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.