His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass (Book 3)

by Philip Pullman

Paperback, 2003

Status

Available

Collection

Publication

Laurel Leaf (2003), 480 pages

Description

Lyra and Will find themselves at the center of a battle between the forces of the Authority and those gathered by Lyra's father, Lord Asriel.

Language

Original language

English

Original publication date

2000

Physical description

480 p.; 6.81 inches

Media reviews

And as the bumpy journey among these dark materials comes to an end, there is the most moving of scenes: all fantasy subdued and only human frailty revealed in the real world of Oxford's Botanic Garden.

User reviews

LibraryThing member LisaMaria_C
This is the third and last part of Pullman's His Dark Materials which I've seen described as an "atheist's Narnia." It's certainly the only series I've read comparable in ambition and quality in the genre, and as such I think it shares the major attractions and weaknesses of C.S. Lewis' Christian
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fantasies for children. I read Tolkien, a friend and fellow Christian of Lewis, didn't like Narnia. He stated in his introduction to Lord of the Rings that he doesn't like allegory, and that's exactly what those two series have in common, and that comes most to the fore in this last book and it's both its weakness and strength.

In the first book, Lyra's world was so engaging, with its armored polar bears, it's flying witches, and above all its animal "daemon" companions, the polemic flew right over my head. In the second book, primarily in our own world where we meet the boy Will Parry, it was more evident, but at the same time I loved how Pullman weaved together science and religion, dark matter and consciousness and sin, making his book as much science fiction as fantasy. I felt more mixed about the third book at first, where these themes become more blatant. The first time I stopped two-thirds through at "No Way Out." Just as at first I first stopped at Narnia's first book, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when I felt the Christian allegory had overwhelmed story. I can point to the very passage that put me off in The Amber Spyglass, when Lyra explained to ghosts trapped in hell that if released "all the atoms that were them, they've gone into the air and the wind and the trees and the earth and all the living things. They'll never vanish. They're just part of everything." That seemed so...atheist dogma. I call myself an atheist, because it's what I am--someone who doesn't believe in a god or gods. But that doesn't mean I can't recognize the secular humanist cant that tries to find a substitute for the idea of heaven to put the fear of death at a distance, and I find the idea hollow and as much an orthodoxy in its way as Dante's heavenly spheres. A friend of mine feels that "Pullman's avil-shaped anti-church polemic ruined the series" and frankly, insert a "almost" between "polemic" and "ruined" and I don't disagree.

Nevertheless I returned to The Amber Spyglass, ironically after making my way through the rest of the land of Narnia, and I have to admit that despite how I feel about the, to my adult mind, blatant polemic, just as with Narnia, there is just so much about this novel and series I find brilliant. At the end of The Amber Spyglass, Pullman acknowledges a debt to Milton's Paradise Lost and the poet William Blake, and I can't help but admire how he used those materials. There are so many scenes that stand out to me in this third book. The description of the Underworld is riveting from the very beginning, where bare earth is "beaten flat by the pressure of millions of feet, even though those feet had less weight than feathers; so it must have been time that pressed it flat, even though time had been stilled in this place." Possibly the most moving scene in any of the books is the one in this book where Lyra parts with her daemon Pan at the shore of hell's river.

This really is an anti-Narnia, and I think I can appreciate His Dark Materials more for having read Narnia. In Narnia, to grow up is to lose access to that magical land, and it's better to die young than to lose innocence and with it faith. Pullman's message is the opposite. He values experience, knowledge, life. And while Narnia's ideal land is a kingdom, Pullman's is a republic. Although I'm more sympathetic to Pullman's vision, I'd give Narnia a tiny edge. I like the children of Narnia more than Lyra and Will. (Although Lyra grew on me, especially in the last book, and I liked Will from the beginning.) Narnia is more exuberant in its imagination, more charming, and it has more humor. But in the end I still do love Pullman's story as well, which feels more unified in its themes. (And it's not dated in its depictions of race and gender the way Narnia is at times, and the last paragraphs of The Amber Spyglass, unlike Narnia's final book The Last Battle, didn't leave me wanting to hurl the book against the wall; indeed the last line left me smiling.)

I'm not sure how children are taken by His Dark Materials. I know people who read The Chronicles of Narnia as children and loved it said the Christian allegory went over their head. Maybe the didacticism I find off-putting in Pullman would go over their heads as well, leaving them only with the wonder of flying witches, gypsies, armored polar bears, tiny people who fly on dragonflies, antelopes with trunks that roll around on seed pods, and above all the lovable animal daemons that are part of each human's soul. I wouldn't hesitate to give children--and adults who love fantasy--both sets of books as gifts: food for the mind and imagination.

