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

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  260,399 Ratings  ·  5,831 Reviews
In a breathtaking sequel to The Golden Compass, readers follow adventures of Philip Pullman's epic fantasy trilogy chronicling the otherworldly adventures of Lura and her friend, Will. Intricate prose of this fast-paced story together has won honors such as ALA Best Book for Young Adults, Publishers Weekly Book of the Year and Horn Book Fanfare Honor.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published November 2nd 1999 by Alfred A. Knopf (first published July 22nd 1996)
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Kaitlin Moore-Morley So Atheism is the denial of God... I would say the book is more pantheistic or agnostic depending on how you choose to view the work. The witches have…moreSo Atheism is the denial of God... I would say the book is more pantheistic or agnostic depending on how you choose to view the work. The witches have their own goddess, there is a heaven, and angels, and hierarchy. But the book never addresses how the earth was formed other than dust formed the angels.

However there are nuggets of beauty for the person who chooses to believe in God, particularly in the third book when grace is addressed.

I'm a Christian pastor.... I love the church and all it is supposed to be and Pullman's world is often hostile to the church that is. I'm good with that. However, often times it's easy to be critical or reduce to a word [like that book is] "atheist" when your beliefs are threatened or the dark spots are pointed out by an outsider. It makes it easier to get people to ignore the work.... because God forbid there is a piece of fantasy fiction that isn't theologically accurate. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Bookworm Sean
When I read this the first time I completely overlooked a main component of the book. I approached it as if was the second book in the series, a massive mistake. I wrote a review criticising the fact that the novel felt awkward; it had no beginning or end: it just felt like the typical content you’d find in the middle of the story. The ironic point of this is that most critics take the trilogy as one whole book, rather than three separate works. And this really is the best way to approach the st ...more
Jan 04, 2008 Dan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
¡Ese FINAL!!!

te deja con la NECESIDAD de saber que sigue.

Estos no son libros infantiles, no se que se le metió al editor o a quien se lo ocurrió la brillante idea de clasificarlos de esa forma, pero a mi parecer que tengamos por protagonistas a niños no hace que el libro ipso facto sea infantil. Esta vez el centro de la historia, al parecer, es la búsqueda del padre de Will, pero una vez mas Pullman nos muestra que su trama es mas complicada de lo que aparenta ser.

Los puentes entre los mundos
Dec 04, 2007 Lucy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

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.
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
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
Xime García
Reseña de "Luces del Norte" (La Materia Oscura 1)
Reseña de "El Catalejo Lacado" (La Materia Oscura 3)

¿Habéis intervenido en la evolución humana?

¿Por qué?

Este segundo libro me gustó muchísimo más que el primero. Se dieron muchos giros, conocimos nuevos personajes y arribamos a nuevos mundos. Todo lo planteado en Luces del Norte gana mayor terreno (diría que colosal) y todo lo que pensábamos que podía ser de una forma, termina siendo de otra.

Sin embargo, puedo ver por qué hay alguno
David Schaafsma
Sep 07, 2012 David Schaafsma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the middle book in the trilogy, and I like the first and third volumes more, big surprise. More exposition, less action, more trudging to final destinations, but you know, the writing is still exquisite, and it has surprises. One of them is that after focusing on Lyra in the first series, this second book opens with a focus on yet another central character, Will. When I first read this I was confused, and more than a little disappointed, as I saw a wonderful strong girl character shoved ...more
May 08, 2012 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just as fantastic all these years later. Still shocking, still clever, still more grown up than a lot of 'adult' books out there. This book doesn't shy away, doesn't talk down, and definitely doesn't disappoint.
Jan 30, 2008 Annalisa rated it it was ok  ·  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
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
So, I'm re-reading this trilogy for the first time in like twelve years! I was curious to see what my stance on it would be after all this time. I remember loving the first book as a kid and then being a little iffy about books two and three ... and well, I think I liked this second installment a bit more as an adult, but I do still feel it's not quite as strong as the first book.

There are still a lot of things I love about The Subtle Knife:

• The world-building continues to be very entrancing, e
It has been a while since a book last left me with the desire to have my head trepanned and to become a shaman. And I suppose these days it is difficult to get on the training course and who knows if the pension scheme will be all that it was cracked out to be?

