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The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials
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Here is the highly anticipated second installment of Philip Pullman's epic fantasy trilogy, begun with the critically acclaimed The Golden Compass. Lyra and Will, her newfound friend, tumble separately into the strange tropical otherworld of Cittš€gazze, "the city of magpies," where adults are curiously absent and children run wild. Here their lives become inextricably entwined when Lyra's alethiometer gives her a simple command: find Will's father. Their search is plagued with obstacles--some familiar and some horribly new and unfathomable--but it eventually brings them closer to Will's father and to the Subtle Knife, a deadly, magical, ancient tool that cuts windows between worlds. Through it all, Will and Lyra find themselves hurtling toward the center of a fierce battle against a force so awesome that leagues of mortals, witches, beasts, and spirits from every world are uniting in fear and anger against it. This breathtaking sequel will leave readers eager for the third and final volume of His Dark Materials.

With The Golden Compass Philip Pullman garnered every accolade under the sun. Critics lobbed around such superlatives as "elegant," "awe-inspiring," "grand," and "glittering," and used "magnificent" with gay abandon. Each reader had a favorite chapter--or, more likely, several--from the opening tour de force to Lyra's close call at Bolvangar to the great armored-bear battle. And Pullman was no less profligate when it came to intellectual firepower or singular characters. The d?mons alone grant him a place in world literature. Could the second installment of his trilogy keep up this pitch, or had his heroine and her too, too sullied parents consumed him? And what of the belief system that pervaded his alternate universe, not to mention the mystery of Dust? More revelations and an equal number of wonders and new players were definitely in order.

The Subtle Knife offers everything we could have wished for, and more. For a start, there's a young hero--from our world--who is a match for Lyra Silvertongue and whose destiny is every bit as shattering. Like Lyra, Will Parry has spent his childhood playing games. Unlike hers, though, his have been deadly serious. This 12-year-old long ago learned the art of invisibility: if he could erase himself, no one would discover his mother's increasing instability and separate them.

As the novel opens, Will's enemies will do anything for information about his missing father, a soldier and Arctic explorer who has been very much airbrushed from the official picture. Now Will must get his mother into safe seclusion and make his way toward Oxford, which may hold the key to John Parry's disappearance. But en route and on the lam from both the police and his family's tormentors, he comes upon a cat with more than a mouse on her mind: "She reached out a paw to pat something in the air in front of her, something quite invisible to Will." What seems to him a patch of everyday Oxford conceals far more: "The cat stepped forward and vanished." Will, too, scrambles through and into another oddly deserted landscape--one in which children rule and adults (and felines) are very much at risk. Here in this deathly silent city by the sea, he will soon have a dustup with a fierce, flinty little girl: "Her expression was a mixture of the very young--when she first tasted the cola--and a kind of deep, sad wariness." Soon Will and Lyra (and, of course, her d?mon, Pantalaimon) uneasily embark on a great adventure and head into greater tragedy.

As Pullman moves between his young warriors and the witch Serafina Pekkala, the magnetic, ever-manipulative Mrs. Coulter, and Lee Scoresby and his hare d?mon, Hester, there are clear signs of approaching war and earthly chaos. There are new faces as well. The author introduces Oxford dark-matter researcher Mary Malone; the Latvian witch queen Ruta Skadi, who "had trafficked with spirits, and it showed"; Stanislaus Grumman, a shaman in search of a weapon crucial to the cause of Lord Asriel, Lyra's father; and a serpentine old man whom Lyra and Pan can't quite place. Also on hand are the Specters, beings that make cliff-ghasts look like rank amateurs.

Throughout, Pullman is in absolute control of his several worlds, his plot and pace equal to his inspiration. Any number of astonishing scenes--small- and large-scale--will have readers on edge, and many are cause for tears. "You think things have to be possible," Will demands. "Things have to be true!" It is Philip Pullman's gift to turn what quotidian minds would term the impossible into a reality that is both heartbreaking and beautiful. --Kerry Fried

Customer Reviews:

  • The intriguing continuation of the Golden Compass
    I could not stop reading the Golden Compass; I read it at one sitting, fascinated by the plot twists and fantasy environment. Although it had a satisfying ending, the promise of a sequel was strong. I couldn't wait to read the next book. I advise having the entire series in hand before you begin the Golden Compass.