Edit: A friend of mine said she did read it as a child, that she was 12 when The Amber Spyglass came out. She said she was aware of an underlying message, but it didn't bother her at the time, and the books were favorites, though she hasn't read them since. She thinks that children just have a lot more tolerance for being preached at than adults. She loved Narnia too btw.
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LibraryThing member LittleRaven
This is the conclusion to one of the most beautiful fantasy works that has ever come to grace my eyes. The plot comes together to a shocking and gorgeous high, with a bittersweet longing and love for life at the end that resonates with the very core of the heart. It's a celebration of life, growing
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up, and the various joys and sufferings of living in the world.
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LibraryThing member Smiler69
The conclusion of the His Dark Materials Trilogy is filled with unexpected twists and turns. We find Lyra and Will joining forces to find their way into the world of the dead, and Dr Mary Malone, the scientist Lyra meets in book 2, somehow ends up in a world where the creatures have evolved to
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transport themselves on wheels, which somehow contribute to increasing their self-awareness. Here I finally understood why the trilogy created such a scandal in religious circles because Pullman brings the battle between those who defend Dust and those who would eradicated it (aka the Authority, aka God) to a violent conclusion. In the end, what I liked most in this three-part story is the relationship that people from Lyra's world have with their daemons, which are their souls embodied as the animals who resemble them most.
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LibraryThing member eenerd
Last in the His Dark Materials trilogy, we discover the end of the story of Lyra Silvertongue and Will Parry--the war between good and evil. Gets into a bit of theology, and the underlying topic is pretty deep. I think reading this as an adult is probably pretty different from reading it as a
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child...it explores death and what happens afterwards pretty heavily. The writing is good and so is the imagery, and these are things that we all have to think about sometime...I don't know I think you have to be in the mood for it, though.
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LibraryThing member Zathras86
I thought this was an enthralling read and a great finish to the series. I'd read it before when it came out but remembered none of it - I think at the time I zoomed through it too quickly for it to sink in, which was a mistake. It's not a book you can read quickly, although since I didn't want to
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put it down, it didn't take too long to finish.

I've heard Pullman criticized for not keeping a consistent tone or target audience throughout the series. It's perhaps deserved criticism, but he's in good company - the Harry Potter books aren't consistent from first to last, for example; nor to my mind are the Chronicles of Narnia, although they come closer to the mark.

For me, this series got more intellectually stimulating as it lost a little of the action-packed momentum of the first book. I didn't mind that Pullman slowed down to develop both his fantasy world and his theology.
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LibraryThing member pauliharman
Interesting fantasy novel, if you can ignore the anti-religious polemic, which is hard in this conclusion to the trilogy.
LibraryThing member RobertDay
What Philip Pullman has done here is to write a full blown, unashamed genre novel to conclude 'His Dark Materials' (even if he'd deny it). Lord Asriel is holed up in an Adamant Tower, there are battles between zeppelins and gyrocopters, there are tiny people with poisoned spurs who ride
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dragonflies, there's some real science-fictional world-building with alien elephants on wheels, thought-directed flying machines and a DNA bomb. It may not be certain quite which genre it is, fantasy or science fiction, but it's definitely genre. Let no-one tell you otherwise.

In the meantime, we have all the apparatus of the previous two novels carried forward: the daemons, Dust, the Church militant and the intercision devices. Marisa Coulter plays a large part in this book; her motivations become clearer. Will and Lyra journey to the Land of the Dead, where things are changed.

In an afterword, Pullman says that he has taken ideas from every book he's read: certainly, whilst reading, I kept connecting the story with other ideas, facts and events that I'd come across in my life. That shows that I was never this book's intended audience; if I were 13 or 14, there would be so many new ideas in this book that I might be astonished. Instead, as an adult, I kept nodding to Philip Pullman in acknowledgement.

In classifying this novel as genre, I'm also drawing on that same experience. I can think of a number of genre novels from genre writers that cover a lot of the same ground; the difference is that many readers will not have come across these other writers, and 'literary' critics would most likely dismiss those writers as mere hacks. Well, that's their problem. As subjects for a 'young adult' novel, life and death and love and loss and getting along with other people are important themes, and this book tackles those things perfectly well. Ultimately, the book is about trying to get young people to recognise what life is like: people are sometimes neither good nor bad, stuff happens, people we love pass on, and other people we've never met turn out to be full of good things like honour and generosity and curiosity and ingenuity.

