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The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #2)
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The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2)

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  211,591 ratings  ·  4,823 reviews
Will is twelve years old and he's just killed a man. Now he's on the run, determined to discover the truth about the father he has never known.

Then Will steps through a window into another world - the dangerous world of Cittàgazze, where soul-eating Spectres haunt the streets, and a strange, savage girl called Lyra Silvertongue is searching for Dust. Their meeting is no ac
Hardcover, Tenth Anniversary 1995-2005, 332 pages
Published 2005 by Scholastic (first published July 22nd 1996)
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The second entry in a trilogy is often, in my opinion, the best. The author doesn't have to introduce the universe or the characters, as they did in the first installment, but they don't need to worry about wrapping up all the plot points either. Instead, the focus can be on 'the good stuff': elaborating on the story, teasing us more, giving action, chopping off Luke's hand and so on. Instead of the good stuff, in The Subtle Knife I feel as though we've had a bait and switch pulled on us.

In The

I am not a fan of forwarded emails. They frustrate me, because they usually come from the same group of people, people I like a great deal but who never send me a normal "hey, how's it going?" message. Just "Support our Troops" or "Tell every woman you know she's special" or "Microsoft is running a test and if you send this you could get a check for $1,000!" When I see the letters FWD in the subject line, I usually simply delete it.

I lost track of the number of emails I received telling me about
Candace Wynell McHann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shayantani Das
Two very strange things happened last week. I gave I Am Half Sick Of Shadows: A Flavia De Luce Novel two stars and am now giving this book five star. It is strange because the former book’s protagonist, my dear Flavia De Luce is my favorite obstinate pre teen. On the contrary, Lyra, another stubborn, precocious, pre-teen absolutely annoyed me in the previous book. Right now though, I can not for the life of me imagine why I did not like the first novel and Lyra. Well, at least I adore her right ...more
For a moment, just imagine that after reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone you were so enthralled by the protagonist (even if you weren't bare with me), his friends and the entire world that has been established. It has moral undertones, but at it's heart it is a fun fantasy novel. Then you pick up Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and suddenly Harry has been downgraded as a protagonist in favor of Dan, our brand new second main character. He's super awesome and whatnot and sort o ...more
Bookworm Sean
"All through that day the witches came, like flakes of black snow on the wings of a storm, filling the skies with the darting flutter of their silk and the swish of air through the needles of their cloud-pine branches. Men who hunted in the dripping forests or fished among melting ice-floes heard the sky-wide whisper through the fog, and if the sky was clear they would look up to see the witches flying, like scraps of darkness drifting on a secret tide."


The first book was told, almost, exclusive
When I first read this book I was young enough to still pronounce the 'b' in 'subtle', and now I can't look at this book without doing it again. I still think it sounds better that way - it gives the word a sort of dull power that I think depicts the mysterious magic of the knife much better than the silly, flippant 'suttle'. Saying 'sub-tle' opens up previously-unimagined worlds which extend indefinitely into the distance.

And this is what is good about this series. I've come up with a list of

It is so surprising to me that the thing I found vastly irritating right at page one of the first of this series - the daemon - so quickly captivated me. You have this daemon in you, all of us, just as the story goes. And as a child it is anything, it has the fantastical vision that children have, there is nothing to stop it. But then we mostly grow up and we mostly lose the idea that we can do anything, we lose imagination, we lose the unconscious bravery of our childhood, we lose the i
Jan 30, 2008 Annalisa rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Annalisa by: Ryan
What I did like about this book is that it starts with Lyra, a girl we have become acquainted with from another world, meeting Will, a boy from our world. Bringing the fantasy into our own reality was surreal and interesting. But only for a minute and then it became a bore. The story was slow and at some points stopped altogether to allow Pullman his theological preachings of anti-church and anti-god. If the story had been metaphorical I would have enjoyed it more, but it became less fiction and ...more
The strangest thing about Phillip Pullman's The Subtle Knife is that it doesn't feel like the second book in a series, making me wonder whether Pullman first wrote this in conjunction with The Amber Spyglass, then wrote The Golden Compass as a prequel, which then became the first book in the series once they were published.

Not that it matters.

What matters is that The Subtle Knife is too fast, too plot driven, and too much "a set-up" book to be an effective second book in the trilogy. Second bo
5.0 stars. Fantastic sequel to The Golden Compass. The plot is expanded expontentially from the story line of the first book and becomes epic. Fantastic read. Highly recommended!!
As a second reading of this book, I was disappointed. I remember liking it much more when I first read it about 6 years ago. Pullman’s imagination is again shown off in the alternate worlds he creates, but the story did not grab me like The Golden Compass did.

Lyra is so wonderfully written in The Golden Compass, but here she seems to be more ordinary and boring. I realize the author is trying to show her change and grow up, but all that happens is she gets dull.

I miss also the detailed descrip
I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that, after those last 4 chapters or so, I will never be happy again.*

*OK, may be a slight exaggeration. Damn Pullman, you're worse than Ness.
The Subtle Knife which is the second volume in His Dark Materials trilogy fails to live up to the first installment.

In Nothern Lights (or The Golden Compass, as it was titled in the US) readers were treated to a rich alternative universe. It was clear that the Philip Pullman had an active imagination and was good at constructing his worlds just as any good fantasy author.

That's one of the reasons why I didn't enjoy this volume as much as the first one. As it was stated that the books will take p
Jan 02, 2008 Bonnie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: high school and above
Not happy with the ending otherwise it would have gotten 5 stars. Well written, kept me hanging on the edge of my seat.
I have the third one downloaded on my Sony e-book and will start soon.

One thing I can say about Pullman is that he is a master at detail, at character, at setting. His imagination is immense.

