April 20th, 2016

Me

366 Critiques By Amateur: Book Critique 2016 – 01/30/2016: The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials II)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of all books in teh series: Go here

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: A must read but be cautious of the complex plotting in the series.

For review on Book 1 (The Golden Compass), go here.



The Subtle Knife was the second book in the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman released in 1997. True to its subtext on the book the boundaries of the worlds crumble in this plot. The adventures of Lyra Belacqua in investigating Dust phenomenon and finding her father, Lord Asriel, continues here.



I always thought the first part of the book released as a movie was a successful one because I had a good visual of what Dust meant, what the parallel world looked like, what daemons meant, etc. It had come to me as a surprise when the movie failed at box office. After the reading the book I understood why. However with so many other movie series that get continued even though one part failed, it never happened so for this series. The second part "The Subtle Knife" never got revamped into a sequel. And now it is never going to happen. Pity since the series is a good read in book though. A trailer was released though before the project was shelved.



Coming back to the book, Lyra's partner in crime in this book is Will Parry who accidentally discovers a portal to a parallel universe. The same universe that Lyra enters following her father Lord Asriel. These two wander thru the city of Cittàgazze and encounter Sir Charles Latrom who steals the alethiometer from Lyra. He will only return to them if they can retrieve a mysterious knife from Cittàgazze. In the process of retrieving the knife, Will loses two fingers making him the next bearer of the knife per the knife's true guardian. The knife can cut through anything physical or spiritual and can be used to cut holes between worlds.

While Lyra and Will are having these adventures, a witch Serafina Pakkala discovers that Mrs. Coulter and the Magisterium are torturing a witch to discover the prophecy surrounding Lyra. Also Will has his own agenda in this travel that he embarks with Lrya - finding his father. And Lyra's ally Lee Scoresby ventures out to find the explorer Stanislaus Grumman to retrieve an object that gives protection to whoever it holds.

Will Serafina protect Lyra from Mrs. Coulter? What is the prophecy surrounding Lyra? Who is Will's father and will he find him? What is the motive of Sir Charles Latrom?

Another web of tales within tales forming a complex plot taking us through various worlds unknown and characters unmet. Philip again mastered at his writing and left us on the edge at the end of the book making us looking forward to pick the third and final instalment in the series.
Me

366 Critiques By Amateur: Book Critique 2016 –01/31/2016:The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials III)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.
For review of all books in the series: Go here

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: A must read but be cautious of the complex plotting in the series.

For review on Book 1 (The Golden Compass), go here.
For review on Book 2 (The Amber Spyglass), go here.



Philip Pullman released the final instalment of His Dark Materials series, The Amber Spyglass, in 2000. In the second part we are left at the point where Lyra goes missing and Will refuses to go with the angels, Balthamos and Baruch, until he found her. Now what has happened to Lyra?  And that’s where this book begins.



Lyra is kept  hidden in a cave by Mrs. Coulter from the Magisterium so they wouldn’t kill her. Lyra is prophesied to become the second Eve and bringing the Fall of Man. In the meanwhile when Will is being taken to Lord Asriel by the angels they are attacked by the soldier of archangel Metatron. Will uses the knife to escape to another world.

Dr. Mary Malone, introduced as the "serpent" in the previous book, is followed by an assassin appointed by the Magisterium. However she enters a different world through a window where she meets elephantine creatures called Mulefa. Here she constructs a Spy Glass to study the Dust that no longer nourish the seedpod trees and the trees are dying.

Will forms an army with Iorek Byrnison, Lord Asriel, and the angel Balthamos to reach the cave where Lyra is kept drugged and hidden. Magisterium forces also converge at the same time. Will wakes up Lyra but loses concentration when he sees Mrs. Coulter and breaks the knife. Lyra, Will and two spies , Tialys and Salmakia - escape to the world of dead, opened by the knife before it was broken.

What is the purpose of Lyra to go into this realm? Will they all return back? What is the result of the war with Magisterium? Why is Magisterium so afraid of the prophecy? Is it really the Fall of Man? Yes, another twisted plot that leads to the beginning of man and woman, that is well spun.

Although I would have liked to have a little lesser twists in this book. Also the journey thru the dead realm could have been avoided as it really did not join to any thread in the plot. Other than that, certainly worth reading to finish the series.