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Warren You absolutely must read the first book first. As in any trilogy, the first book lays the foundation of all that is to come, and reading the second …more You absolutely must read the first book first. As in any trilogy, the first book lays the foundation of all that is to come, and reading the second book myself, I've had to refresh my memory several times by referring to the first. I don't see that the second book can make complete sense without having read the first. See all 4 questions about The Subtle Knife…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.
More filters. Sort order. View all 35 comments. The second entry in a trilogy is often, in my opinion, the best. The author doesn't have to introduce the universe or the characters, as they did in the first installment, but they don't need to worry about wrapping up all the plot points either.
Instead, the focus can be on 'the good stuff': elaborating on the story, teasing us more, giving action, chopping off Luke's hand and so on. Instead of the good stuff, in The Subtle Knife I feel as though we've had a bait and switch pulled on us. In The The second entry in a trilogy is often, in my opinion, the best.
In The Golden Compass , we were treated to a rich alternate universe that had elements that were similar to our own, like some of the geopolitical structure, and elements that were entirely fantastical, like armored polar bears and witches. The Subtle Knife , however decides that most of this is insignificant and takes place almost entirely in different universes. It seems like Philip Pullman wanted to reel us in with fantasy before he could preach at us.
Some of these elements are expanded upon in The Amber Spyglass , which I'm currently reading, so forgive me if they don't all apply. I had heard before I started the series that they were 'about killing God. Some of the main characters have decided to wage war on 'The Authority. I'm an agnostic, so these complaints don't come from someone insulted by the material, they come from someone unhappy by their handling. I love plots that put a spin on traditional religion Waiting for the Galactic Bus , for example , but it seems like Pullman came up with a story involving a culture's religion and then decided to make it fit with the Judeo-Christian framework no matter how hard he had to push.
The concept of Dust is interesting. Adapting it to fit with concepts of physics in our world works because it uses something we only know a little about. Once you try to toss in angels and consciousness and so on which is insulting in a children's book, as he's claiming that children are entirely self involved until puberty , though, it seems contrived and silly. I just don't think Pullman is writing for the same reason I want to read: he wants to write religious commentary while I want to read fantasy.
View all 11 comments. When I read this the first time I completely overlooked a main component of the book. I approached it as if was the second book in the series, a massive mistake. The ironic point of this is that most critics take the trilogy as one whole book, rather than three separate works.
And this really is the best way to approach the st When I read this the first time I completely overlooked a main component of the book. And this really is the best way to approach the story. The Golden Compass is the beginning of it all, the setting of the stage.
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This, then, is the middling part of the work. Initially, I was very resistant to this idea. Pullman has expanded his story considerably. Lyra has three chapters told from her perspective.
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The same amount, roughly speaking, is told from the perspective of Will. The rest of the chapters are from side characters of the previous book. I have mixed feeling about this. It felt like an odd authorial decision. At times this felt like an entirely different series altogether, again, something I eventually got over. There is no sense of closure at the end of this. The first book had a strong ending, but this has very little.
Perhaps a review of all three works together would be the best option. At this moment though, I find the witches one of the most interesting aspects of the work. Hopefully, the third book will give me all the answers I need. Men who hunted in the dripping forests or fished among melting ice-floes heard the sky-wide whisper through the fog, and if the sky was clear they would look up to see the witches flying, like scraps of darkness drifting on a secret tide.
View all 13 comments. View all 6 comments. A friend, or an enemy? After a frightening account, Will has to go on the run where he escapes to a different world to the deserted city of Cittagaze, and meets an interesting girl called Lyra Belacqua, her Daemon; Pantalaimon and her ability to read a strange instrument called the alethiometer. This strange world runs parallel to his own. They lear 4. They learn to begin to trust each other and their fates become intertwined, each relying on their developing friendship, courage and bravery.
They discover strange mishaps in this strange city and learn of a powerful weapon- the subtle knife that is so powerful it can cut through worlds. A knife that will only respond to the hand intended to wield it. Like the first book, this was a wonderful literary adventure.
This book takes off where the first book ended and Lyra has travelled to another world, staying in the deserted city alone for a few days before the surprise meeting with Will. This hold more multiple points of view than in the first book, with storylines from Lee Scoresby and Serafina Pekkala especially. However, there is the brightness of a developing friendship, strong bravery, and many connections between the plot lines are made and fit into place.
View all 17 comments. The novel continues the adventures of Lyra Belacqua as she investigates the mysterious Dust phenomenon and searches for her father. Will Parry is introduced as a companion to Lyra, and together they explore the new realms to which they have both been introduced. Obviously, it makes for a great young adult novel!! I share this review again in the fall of as a fourth volume though Pullman later wrote two companion pieces to the trilogy, entitled Lyra's Oxford, and Once Upon a Time in the North , The Book of Dust, has been released, to encourage all ages to read.
As with most great "children's" books, there are a range of levels on which Pullman is working.
He's taking on the Roman Catholic view of reality, C. Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia , and is in conversation with John Milton, whose Paradi I share this review again in the fall of as a fourth volume though Pullman later wrote two companion pieces to the trilogy, entitled Lyra's Oxford, and Once Upon a Time in the North , The Book of Dust, has been released, to encourage all ages to read.
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Lewis in The Chronicles of Narnia , and is in conversation with John Milton, whose Paradise Lost he both loves and contends with in places. But you don't need to know any of that to love this series. This is the middle book in the trilogy, and I like the first and third volumes more, big surprise. More exposition, less action, more trudging to final destinations, but you know, the writing is still exquisite, and it has surprises.
One key surprise is that after focusing on Lyra in the first series, this second book opens with a focus on yet another central character, Will.
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When I first read this I was confused, and more than a little disappointed, as I saw a wonderful strong girl character shoved aside as usually happens in all books for a BOY main character. That isn't quite how things work, really, though, as they share the stage, and they open up new vistas and back stories and new worlds together. This is seen as a sixth grade children's series, but in truth, the older you are, the more you will get out of it, as in all of the greatest "children's stories" of all time, including The Wrinkle in Time, and so on.
Pullman is taking on our limited view of "reality"-- he's engaging in physics, theology, anthropology--with a laser beam on the Holy Roman Church in particular.
It's not so much an attack on The Church as an exploration of the nature of true religion, and a wider, more generous, less sin-obsessed view of the world. It's a wonderful series, which I listened to while traveling around the country with the family, a wonderfully produced cd series. It's the second volume of a trilogy, so you obviously don't begin here, but you won't regret the time you spend on the adventure.
It's awesome. And whether you have read it or not, I recommend this audio version, with Philip Pullman Himself narrating, joined by a wonderful cast of characters. View 2 comments. I am not a fan of forwarded emails.
They frustrate me, because they usually come from the same group of people, people I like a great deal but who never send me a normal "hey, how's it going? I lost track of the number of emails I received telling me about I am not a fan of forwarded emails. I lost track of the number of emails I received telling me about the Anti-God movie The Golden Compass and the need to boycott the movies and the books.
It was well over ten. Ten people wanted me to send that email on to everyone I know, telling them the same thing. Don't see this movie! Don't read these books! Nothing like calling attention to something like a planned boycott. I haven't seen the movie, because I'm cheap and it's not something I'd take my kids to or something I'd be prone to see anyway, but as I had already read the first book in the series, enjoyed it and hadn't found it to be Anti-God, I was curious to read the next to see what the fuss was all about. I don't know if the emails worked and I read with a bias, but I did not enjoy this second book.