I don't like revealing plots in a review so I won't tell what happens but I am impressed.

I can see where some might feel challenged regarding this book. It throws a lot of church dichotomy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Eric Allen
When I was a kid, like 4 or 5, in that strange and mysterious era called the early '80s, two of the things I loved were a movie called Beastmaster, and a little cartoon that has been much made fun of in recent years for its unintentional homo-erotic subtext called He-Man. I was sooooo excited when Beastmaster 2 and Masters of the Universe came out in theaters, and I begged my parents to take me to see them. And you want to know what completely ruined those two movies? Well, they took something I ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The adventures of young Lyra continue, and now she's with Will Parry, a 12-year-old boy from our world. The two meet when Will, trying to escape trouble in his home city of Oxford, England, slips through an invisible window (kind of like a sheet of air inside air) into a third world, Cittagazze, where he bumps into Lyra. They piece together their stories and deduce that there are many worlds, all "hooked on" to each other, coexisting, and only those who have discovered the windows can travel amo ...more
Manni P
4,5. Nyt harmittaa se etten lainannut kolmatta osaa, olisin nimittäin aloittanut saman tien lukemaan sitä!
Ksenia Anske
Well, what can I say? Stupendous. Fascinating. Rich and dark. I have read THE GOLDEN COMPASS and loved it and immediately started on THE SUBTLE KNIFE, and oh, the glorious multiple worlds. We are now in our world, there is a boy, Will, and he had a secret talent that he doesn’t know of, and he is fleeing from his world—our world—into a world that is like a crossroads between other worlds. And he meets Lyra. There are more witches here, and angels, too. And new things, ethereal beings, columns of ...more
"Tu credi che le cose debbano essere possibili? Devono essere vere!"

Tutto meno che un libro di transizione.
Il primo libro di questa trilogia si è chiuso con Lyra che attraversa l'apertura verso un nuovo mondo: un grande passo che ora tocca al lettore. Di Lyra non c'è traccia, così come del suo mondo: al suo posto, un ragazzino in fuga tra il nostro mondo (!) e un altro ancora, crocevia di tutti gli infiniti mondi collegati dalla Polvere. Il ritorno in scena di Lyra non si fa attendere, ma a quel
Notice: I have made a review for every book of this trilogy and they need to be read in order since they are supposed to feel like an on-going impression. So if you read the second without reading the first will feel rather off.

I am mostly focusing on the style of storytelling and a lot less on if it reads well or something sophisticated like that. For the same reason I tend to have lots of SPOILERS which means that if you read this text you will know THE OVERALL PLOT and how much I DIDN’T like
His Dark Materials is what a true trilogy should be - each successive book deepens the power of the story and builds an intricate crescendo of events and twists. In "The Subtle Knife," the attack on free will and knowledge continues, and the revelation of how far its reach has extended is astounding. Though we face that attack day-to-day in our world, Pullman's mastery is that he forces readers to reject their apathy about this and realize the horror of this attack, not just in this world but in ...more

There is a kind of paradoxical element to writing: you must write with an agenda or else risk having no structure and content to your work, however if you write with too much of an agenda your work becomes rigid and inflexible. I mused on this idea about halfway through this book last night. I find Philip Pullman to be both writing in places with too strong an agenda (i.e. to recreate Paradise Lost as he understands it and from an atheistic perspective - some have also mentioned the whole anti-N
What was the strange city in the sky in The Golden Compass? It's shown here: literally a window into another world out of the multiverse of worlds. A boy named Will Parry (from our world) finds his own way there and meets a feral girl and her daemon, both of whom are searching for her father. The girl is Lyra, and her father is Lord Asriel (who we quickly learn has somehow built a massive fortress with which to wage war against God, also known as the Authority). The rest of the book focuses on W ...more
[redacted by S.H.I.E.L.D.]
I hate this book.

Hate hate hate hate hate hate hate. It took everything I loved about the first one and craps on it.

The Highlander 2 of fantasy.
جلد دوم کتاب رو خیلی خیلی بیشتر از جلد اولش دوست داشتم. همایندی شخصیت ویل و لایرا عالی از آب دراومده بود و هیجانش من رو به دنبال خودش میکشوند. بله، هیجان! عنصری که جلد اول تقریبا فاقدش بود. سبک داستان و محتواش به شدت نو و قویه.
انتقاد من فقط به فصل تعقیب و گریزهای لی اسکوربی هست که اون فصل ها واقعا کسالت آوره! من که گذری از اون فصل ها رد میشدم شما رو نمیدونم :دی
جملات ماندگار:
وقتی آن همه اتفاقات عجیب و غریب در زمانی کوتاه میافتد، دیگر به سختی میشد از
It gets progressively worse as the need to hit the reader of the head with the fact that religion is evil becomes greater than that of telling an actual story. The plot makes so little sense it makes me cringe. First of all, why isn't anybody trying to fight the evil evil wicked oppressive nondescript all-encompassing, but probably 17th century Catholic Church inspired Church? I mean, it doesn't make any sense - everybody knows the Church are a bunch of deviant charlatans, yet nobody tries to qu ...more
William Thomas
I imagine myself a child when reading these, Pullman himself telling the story, blankets bunched up toward my face. They are at once frightening and beautiful books. The antithesis to Narnia in every aspect- from it's metaphor to it's elegance of prose.

(Read later for an interpretation of Eden as a cautionary tale)

Although I am not typically a fan of purposeful retellings, His Dark Materials is an exception. I read the Golden Compass and was so enthralled with it that I didn't begin to suspect i
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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
More about Philip Pullman...

Other Books in the Series

His Dark Materials (3 books)
  • The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)
  • The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3) His Dark Materials (His Dark Materials #1-3) Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version The Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart, #1)

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