    Warning: this does not let the reader stop at the final page. You definitely need book 3 before you settle into book 2 or you won't sleep till you have it!

    Like the fantasy worlds of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, Philip Pullman creates a world both modern and antique, a alternative to our known history. It is an appropriate fantasy for younger readers, but the blurring lines between fact and fiction will appeal to older readers as well.

    Remember: THIS IS A FANTASY SERIES. Don't let some blinkered bigot intrude on your enjoyment of these great books. To say more would reveal one of many twists in a tale that will not unravel.

    Book 3: The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Book 3)

    His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) (His Dark Materials)
    ...more info
  • Just looooved it!
    There's something both tranquil and riveting about Philip Pullman's His Dark Maerials. They are great!
    In the second book 'The Subtle Knife' Lyra continues on her quest to learn the secret of Dust together with Will Parry a twelve year-old boy from our earth whose father has been missing since he was a baby. Will has had to take care of his mentally ill mother for most of his life to prevent her being taken from him which makes him a very believable leader even though he's so young.
    Will meets Lyra in a world where 'Specters' feed on the life-force of adults but not children and he takes her to his world where Dust is called Dark Matter and is studies by physicists.
    Will is the main focus of the book as Lyra learns she must help him find his missing father. In this second book Pullman begins to weave together the many hints and suggestions presented in book one and I can't wait to start on the Amber Spyglass to see how it all comes together.
    I do have one big question after reading the book. How can being a murderer be a good thing, a reassuring thing? Why does Lyra consider Will a worthy companion after she learns from the alethiometer that he's a murderer?

    ...more info
  • A worthy followup
    A very nice follow up. Will is a very interesting and sympathetic character and, as a mother, I wanted to embrace the poor soul and rock him for a while. However, I found the character of Lee Scorseby to be a cartoonish British person's idea about how someone from the Southern U.S. might act, a sort of Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel without the irony....more info
  • it isnt a childrens series damnit!
    to everyone complaining!
    who said this was a childrens series? really. many have assumed but no one has officially labled it so, and I see a lot of people giving it low marks just cause its not suitable for children.
    Alright I agree that the whole major bash on religion seems a bit personal to the writer, but hey, its his world he can make the church how he wants it.
    The writing is amazing and the characters are so in depth its almost breath taking. The story is above decent but Ive always been the type who reads mostly for characters anyway.
    ...more info
  • What an Outstanding Follow-up!
    Being my favorite book in the series, I have to say that it's absolutely amazing. Philip Pullman does a great job with putting a whole new character with his own past and personality into the sequel, and yet somehow connecting it with the original plot. What a clever guy! Besides, I really liked Will and his story, especially when he meets Lyra. The two go through so much together, exploring and traveling to other worlds with a new device, the SUBTLE KNIFE! Read how Lyra's and Will's relationship changes, and the adventures and obstacles they encounter while they go on a quest to find what they're looking for. You will love this book....more info
  • Not so subtle -- back to Milton
    Continuing the contrast between Harry Potter and PP's trilogy book two at least adds a friend in Will (who has a strong will) but still the development strikes me as decisively poorer than that in the HP books. There is no opportunity for the daily shared experiences of children growing up. In this book, all is unusual. Skipping from world to world is interesting and fits well into the plot but does not offer the kind of character development that gives us a sense of real characters. Virtually everything is unusual. Worse, there is the constant urge to go back to reading Milton to refresh the mind and see where this leads.
    But apart from the contrast with HP, this is not a critique, just a comparison between two very different but good books. It seems clear to me why HP has more popularity, but this is equally good fiction. The ambiguity in the moral narrative continues. For those looking for a clear moral narrative, I would suggest HP. For those looking for ambiguity His Dark Materials is excellent. Enjoy both. Why not?
    ...more info
  • Darker, Sadder, but Still Amazing
    The second book in the His Dark Materials series still has you clamoring for more, though the ending leaves the reader more anxious and weary, than the first book. The amount of religious symbolism intertwined with plot devices is heightened and some of the choices that Pullman makes from a writer's perspective works well. There were other choices that he has made, which leaves me to wonder if the plot is taking control of him, rather than the author controlling the plot.