The BBC/HBO television dramatisation hasn't got as far as 'The Amber Spyglass' yet; part of me kept wondering "How are they going to tackle that?" at various points in the book. I was now irrevocably locked into visualising the characters in the book as the actors from the dramatisation; not a bad thing, though it did make me raise an eyebrow at the love between Will and Lyra because, as I said in a previous review, in the dramatisation they are played by slightly older actors and that adds a degree of sexual tension to the story that the bare words of the novel would not support. Pullman's anti-clericalism is given full play in this book: the Church are definitely the Bad Guys here, waging war and sending out an assassin. The assassin is dealt with almost off-handedly, almost by accident; this might seem like a cop-out, but it's more believable than if there had been a show-down between a professional killer and two children.

Overall, then, a worthwhile conclusion to the trilogy, but perhaps not as ground-breaking as some give it credit for. Pullman brings all his threads together and delivers a book rich in life's lessons.
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LibraryThing member Ravenclaw79
Sometimes, while reading this book, I let out little involuntary gasps, or mutters of "oh, geez!" Sometimes, I even teared up a little. That's how well-written this book is. It sucked me right in, even when I knew that the odds of Lyra surviving, at least, were good. But there were twists, and
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turns, and emotionally wrenching scenes, and fierce battles, and it was all positively enthralling.I loved how this book especially tied together and clarified the series' ideas on particles of consciousness and on religion. And really, while I don't agree with the entire philosophy, a lot of it bears a striking resemblance to things that I believe might very well be true, though we can't prove them yet. The only thing I disagree with was that in these books, there is a god and there are angels -- but as we learn, they're not really "divine" after all, just other creatures that came into being on a different plane of existence (another dimension, not "heaven" or any such silly stuff like that).I liked, too, how it managed to draw Biblical parallels, acknowledging that most of the people in all of these different worlds, whether witch or Gallivespian or whatever, were raised with these ideas about Adam and Eve and a god up in a heaven and all of that, so what they saw, they had to interpret through that lens, from a perspective of people seeing irreligious things and defining them in religious terms. At the same time, there was nothing to confirm that any of that religious stuff was really true (which it wasn't, and it isn't).Overall, this was a great book and a solid series, very well-written and creative, action-packed, yet a story that makes you think even as it sucks you in.
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LibraryThing member jhudsui
Well, that's done now I guess.

POSITIVE:

The Marzipan chapter was much better done than I expected for something I knew was going to be dedicated to explicit proselytization. I liked the way the kids' relationship with the Gallivespans developed over time. It was nice to see signs of a more mature
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perspective from Lyra during the last chapter when she settled back in at Oxford. And speaking of the ending, I thought it was a nice touch that Pullman stopped to remind us that Asriel was a complete *ssh*l* one last time (re: Lyra's non-existent trust).

NEGATIVE:

Oh god.

First of all, the pseudo-scientific / mystical framework of the series completely leaves unexplained why the two of them having sex (or maybe just kissing, these matters were left even less explicit than I expected) does anything to repair the universe. We're just given it as fiat. This kind of a gaping hole in the story structure since it's the CLIMAX OF THE STORY and it makes no goddamn sense on a surface narrative level.

Second, matters of time and geographic scale are handled so laughably poorly that there's no versimilitude. The story has no feel of its own reality, it's just a series of set pieces propped up. Three separate groups travel a journey of literally THOUSANDS OF MILES using completely separate methods of transportation with each different speeds and somehow manage to converge at their joint destination WITHIN HOURS OF EACH OTHER.

Third, there is a MASSIVE PLOT HOLE in the ending: Xaphania tells the kids that even though non-knife windows don't cause dust leakage, that the angels will close all of them because they don't want the kids to waste their time searching for them. This is ridiculous because the angels have to find the windows to close them, and can travel between worlds easily, so there's absolutely no reason why, if they found a non-knife window between Will and Lyra's worlds, they couldn't just fly to them and tell them about it.

