His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass
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His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #1-3)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  75,898 ratings  ·  3,869 reviews
In an epic trilogy, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to a world parallel to our own, but with a mysterious slant all its own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first. Here, the three paperback titles in Pullman's heroic fantasy series are unit...more
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Published October 1st 2001 by Del Rey (first published 2000)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Until recently, this series had somehow flown under my radar. It wasn’t until I saw the trailer for the upcoming The Golden Compass movie that I was introduced to Lyra’s world. The trailer made the movie look AMAZING, so naturally (as I always do), I thought…”I MUST read this book!”.

His Dark Materials creates a beautiful, vibrant world with characters as deep as if you had known them your whole life. The books themselves deal with heavy subjects. Nuclear Physics, Parallel Worlds, Quantum Partic...more
Seth Hahne
Sep 01, 2010 Seth Hahne rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one who is alive. the dead might find it as boring as being dead though, so...
Day late and a dollar short with this one.

My hope was to have read and reviewed His Dark Materials trilogy before the film adaptation of the first third, The Golden Compass, came out last Friday. And I would have too - if it weren't for that sheer enormity of suckiness that was the third book in the series (The Amber Spyglass). *sigh* But then, life doesn't actually work out perfectly for us as often as we'd like. Sometimes there are earthquakes that level cities in Turkey. Sometimes Spinach is...more
Oct 05, 2011 Mathew rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
Could you imagine a story that weaves history, quantum physics, theology, cosmology, trepanning, shamanism, love and the seriousness of adolescence into a coherent narrative? I could not. Yet Phillip Pullman has done just that, and a world more. This wonderful trilogy will lead you along a most unlikely path through some of the biggest questions of life - in philosophy, religion, history, science, and not least literature. That it does so as a masterful, child-accessible and wholly engaging stor...more
Mar 05, 2008 Andrea rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adult fiction lovers
(Spoilers below)

I read the first two books when they came out (my middle school years) but got tired of waiting for the third. However, when this whole controversy over The Golden Compass film adaptation was started by the Christian right, I decided it was time to read the series again. I simply didn't remember Philip Pullman's message about God and the Church disturbing me as a regularly church-going 12 year old. Sure, it made me think about what a corrupt church could do, but it all seemed hyp...more
The first sentence that came to my mind after finishing this book was: anyone who would give this novel less than five stars has to be either a philistine, a charlatan, or a cynic. To add to that: a cynic grown so dull with the slop of the world that they have been rendered unable to see the raw charm of these characters Lyra and Will, and the amazing sad kind of beauty that comes with making the irreversible passage from childhood to adulthood.

Pullman is able to weave together in the thread of...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Well this just blew me clean away.

It's the way Pullman tackles the subject of religion in young adult fiction that will always make him a bit of a hero to me. Not too much, that would be worship. And that be mighty dangerous indeed.

In fact, I might go so far as to say that this is Richard Dawkins for children, wrapped up in an epic adventure involving, fiercely free witches, ethereal angels pandering to an illusion of a deity, quantum physics, multiple world theory, the stamping out of budding s...more
David Katzman
This review only applies to book 1: The Golden Compass

Growing up with an addiction to Dungeons & Dragons and reading through my town library's entire Science Fiction and Fantasy section before I was sixteen has left me with a life-long proclivity for the fantastic. Some of my favorite novels manage to combine the highly literary (or experimental) with the fantastical. I'm willing to take a chance on books considered straight fantasy or science fiction, but I haven't been making the best choi...more
Yeany Dahlan
Oct 14, 2007 Yeany Dahlan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: retna asmoro
If Harry Potter series were considered heretic by some groups of people, I don't know what will they say when they read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials as the books do reflect anti-Christianism with God portrayed as vindictive and authoritarian figure growing ..dare I say it? ...senile and need to be ousted (Oh my God)..