Reading I thought this business of the human mind and the flow of consciousness through a multiplicity of universes reminded me of something else. As always it takes some days for this kind of thought to percolate down to the answer - I re
Sep 06, 2008 C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 21, 2010 notgettingenough rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens

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
Mar 27, 2008 Brad rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
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
Feb 05, 2017 Ivana rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Iako imam problem sa tim kako Lajra u ovoj knjizi iskače iz svog obrasca ponašanja kako bi to odgovaralo radnji i dalje su mi sjajne ove knjige, možda čak i bolje nego prvi put kada sam ih preletela.
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
Nov 19, 2016 Vichy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ο 12χρονος Γουίλ Πάρι αφού έχει με ασφάλεια παρκάρει τη σαλεμένη μάνα του στην κυρία Κούπερ, την προ καιρού δασκάλα του του πιάνου, κυνηγημένος από δυο άντρες, ξεφεύγει μεταπηδώντας σε ένα άλλο κόσμο μέσα από ένα παράθυρο που τυχαία ανακάλυψε μια γάτα. Μαζί του κρατά τα γράμματα του χαμένου του πατέρα Τζον, εξερευνητή. Οι διώκτες του φαίνεται να τον αναζητούν για αυτές ακριβώς τις επιστολές. Σε αυτόν τον κόσμο, που η πόλη στην οποία προσγειώνεται ονομάζεται Τσιτάγκαζε είναι παράξενη καθώς δεν υπ ...more
Executive Summary: I liked this better than the first one, but I still don't seem to love this series like so many others.

Audiobook: The audio book was fantastic again. Not only the story narration but all of the voice readers make this a great choice in audio.

Full Review
So this book adds a second protagonist named Will whose seemingly from our world. I find him more likable than most of the other characters, including Lyra, but that's not saying very much. I just don't like most of the charac
Jun 10, 2012 Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, hometown-ya
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.
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!!
Jul 07, 2011 John rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Olivier Delaye
Feb 25, 2014 Olivier Delaye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this one better than The Golden Compass, probably because I’m such a sucker for parallel-world travel à la Dark Tower by Stephen King, but also because I didn’t find Lyra as irritating and obnoxious as I did in book 1. I think Will is a fitting addition to the trilogy, as well as a great sidekick to Lyra. The introduction of the angels and the specters is as surprising as it is welcome, bringing new life to the story which remains riveting—though not at all thought-provoking, even if I d ...more
Rebecca McNutt
I wasn't really a big fan of the first book in this series, especially since a major character was abruptly killed off for no good reason. However, The Subtle Knife is a lot less dark and more intense, adventurous and memorable in my opinion. New characters are introduced, new themes, and Lyra herself is older and knows what she's doing a lot better.
Aug 03, 2015 Fabian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Weird like the wizard of oz, magical like Harry Potter, and interesting, unlike Chronicles of Narnia. The symbolism is so agog, so strange... Obviously, it makes for a great young adult novel!
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
I took a break of a few years between reading The Golden Compass and its sequel, The Subtle Knife. And the 2nd book is just not as good as the 1st one (which I rated with 5 stars). The 1st book felt magical, with daemons, talking bears and the mysterious substance called Dust. The 2nd book just feels like another modern fantasy. And to be honest, I wasn't fully able to grasp all of what Pullman was trying to convey about religion. I'll read the 3rd book to see what happens, and I'm keeping faith ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, #1), Philip Pullman
عنوان: نیروی اهریمنی اش کتاب دوم - خنجر ظریف؛
کتاب اول شامل دو جلد بخش اول و دوم: سپیدهی شمالی؛ .- جلد سوم کتاب دوم: خنجر ظریف؛ و جلد چهارم و پنجم دوربین کهربایی
The magic we found in volume 1, The Golden Compass, is on display again in this second of the three volume fantasy classic, His Dark Materials. It may even be better than the first book. I'm looking forward to the final chapter in this amazing story.
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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)

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“Every little increase in human freedom has been fought over ferociously between those who want us to know more and be wiser and stronger, and those who want us to obey and be humble and submit.” 211 likes
“For a human being, nothing comes naturally,' said Grumman. 'We have to learn everything we do.” 69 likes
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