    The beginning you meet Will, a boy from our world. His mother carries a secret about his father, who last saw Will when he was still a baby. This forces him to put his mother in hiding. Will's introduction sets the reader up for what's to come. I can tell you I raced through those pages as my interest was in Lyra's departure from her world-not some boy named Will. The two, however turn out to be connected together in a dizzying plot, that leaves the two characters wondering where their free will has gone. All of the events that transpire was a catalyst that drives Will to make certain decisions, which you may or may not agree with.

    You even pity the characters as they realize at one point their lives are controlled by destiny then by their own choices. This is especially true once the purpose of the subtle knife is uncovered. I won't tell you who it belongs to or what it does, but rest assure you will be shocked at its "side effects."

    Several characters make a reappearance such as Serafina Pekkala, Lee, Miss Coulter (who is as devilish as ever) and others. The amount of character deaths increase, so for the reader who becomes invested in the series- beware. I know I was particularly unnerved by the death of one character. I truly didn't belive that Pullman would kill that character off. I was dead wrong!

    Speaking of the characters, what I found to be interesting was that a lot of the decisions they made forces the reader to reevaluate who are the villains and heroes. The characters' personalities do not change (such as the vile Miss Coulter), but their ultimate goals begin to fall under shades of gray that has no clear answers.

    Like the Harry Potter series, the violence increases and becomes more graphic, but nothing that would traumatize an older child. Though, this wouldn't be the book to buy a 6-8 year old I assume. Unless, the child in question is an advanced reader.

    What really differentiates this novel from the first one is the lack of hope expressed in the book. Every plan is overturned, ruined, made a mockery of. Pullman tortures his characters pulling them towards their final acts or to the beginning of the climax, which would unfold in the next book. I suppose because of the traveling from Lyra's world to ours, some of the magic is lost, coupled with the sense of desperation that characters such as Lyra feel.

    The book is still a work of art, each word tantalizing the reader. The first book, The Golden Compass is still a masterpiece. However, The Subtle Knife is a close second.

    A definite 4.5 out of 5 stars....more info
  • Of Angels and Demons, and Witches, and Spirits, and Dimensions
    Maui H.S. The Philip Pullman Dark Materials Trilogy is equal and perhaps greater than the Harry Potter experience.
    Once I read the Golden Compass I truly wanted to read the trilogy. I was not disappointed. Lyra meeting Will and the adventures they have together seemed confusing and not making much sense. This is like the Harry Potter books. Sometimes it seemed like just a good story, like the Harry Potter books.
    The difference between the authors I believe is that Philip Pullman is better skilled in the art of the fantasy story than J.K. Rowling. This is not taking away from Rowling, it is complimenting Philip Pullman. His action and adventure are never ending throughout the Subtle Knife. The best thing about Pullman is you can't guess what is going to happen. You do not know. Where heroes live on forever and happy endings abound is not the story style of Pullman. Your heroes may soon be killed. The bad guys may triumph. But then the story twists and you simply are not certain just who is the hero and who is the villain.
    I love the connections of dimensions and worlds. I love the blending of religion and science rivalries as well as the similarities. The difference of people of the worlds in the different worlds is similar and different. The complication of the previous sentence indicates the complications of the plot. Yes, it is that good!
    I am so involved in this trilogy that when I ended the second book, I was proud of myself. I had the third book ready to go. I couldn't wait another day or week to start on the third book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass.

    ...more info
  • Solid Sequel
    This one picked up right away and was very interesting. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Mostly, I was thrilled and shocked with the end. It was exciting and surprisingly sad. I am very interested to keep reading. The religious stuff was a bit more involved in this one, and my only real complaint about the whole book was the over-use of the title within the prose....more info
  • the best book in the Trilogy.............and probably one of the best children's book i have ever read........
    as far as i can remember this book took me 2 to 3 days to finish...and tht was along time ago and thts a HUGE thing.........
    this book was even more gripping than the previous one with more Mysterious BEings and all the parallel worlds..........
    this kept me hooked till the very end.............
    PHILLIP PULLMAN has written probably the most IMAGINATIVE book ever which doesnot follow any OBVIOUS storyline...........
    its unpredictable and its ever so Un-understandable characters are worth to be discussed................more info
  • His Dark Materials, Book II: The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials)
    This was a natural progression of the story after the Golden Compass. This version was via CD, with an excellently acted cast.