His Dark Materials is a trilogy beginning with the shocking The Golden Compass, and followed by The Subtle Knife and ends with The Amber Spyglass. And if we disregard the ant...more
mark monday
i am actually assuming that i will be Left Behind, so my concern is more for others. i hate seeing families and friends split apart!

when it does occur, i would like to be someplace like a church where there will be lots of people Raptured... that way, right afterwards, i'll be able to pick up all the wallets and purses that are also Left Behind. you don't need money in heaven, right? and with all the honest folk gone, i also feel confident that post-Rapture will be ripe for money-making opportu...more
This was a truly amazing story. I'm actually giving it a 4.75 instead of a 5. It was getting a strong 5 until the ending. It wasn't a horrible ending but it could have been better. I cried if that tells you something. : /
Add me to what I'm sure is a very short list of people who didn't get the whole "anti-god" sentiment that this series is supposedly laden with.

I read this series for the first time several years ago while working in a book store and madly searching for something to tide me over until the next Harry Potter came out. I became a dedicated Pullman fan within a few pages of "The Golden Compass."

I like young adult fantasy that doesn't pander and Pullman wouldn't dream of doing that to his readers. He...more
I've just finished The Golden Compass. I can't believe I waited so long to read this book. It was simple yet lovely, with interesting characters, setting, plot. It was so engrossing that I managed to read the last third of it at the courthouse, between jury duty sessions.

I'm sure that a large part of my sheer pleasure at reading this comes from the setting itself, having long been fascinated by the far North, but I think there's quite enough there for those less enamored of snow, ice, and polar...more
I like my wild, adventurous fantasy tales as much as the next fella, but I have some issues with this series. First, it clearly wants to be the anti-Narnia, and that's fine, but I wish it wasn't so blatant about it. Many of the characters exist solely as two-dimensional metaphors and many of the plot developments and magical or fantastical elements of the world seem to exist solely to make the point that no, we're not in Narnia anymore, the lion is not Jesus and actually the church is trying to...more
Feb 23, 2012 Sandi rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: lemmed
Very rarely do I start a book and not finish it. I've read some really awful books in my time and have managed to finish most. However, I gave up on this book on page 277. I think 277 pages is more than enough to get an idea of whether or not a book is worth finishing. This one isn't worth finishing. I really don't care about the controversy surrounding the author, his philosophy and how it's presented in the book. All I care about is that it's ponderous, preachy and annoying. I've read too many...more
holy shit!
Never has a book/series had such an impact on me as His Dark Materials, specifically The Amber Spyglass. It still stands as the only book that has ever made me cry. I was a wreck after finishing it, to the point where I literally could not sleep because I couldn’t believe it was over. Not only was the ending beautifully heartbreaking, but I had to accept the fact that these characters' journeys had come to an end, the series was over, and it was time for me to move on in my life. I just couldn't...more
I didn't know about Philip Pullman and 'His Dark Materials' before the trailers for 'The Golden Compass' aired - and I'm a bit sad about that. I would have loved to have read this when I was a teenager!
Anyways, on to the review:
The Golden Compas
The storyline in The Golden Compas is so well-crafted, compelling and interdependent that it's hard to tell much of it without revealing too much but I'll try.
Lyra, the main protagonist, is a little girl, living at Jordan College, Oxford. She's a tomboy w...more
what an example of hype overshadowing the actual worth of the text! why is this series so popular??? baffling. perhaps it managed to capture the imaginations of those who do not typically read fantasy and mistakenly think this is some sort of pinnacle?

as to be expected from a tome this size, it is unavoidable that a few rare scenes can be treasured, like the armored polar bear or the hijacking of the houseboat or the notion of souls expressed in the living world, but this tale is patchy, disorga...more
This is actually a Trilogy make up of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. Rigidly religious people should probably avoid these books because I'm not exaggerating when I say it's blasphemous. And if you are only looking for standard pulp fantasy, this probably isn't for you either because it contains logical faults, and occasionally contains some strange narrative lapses. However, as a work of fiction that seeks to enlighten and not just entertain, this is a wildly succes...more
Mike (the Paladin)
This is not a series I would have exposed my children to. If you choose to (and I'm sure many will) that is up to you. There is a deal of indoctrination here, or if you consider the Narnia series indoctrination then maybe you won't use that term in this case. It's all I suppose in the eye of the beholder. So up to the parent, or if we're talking adults then, the reader.