And finally, the anti-climax of the fight with Metatron. I understand the thematic reasons why Pullman wanted this to be some kind of anti-climax, but reducing it to a hand-to-hand combat between three people. In a barren cave. It just feels dull and pointless and like a failure of imagination. I mean, compared to the obviously intentional anti-climax of the Authority's death, which was actually well written.
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LibraryThing member thelorelei
In the entire "His Dark Materials" trilogy, the quality that I most appreciate is the ambiguity of the "goodness" or "badness" of many of the characters. The reader obviously understands that Lyra and Will are on the righteous track, but among the other characters, I was uncertain to the very end
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just who was "in the right." I loved not knowing, for it is a very rare experience in contemporary literature.
"The Amber Spyglass" is the thoughtful, powerful conclusion to Pullman's trilogy, and it slows down somewhat as events near their climax. Focus shifts to the protagonists' internal revelations as their destinies draw near, and the narrative accordingly grows more dense and intimate.
While I am still not sure how I feel about the resolution of Lyra's role in the mysterious prophecy that's bandied about through the trilogy, I love that it made me think deeply and critically.
I understand that many people are concerned about Pullman's depiction of God and organized religion in these books. While I can see why they might be upset, I was always taught that exposure to criticism is good for a person (and for institutions), so while my feelings about theology and the church are very different from Pullman's, it did not stop me from getting a lot out of this series, and from finding the positive message that applies to life no matter how a person believes.
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LibraryThing member lewispike
End of the series and a distinct dip in form. All the good things set up are thrown out and a couple of other potentially good things aren't really developed properly. Shame really, after the promise of the first two.
LibraryThing member kforeman
Other authors (Stephen King, Clive Barker, Robert Pirsig) seem more adept at balancing story and message than Philip Pullman, who doesn't let a good story get in the way of beating a dead horse. "The Golden Compass" and "The Subtle Knife" were better told than the finale. I felt like my heart was
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torn when Lee Scoresby died in "The Subtle Knife", but felt no such compassion in the multitude of deaths in "The Amber Spyglass."

Other reviewers have commented on the number of implausible excuses and behavior in "The Amber Spyglass", and I'd have to agree. Things were contrived to have the story end the way Pullman wanted, but they didn't fit the context of his created history.

If Metatron was six generations removed from Adam, he's been around for VERY long time. He's the dominant angel in the Clouded Mountain, aka "The Chariot." He's undoubtedly seen and influenced alot of human and angelic behavior, but he's taken in and deceived by a 35-year-old woman?? It didn't seem to fit with a vast angelic intelligence and ancient malevolence.

The Magisterium Bomb was the ultimate Deus ex Machina. Blowing a hole in the Universe (Multiverse) and then disposing of your Antagonist and two main characters seemed like something out of a comic book... not an epic saga where the author is trying to convey some deep treatise on the nature of good, evil, and spirituality.

"The Amber Spyglass" was my least favorite of the series. I hope that Philip Pullman continues to mature as an author and refines his message. With this finale, he allowed his message to get in the way of a good story.
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LibraryThing member food4pirate
Didn't really like the story. could have been way better but the author thought his own beliefs were more important.
LibraryThing member PaperbackPirate
"Random House Children's Books supports the First Amendment and celebrates the right to read."

After reading that on the title page, I knew I was in for some fun! In 2008 my book club read the first book in this trilogy, The Golden Compass, because we heard it was the atheist's answer to The Lion,
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the Witch and the Wardrobe series by C. S. Lewis. Really we didn't feel there was anything too earth-shattering in The Golden Compass, but bible thumpers probably had a special book burning for The Amber Spyglass, my favorite in the series.

A few of my favorite lighter fluid moments:
Gay Angels!
A nun who leaves the church to become a scientist!
The discovery that there is no heaven, but a sad purgatory-esque land to go to when we die!

I heard matches striking after quotes like this one:
I used to be a nun, you see. I thought physics could be done to the glory of God, till I saw there wasn't any God at all and that physics was more interesting anyway. The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all.

Don't get me wrong; some of my favorite people are Christians. It's just nice to know that there's something out there for everyone! I, too, support the First Amendment and celebrate the right to read!
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LibraryThing member PDExperiment626
If you've read the first two books in this series, you know that the "His Dark Materials" trilogy is massive in both literary and philosophical scope. While this final installment in the series demonstrates some excellent literary qualities, the ultimate message the book (and thus the series) tries
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to convey gets tainted by various plot inconsistencies and scenes and overt biases portrayed in the novel. Overall though, this book has balls: it seeks to deliver a strong message in a story whose implications go beyond even the scope of those in Lord of the Rings.