    I was told about all three books in the Dark Materials Series prior to purchasing. I can say this series is now among my top books....more info
  • It's fiction people
    So many people complain that the 'His Dark Materials' series is anti-God and anti-religion. Well guess what? It's just a story. While some of Pullman's personal bias against organized religion is revealed through his work, it's not enough to utterly convince someone to abandon their faith.
    From a story standpoint, what Pullman does is incredible. What "antagonist" could possibly have more power and influence than The Authority (God) himself? While many are offended by it, all it provides is a chance to tell an amazing story that spreads through so many worlds simply because the scale of the story and conflict is so large.
    So if people just took the moment to see how the anti-God and anti-religion themes play into the story, they would realize how well told and well crafted it is. It's not meant to be taken literally.

    As for the book itself, it's great. While it can occasionally get a little wordy and overly descriptive, the story is incredible. The characters are likable, and even the "minor" characters we follow through the whole book will make an impact before the story closes.

    So please read this book with an open mind and you'll be delighted by an epic story of friendship and a seemingly hopeless conflict against the most powerful "foe" imaginable....more info
  • An enticing sequel
    Will is a secretive boy whose mother is mentally ill and whose father went missing on an arctic expedition shortly after his birth. What he thought was his mother's delusion of men out to get her turns frighteningly real, and Will is propelled into another world where he meets Lyra Silvertongue, whom we last saw leaving her own world in pursuit of her father, Lord Asriel, at the end of "The Golden Compass." The two become allies and travel through multiple worlds on a quest to find Will's father and to help Lord Asriel in his plot to overthrow The Authority (God).

    Uncertainty about the future and the adolescent's quest for answers to life's big questions are deftly woven into a very unique and thrilling fantasy in the second volume of Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials." Questions about God, the Church, and religion in general abound and Pullman's personal views become more and more clear. If you love God and His Church you will want to read this carefully before you decide to let your kids read it. The prose is beautiful, the tale is everything that makes a great epic, and I came to love the characters; even the bad ones. All of this, though appears to be a vehicle to teach a lesson. Much like "The Chronicles of Narnia" teach lessons about God and Christ, "His Dark Materials" teaches lessons about a mystical, yet atheistic world.

    All that said, this is a well-written book with a lot to offer in entertainment, as well as food for thought. However, I only recommend it to a discerning reader who knows what he/she believes. Parents be alert....more info
  • A Good Series, But Not Lord-of-the-Rings-Good
    Nope, I don't get it yet.

    After finishing The Golden Compass, I'd assumed that the brilliance I'd heard so much about lay ahead in the following books of the trilogy. Now, having finished The Subtle Knife, I can only hope that said brilliance is mostly in Book 3.

    Now, I don't want to overstate my case. So far, these are fine books, and fun. While I feel that The Subtle Knife isn't as good, overall, as The Golden Compass... it is still an enjoyable adventure, with decent characters. Book 1 had a much better climactic development, however, with the trek north and capture at Bolvangar -- Book 2 feels like it goes from episode to episode without much of a build towards anything in particular. Hunting down a knife isn't as compelling a tale, in my mind, as journeying to the arctic to free stolen children. This book also suffers from the absence of Iorek, who was the best character outside of Lyra.

    Book 2 intersperses Lyra and newcomer Will's adventures with the continuing adventures of Lee Scoresby, but he doesn't grab me as a great character, either, and Lord Asriel is nowhere to be found (and Mrs. Coulter isn't terribly central, either).

    Others have made much to-do about the daring of this series to challenge religion, etc. And, that's well and good... but (and maybe due to my own background), I don't find this series' "critique" of religion strong enough to carry it by itself. It's a fine background, but no better than if it had been in defense of that same religion, or anything else. Lyra doesn't (so far, at least) ever oppose the Church for any real reason except that they've hurt her friends; it's hardly a philosophical manifesto against authoritarianism.

    Look, I liked The Subtle Knife (and, more, The Golden Compass). I'm going to read The Amber Spyglass, and I'll report on what I find there. I'm hoping for something truly great. But, thus far, the comparisons this series has drawn to The Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series are unwarranted.

    So far, solidly three stars, and nothing to be ashamed of....more info
  • Good fantasy for older kids
    The Subtle Knife is Vol. 2 of a trilogy, following The Golden Compass and preceeding The Amber Spy Glass. It is an involving tale with many characters and a variety of locations, but it is not for the faint of heart. Torture, death, fear and suffering abound.