(view spoiler)...more
Allison (The Allure of Books)
I would possibly have given The Golden Compass 5 stars...the other two would be somewhere around 3. I really enjoyed the story...so many of the characters are wonderful, and the world(s) that Pullman created are very original and creative...I loved how Dust worked in so differently to each one.

The ending? Well...I understand it, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
Aisha Mahmoud
Nov 24, 2008 Aisha Mahmoud rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one!!!!
First let me make one thing clear before I review this book. I work in a library. I am totally against the banning of books. Censorship, as a colleagues button says, does not protect innocence, it only promotes ignorance. But I also do think that we should be careful with the books out there. There are some books that are not meant for kids of certain ages, simply because they are not yet ready to handle the content. This is true about the Golden Compass series. It may have animals on the cover...more
This trilogy started out with so much promise! What went wrong? I'll tell you what went wrong. Well, no I won't. But the first book was really fun to read. I'm still in the third. It's one of those that I dread reading, but I feel a stupid obligation to finish a book once I've started.

Golden Compass is great. Fun characters, intriguing plot, some mystery and suspense. The Subtle Knife is about half as good. It introduces a somewhat enjoyable new character with a really cool knife, which is neat...more
First time I read this trilogy it was as a fairly naive and twerpish mid-teen. Back then the books struck me as very good reads but didn't really have much meaning beyond a well written fantasy in a world of bland meta-worlds.

I re-read the lot of them consecutively just last year, as (If I dare say so) a wiser and more introspective person. It was, in short, an experience.

The trilogy takes the form of what appear to be fairly mature childrens books, and indeed they can be read as such. However,...more
Stella Astrasi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Remember how, when the film version of "The Golden Compass" came out, evangelicals told their followers not to see it because the book is about a battle against God, and that God is defeated in the end?

They were right. And it's really sort of childish. In the bad way. And I'm about as far to the left of the right wing religious nut cases as you can get. I'm all for a critique of how religion has hobbled civilization. I firmly believe that the church (pick your religion, not just the Christian ch...more
Kristen Jones
I suppose I should rate these one at a time, because I don't think they were all horrible books, but the last book was SO terrible, that it really drags down the whole series for me.

The first book was pretty good. Once I got used to the fact that it took place in a parallel steam-punk world where things were almost the same but spelled differently, I was able to enjoy the creative and fast-paced adventure.

The second book I read in a single sitting on a plane. This one got a little confusing - th...more
Fawn Rueckert
Okay. The fact that there was conterversy about this book was the main reason I read it. After all, I thought, remember the all the fuss over Harry Potter? Why let other people make up my mind for me? Well I am glad I read it if only to tell others not to waste their time. The series starts off well enough with the Golden Compass, it intruduces some fun ideas and new takes in the sometimes stale fantasy genre. It was interesting and free from any obnoxious anti-god sentiment. The next book The S...more
Oy. Finally, after close to three months' work, finished the whole thing. And...

I'm pretty sure Phillip Pullman is kind of a whackjob.

Mind you, I'm coming at this as someone who agrees with a lot of what he seems to have to say--atheism, antitheism, the whole schmear--but it seems he's too hung up on defeating the influence of religion and lets it get in the way of his point.

I won't even go into the sort of quasi-pedophiliac vibe the last third of The Amber Spyglass had.

As a person who's not a f...more
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Dæmons 3 24 Jul 10, 2013 08:29PM  
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In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. Pullman has received many awards...more
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The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2) The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3) Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version The Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart, #1)

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“I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they wont' just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight...” 516 likes
“She wondered whether there would ever come an hour in her life when she didn't think of him -- didn't speak to him in her head, didn't relive every moment they'd been together, didn't long for his voice and his hands and his love. She had never dreamed of what it would feel like to love someone so much; of all the things that had astonished her in her adventures, that was what astonished her the most. She thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish it forever.” 124 likes
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