First, the bad news about this book. To start out, at several places in this book Pullman uses some serious Deus ex Machina to get the plot to move forward. In particular, the intention machines and the Magisterium bomb fall into this category. Also, Pullman basically puts a number of arbitrary rules on his parallel universe construction to make the ending to his book work, which again I classify as Deus ex Machina. Really, these examples are a consequence of Pullman introducing such powerful entities earlier in the trilogy (i.e. parallel universes, the subtle knife and the golden compass). By this stage of the story to keep a literary balance of power between the two opposing forces, he needs to start inventing things like the intention machine and the Magisterium bomb. For instance, Will and Lyra are essentially untouchable from the Magisterium once they have the subtle knife, so now the Magisterium gets this magical bomb out of no where. I also classified the Gallispeans as another Deus ex Machina construct; essentially undetectable and deadly spies are extremely powerful entities that come up in a point of the book to move the plot forward.

Another problem with this book is that Pullman really neglected some key explanations in this book while going into wordy expositions on points that were not essential to the plot. First, Pullman has indicated that the subtle knife and golden compass were meant to be conveyed as human creations that were 'guided' by another force. This is not what is said in the story, which indicates the subtle knife is a human invention. Also Pullman needed to clear up how his parallel universes work because there would be literally millions of subtle knives, golden compasses, Lyra's, Will's etc. This issue is never fully addressed. Lastly, Pullman needed to make it clearer that Lord Asriel didn't actually build the rebellion fortress; it was actually made by angels and he was simply a figurehead to gather strength. Really these are just a few key points that were very neglected in this final book and should have been better explained.

The last critique I have is the overt bias against religion in some scenes. Personally, I am no fan of Religious power structures; and I actually really like the message conveyed in this book. That being said, it is hard to regard this as a balanced perspective on Religion vs. Free Thinkers when you have characters wax philosophical about how bad the Church is. There isn't one decent Religiously oriented character in this book; they are all evil. The one Free Thinker who could be viewed as 'bad' is Lord Asriel and even then, that's based on perception. Given that these biases were conveyed in great detail in some places at the expense of some key explanations (as mentioned in the previous paragraph), I believe the overall message of the story (which I personally love) got really tainted.

With the bad news out of the way, let me explain what I really liked about this book. First, the characters I think are very well done: they are dynamic in a very realistic way. Specifically, the character development of Will and Lyra isn't linear but occurs in spurts; which makes this series somewhat unique and particularly true to the way children develop. Second, the story has balls; that's the simplest way to convey it. As I said, it seeks to say something truly profound that requires challenging a lot of Historical ideals about religion, right vs. wrong etc. The story is truly epic in scope and has a really great ending. It doesn't puss out on consequences (not in any overt way), not everything is all neat-and-resolved in the end. The characters leave the story having paid a price and have grown significantly as a result. This is totally unlike some other really weak endings where a long story resolves itself to being nothing more than a fairy tale *cough* HARRY POTTER *cough*. Finally, I love how Pullman has tied together elements of science, the bible, classical literature ('Paradise Lost', 'The Inferno', etc. etc.), philosophy (Buddhism) into one truly eclectic and enthralling story.

Even though my critiques are hard, in the scheme of the entire series they are fairly minor to the average reader. The reality is, these critiques are result of a balance Pullman chose to maintain in this series. Specifically, Pullman had to balance 1. the scope and strength of his message, 2. consistency in plot, 3. settings, and 4. character development. Pullman put the more weight on his characters and story scope at the expense of some of the inconsistencies I stated above. So, even though I see them as problems in the story, the problems do not have a vain presence. Overall, I highly recommend this series for both young and older readers. Yes it is biased against religion; but then again, there are many books out there that are biased in the for Religions as well. This is one perspective that has been very neglected in literature and has great value to those looking for something that is more than a rehashing of the bible.
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LibraryThing member cmwilson101
Lyra's and Will's adventures in alternative worlds end, as they have to make some tough choices. Gorgeously written, beautifully described, intricately plotted. Incredible series by Phillip Pullman.
LibraryThing member Helena81
For me, not as gripping as the first two, but I shall miss Lyra, Will, and Pullman's skill in weaving the narrative and giving the characters depth. The weight of the book shifts further from adventure towards ideology in this final installment.
LibraryThing member dodau
A gripping conclusion to the Dark Materials trilogy. Lyra and Will, now reunited battle to stop the Church and their allies destroy dust forever. And the truth is revealed with devastating consequences for the two of them.
LibraryThing member isabelx
This spyglass was tucked in her breast pocket, and she took it out now. When she looked through it, she saw those drifting golden sparkles, the sraf, the Shadows, Lyra's Dust, like a vast cloud of tiny beings floating through the wind.

