Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Amber Spyglass, by Philip Pullman

This is the third, final volume in the "his dark materials" trilogy ("The Golden Compass" and "The Subtle Knife" were the first two volumes).   All the key characters of the prior volumes come together, the story comes to closure, and the two heroes, Lyra and Will, achieve a breakthrough in self awareness and  understanding of their role in the universe.

This felt like the best written of the books, but I was pretty down on the first volume and my subsequent enthusiasm may be as much a reflection of my getting into the story and genre as a reflection of Mr. Pullman's writing improving.   Especially since his first novel in the series won substantial recognition, e.g., the Carnegie Medal (for "Northern Lights ," the UK title of "The Golden Compass").   Okay, so it is probably me then...

A couple of people mentioned to me that this series had come under criticism from some Christian groups.  There are many situations in which the church is seen as malevolent; there's the particular quest of some of the key characters (which I will not spoil here), and finally, the ending of this volume makes clear the importance of individuals doing good works in life in order to build their personal heavens (e.g., as opposed to relying on grace alone).

Great book; great series, highly recommended.

The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials

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