    The end result is a confusing and morally ambiguous world view. I don't envy him it. His books are populated by broken families and separated loved ones. His explanation about death is basically lifted from the hindu religion. I could not figure out what his heroin's great "choice" was supposed to have done for the universe. There is a definite flavor of nihilism and anarchy by the end of the third book. He tries to reconcile it all with a neat little moral admonition, which I suppose is his version of the meaning of life; basically to be good and learn a lot and work for grace, but it falls flat. (Incidentally both of these concepts are directly contradictory to Christianity; we are told that we cannot work for grace, it is freely given and that "All our righteousness (being good) is like filthy rags." Isaiah 64 4-9)

    The whole time I was reading HDM, a verse from the Bible kept popping into my mind: "For the message of the Cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved it is the power of God." I Corinthians 1:18) Poor Philip Pullman is a shining example of the first part of that verse.
    In ending, I would actually encourage people (older people) to read these books. They are a fascinating insight into an atheist's faith system, not to mention ripping good stories. (If you can stomach all the polemic.) When you're done with these, I challenge you to go read the Bible cover-to-cover and compare it against Pullman's personal gospel. I know which one I'm sticking with.

    I would only rate "His Dark Materials" with one star except that I have to tack on an extra one simply as a nod to Pullman's writing talent. [...]

    [...]...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
  • 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
  • Great series
    His Dark Materials is a really good series of books. I've never been much for fantasy, nor have I read a lot of children's books. Harry Potter looks boring, so I've stayed away. My draw to these books started with a an e-mail forward last Christmas, one of those alarmist e-mails trying to convince me to boycott the movie due to its "atheist themes."...I wanted to see what all the controversy was about, what could rile up the e-mail mob.

    Pullman's story is fascinating. Yes, his story does challenge authoritarianism and dogma. He does so in a way that not only entertains, but provokes thoughts, forcing the reader to challenge his beliefs on human nature. The story isn't necessarily anti-God, as much as it deconstructs the mythology we've created around the worship of God. This theme isn't in any way heavy handed...the story is also one of two children growing up and developing their own worldview.

    Despite all the symbolism and controversy, these are 3 very good books that were fun to read....more info