Ever since she walked into the workman's tent in "The Subtle
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Knife", I had been wondering what had happened to Mary Malone and I was pleased to find that she had a big part in the third book. Her adventures among the mulefa and her further discoveries about the properties of Dust were fascinating. It gradually became clear as the story went on, that all the worlds are under threat, but is that due to Lord Asriel's experiments or something else? As the trilogy went on, I found myself wondering more and more about the nature of Dust. What did it have to do with the development of intelligent life? Did it cause animals to become suddenly self-aware 33,000 years ago? And if so, why did it happened 33,000 years ago in worlds as different as ours, Lyra's and that of the mulefa? And why is it attracted to adults and man-made objects, but not to children? Is it to do with the loss of innocence, and if so, are the Church correct in thinking that Dust is sin and that if Dust could be prevented from being attracted to adults, the world would be free from sin? Or are they dangerously mistaken and in fact intelligent life would be impossible without Dust?
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LibraryThing member jasmyn9
Lyra and Will are back and still trying to find a way to Lyra's father, Lord Asriel. Lord Asriel's war is fully underway, but the final and decisive battle is still to come. Lyra and Will meet Mary Malone, a friend made in Will's earth, in yet another version of the world. (The jumping around
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sounds much more confusing that it actually is in the book.) Mary must help them find a way to understand dust and save all the worlds in existence.

Lyra is a character I will always love. She is so realistic to me it's frightening. Will is a bit to steadfast for my taste...almost too stubborn and to be real at times.

I hate to say too much about the plot and ruin it for people who have not yet read the first two. This was a fantastic end to a series. I was sad to see it stop, but completely happy about the way it did. Not all the strings were tied off nice and neat, but that's life, messy. All the plot lines were wrapped up in a way that allowed the characters to have resolution and a continuing purpose beyond the end of the story.

The twists and turns were numerous, but all made sense as they occurred. They were also spaced out in a way that made the story seem more real and believable.

5/5
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LibraryThing member EllaJurisDoctor
Possibly, one of the best books that I have ever read . . . it ties the series up neatly (although, not how I expected it to). Even though the books were written for young adults, do not think for a minute that they don't appeal to the adult crowd. The best that Pullman has ever written!
LibraryThing member wenestvedt
Must every fantasy series have an interlude where someone learns to speak an alien tongue? Anyway, I thought this book wasn't as strong as the first one -- but it's still a goood finish to the series.
LibraryThing member tjsjohanna
Mary Malone was a nice addition to the cast of characters and her experiences with the Mulefa were fascinating. Lyra & Will's adventures in the world of the dead were both heart-rending for the characters and not convincing for me. Also not convincing was Mrs. Coulter's love for Lyra. Sorry, just
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didn't buy it. Also, I guess it's the Christian in me, but Pullman doesn't provide a compelling alternative for God. He explains God away as something that has a desire to manipulate and control, when the essence of Christianity is agency - choosing obedience over rebellion, but never compulsion. Granted, Christian religions have used compulsion, but Christ's teachings and His gospel are all about agency. So - doing good for some altruistic reason like keeping "Dust" in the world - didn't work for me. Still, imaginative storyline.
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LibraryThing member caerulius
I love Philip Pullman. He never assumes that children can't follow complex concepts, be they scientific, theological or philosophical. And though, yes, the concepts may at first seem very hard to grasp, his 10 year old protagonist, Lyra, helps rephrase them to a novice's understanding as she
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herself begins to understand them. And this book doesn't skimp on such concepts: Dark Matter, the I Ching, original sin, the War amongst the angels, alternate universes, refraction of light, the afterlife, guilt, remorse, assassination in the name of religion, and making amends for one's actions all combine with a fantasy story that is compelling and engaging, beautifully written and very moving.
His main characters are children facing issues or torment and honor that might break an adult, always with bravery and resourcefulness, but in a very believable and loving way. These books make you love the characters as though they were friends of yours.

This is the final installment of the trilogy. Using the alethiometer (or the "golden compass" of the first book) to read the intentions and happenings of all the worlds, and the "subtle knife" of the second book to cut through the fabric between the worlds, Lyra and Will complete their fantastic journey, aided by Iorek Byrneson, the armored bear from Svalbard, and the tiny Gallivespian spies. Meanwhile, physicist Mary Malone befriends a foreign world and learns the true nature of "Dust".
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LibraryThing member hayesstw
A disappointing end to the "His dark materials" trilogy. Pullman, after ranting increasingly shrilly against Christian asceticism, has the main characters opt for something almost indistinguishable from it at the end, making the rants all seem rather pointless.

Pages

480

Rating

½ (6610 ratings; 4)
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