    Lyra and Will, both about 12 years old, seek to find and fulfill their role in the war against the "Authority". Thay have supporters in their struggles: armored bears, allied witches and angels, and an intrepid balloonist, among others, but they battle against a hoard of antagonists including adults, witches and angels who support the "Authority", soul-eating specters, and their own fears and insecurities.

    The book is well written and beautifully produced in the audio version. The voices are clearly differentiated, so there is no question about who is talking; the voices fit the characters; and they are the same voices throughout the 3 book series - no confusion there.

    If you like the dark side of fantasy, I recommend the entire series. If you try to jump in with this book, you will be sorely confused....more info
  • Good trilogy
    I'm anxious to read the third and final book in this series and find out what happens to the characters. The second book was just as good as the first, but I was disappointed that the main character Lyra didn't seem as strong as she did in the first book--and her strength is precisely what I loved about her in the first place. She follows rather than leads in this book, and I'm uncomfortable with how she beats herself up about mistakes she's made. The latter is common human behavior, but with so few strong female characters in children's literature, it would have been nice to see her struggle with these feelings and accept what she's done and move on. If her character did do this, I didn't pick up on it myself. Here's to hoping she regains her strength in the final book!...more info
  • Travel to other worlds and universes.
    There is a knife with two unusual sides, one so sharp that it can cut anything in its path. But the other side is something to think about. It can cut into other worlds and universes. Come and discover!
    Kyle A.
    Age 12 3/4...more info
    This is a great book. I love listening to these books as they are read by Philip Pullman, and others....more info
  • Entertaining read
    This is the second book of the His Dark Materials series. It's a nice little action read. I got the books on tape version for a long car trip and it made the trip much more enjoyable. ...more info
  • A treasure Pt. 1.
    It may help to have read the entire trilogy before attempting these CD's. The fact that the author and a cast perform on all 3 sets of CD's is fantatstic. The narrated story let my imagination soar. Perhaps, for me, driving is not the time to listen to these audio books. I get so carried away. The universe created by the author is compelling, darker than Tolkein, so fantastical yet so believeable, and very hard to shake.

