June 26, 2007
The Amber Spyglass: Book 3 of His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
In a cave in the Himalayas, Lyra lies in an enchanted sleep, guarded by her mother, Mrs. Coulter who fears Lyra’s life is being threatened by the Church. Will Parry, accompanied by a pair of angels searches for the kidnapped Lyra. Meanwhile, physicist Mary Malone finds herself in a strange world inhabited by intelligent elephant-like creatures on wheels. These mulefa and their symbiotic relationship with a seed-pod bearing tree hold the secret to Dust- and the danger posed by the tearing of the barriers between worlds. As Will and Lyra travel between the worlds, the tension builds between the forces of tyranny represented by the Church and of intelligent consciousness led by Lord Asriel. But the conclusion surprisingly, was not the battle itself (though that is certainly in there) but a psychological and emotional coming-of-age drama. But you’ll have to read the book to discover the conclusion- as I have a no-spoilers policy on this blog. It’s more fun that way! Bwahaha!
Amber Spyglass was paradoxically, a fast-paced adventure that found time to beautifully describe features of the natural world, and to pontificate- without boring the reader- on questions of morality, philosophy, science and religion. Truly there are few authors that can manage to pull this off. Pullman mentioned in his interview that he is writing a sequel to the trilogy that ties up some of the loose ends. It will take place several years later when Lyra is 16, and she travels to her world’s equivalent of the Middle East. (Or was it Asia?) Anyways, stay tuned for any further announcements about this book. In addition there is already out Lyra’s Oxford- a shorter story about Lyra and Pantalaimon’s adventures and a companion book by another author called The Science of His Dark Materials. I’ve been wondering how based on science some of the concepts in the book are, so I will definitely be checking that out sometime. But for now, on to some other series that need to get finished!
June 4, 2007
The Subtle Knife: Book 2 of His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman,
The second book of His Dark Materials begins with Will Parry, a boy of 12 in our own world, who must flee from men who are searching for him. He finds himself in a crossroads between the worlds- a city called Citagazze. There he encounters Lyra, the heroine of the Golden Compass. Together they begin a search for Will’s father, who was lost many years ago exploring the different worlds. They learn more about the coming battle between Lord Asriel (Lyra’s father) and “the Authority”, and are exposed to danger at every turn. The amazing adventure of Golden Compass continues, as does the rich philosophical concepts explored and political intrigue. It’s not just a fun read- but a thought-provoking look at human nature, free will, cosmology and physics.