    A treasure to keep alongside the book versions....more info
  • Fantastically creative, profoundly heretical, thought-provoking
    I read the second and third books of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy back to back, so I don't think I can really comment separately on The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. I realy enjoyed the first book, The Golden Compass, finding it very creative and an exciting adventure. Finishing the trilogy, I realize that I didn't know the half of his creativity. The adventure kept on moving, keeping me gripped to the end, but the ideas he explores are bold and provocative. What happens when we die? Do we have souls? Does God exist, and is He good? I'd heard that these books were considered heretical by some, by I didn't realize the extent of it. From the point of view of organized Christianity, these books are profoundly heretical, far more so than the Da Vinci Code or Angels and Demons, even more than Satanic Verses is heretical for Muslims. The organized church in his book is a corrupt puritanical and power-hungry organization, with names like the Magisterium, the Consistory Court, and the Oblation Board making it a thinly veiled analogy of the Catholic Church. (The fictional church is based in Geneva, so it has Swiss Guards. Just how thin can the veil be?) His account of God, angels, and creation is revealed in the second and third books, and it is shocking. But what is most heretical is that he describes a world in which good and evil exist and people can be moral without needing a creator or an afterlife. Heaven is where we build it. All of this theology (or is it anti-theology?) is not dry philosophical prose, but is integrally woven into a fascinating fantasy of parallel worlds, intriguing characters, and a great battle between good and evil (though it's not always clear who is on which side until the end). One of the parallel worlds encountered is a very creative imagining of an alternate evolution. This trilogy is written as a fantasy for a youth audience, but like the latter Harry Potter books, deals with some dark themes that require a bit of maturity to appreciate. Unlike Harry Potter, where each of those books ended in a safe place, each of these books before the last one ends with things looking rather bleak. (In Hollywood's version of The Golden Compass, they had to twist the order of events to end on a more upbeat note.) But in the end, they really make you think about goodness and truth and self-sacrifice, and the meaning of life. I thoroughly enjoyed these books, but they are not for the theologically faint of heart. ...more info
  • WHAT HAPPENED??????!!!!!!!!
    When I read the Golden Compass I loved it. The plot was interesting, Lyra was intriguing
    and so was the concept of daimons. I was very excited to read the Subtle Knife. I was sorely disappointed.
    First of all, Lyra lost all trace of her personality with the arrival of Will. Second, I know good books should
    have protagists of both genders but I thought Pan was enough. Will seemed just too boring to be interesting.
    Third, the anti God gist. I'm not Christian, and I have no qualms with books about fantasy magic. But after portraying Lord Arisel as the God killing hero was in very bad taste.
    Then the children wanting to kill children made me queasy. The blood thirstiness young children displayed towards Lyra and Will was appalling. The books shouldn't not get darker, Harry Potter as an example, but that was just wrong.
    In short, what could have been a wonderful series was forced to fall into despicability....more info
  • the subtle knife
    this is one of the best book series i have ever read... the story picks up where the golden compass leaves off and continues this amazing story....more info
  • The Subtle Knife, Audio-Phillip Pulman
    Pulman's are some of the best audio tapes out there. He has an entire cast of readers, and reads most of it himself. There are musical interludes between chapters, and they are incredibly easy to follow. I have taught gifted children with the Golden Compass, and have read the others with my own child. A hearty THUMBS UP! to Pulman's audio CDs. ...more info
  • A great sequal
    This book has already recieved an exorbent amount of reviews. It deserves no less. Although, this series has raised some controversy lately the basics is that this novel is well writen and unique. The worlds that Pullman has created are unlike any others. The characters are solid as well as the writing. If you have already started the trilogy then perhapse it is a given that you will finish it to it's conclusion. If you have yet to begin then now is a great time to do so....more info
  • The Subtle Knife is for all ages
    The Subtle Knife, by Phillip Pullman, is the sequel to bestseller The Golden Compass. It follows the story of Will, a young boy trying to find his father, and Lyra, a girl with a mysterious past who is destined to end an eternal war. Pullman adds his own flare to the book by incorporating atheism as an important plot element. The compelling adventure sequences, colorful dialogue, and highly developed characters partially camouflage his blunt dislike for a Divine authority. Until the last quarter of the book, it is nearly impossible to detect Pullman's hidden message: get rid of God. His outlook has caused quite a controversy with religious groups, although it has not seemed to stunt the book's popularity.
    For avid readers, The Subtle Knife is a fun, quick read, although occasionally difficult to plow through. Overall, it is a good fantasy, perfect for a fast summer read. It is not like most other fantasy books with its dark undertones. This makes it enjoyable for readers of all ages. One of the pleasing aspects of the book is that it requires you to remember and think about pieces of information from its prequel. For readers unfamiliar to the His Dark Materials series, it is nearly impossible to appreciate the content of The Subtle Knife without first reading The Golden Compass. Read the His Dark Materials series and embark on a compelling journey through the universe with Lyra.
    ...more info
  • Richly imagined
    The Subtle Knife, sequel to The Golden Compass, is the second book in Pullman's His Dark Materials series.

    In this book, we follow Lyra as she hops between worlds. In her travels she (and we) learn that Lord Asriel is planning to mount an army that can succeed where previous attempts have failed - to overthrow the ultimate Authority (i.e. God). He is moving between worlds to assemble the most intimidating army possible in accomplishing his task.

    Needless to say, these are definitely weighty matters for young adult fiction. I can see now why there was so much controversy regarding organized religion and this series.

    During Lyra's journeys, she meets Will Parry, and young boy with his own role to play in these large events. Will becomes the chosen bearer of the subtle knife, which is the only known tool that can open doorways between worlds. (So now, Lyra is the bearer of the golden compass, and Will is the bearer of the subtle knife.) We know that their destinies are entertwined, but we are not completely sure how.

    By the end of book 2, the reader is still not certain which "side" Pullman is espousing - the side of the "Authority," which man seems to have perverted into an increasingly dictator-like theocracy; or the side of Lord Asriel, the contemporary rebel whose actions are shaking the very particles that make up reality.

    Intrigued, I did a little research on Pullman and his thoughts. (You'll remember that he got tons of press when the movie came out.) If you do a search on the Internet, you'll find several interviews with Pullman that will help you understand his point of view and his thought process when creating these books. I recommend reading those interviews either before or after moving forward with the His Dark Materials trilogy....more info