A decent but ultimately disappointing end to His Dark Materials. It certainly doesn't live up to the quality of the first two books. For the most partA decent but ultimately disappointing end to His Dark Materials. It certainly doesn't live up to the quality of the first two books. For the most part, it's a good adventure story, although Lyra loses some of her feisty individuality in following Will so faithfully, and he takes centre stage despite the fact that Lyra is the prophesied heroine. What I missed most however, was Pan. The focus is mostly on Will and Lyra, and Pan has almost no dialogue; for the most part, we just get an update on what shape he's in at the moment. Nevertheless, I was enjoying the novel up until the last few chapters.
The story becomes painfully corny, as if a Pullman fan with a taste for melodrama and a dislike of conflict took over, to build the tension before snuffing it out with neat, convenient solutions and redemptive second chances. Love conquers all (cliche intended) and is even able to douse the massive cosmic battle that's been brewing since The Northern Lights, without giving us more than a few tidbits of battle in the background. I didn't expect this twee twaddle from Pullman.
I'm a relatively demanding reader. I read for pleasure, but I don't read trash for fun, because the things that make a novel trashy, like bad writingI'm a relatively demanding reader. I read for pleasure, but I don't read trash for fun, because the things that make a novel trashy, like bad writing and glaring plot holes, also prevent me from enjoying whatever's supposed to be fun about it. And when I give a book my time and effort, I expect more than entertainment - I want beautiful writing, interesting ideas, the author's insights, intriguing character studies. Something to think about. Admittedly though, the pleasures of these things require some work, and sometimes I just want something light, simple, enjoyable. But I find it hard to find books like that because fun, easy reading so often implies a loss in quality. Which is why I was so glad to have read Garden Spells.
It's like hot buttered toast or macaroni cheese - nothing fancy, just a simple pleasure that offers all the indulgence you wanted. And like comfort food, it plays so well to your senses and emotions. The delicious descriptions of Claire's unusual cooking made me long to be in her kitchen, while an ideal balance of drama and triumph, good things and bad kept me very happily entertained without getting too soppy or too tragic. This is exactly what chick lit should be - fun, comforting and indulgent, without compromising on quality or drowning in melodrama. We need more books like this one - it's where your love of reading lives.
A female cyberpunk hero, parallel dimensions, and fusion of science fiction, fantasy, and mythology. I thought this would make for an amazing novel, oA female cyberpunk hero, parallel dimensions, and fusion of science fiction, fantasy, and mythology. I thought this would make for an amazing novel, or at least a very entertaining one, but it's poorly executed. Lila Black, despite the fact that she's supposed to be a hardcore cyborg, is annoyingly fragile on occasion, thanks to her machine parts rather than her meat. She seemed clunky rather than cool.
The rich fantasy/sf fusion I expected turned out to be a bit lame. It felt a lot like the author was writing a book designed to be turned into a movie, so while Keeping it Real might look really great on screen, on the page it had me rolling my eyes a lot of the time.
I did like the elven dimension very much though, despite the nagging feeling that some of it was just there to create an erotic atmosphere for intense elf/cyborg sex scenes. Confusion about the particulars of Lila's modified anatomy had me scratching my head a bit during these, but maybe I just wasn't paying enough attention.
While I was initially very keen to explore the other dimensions in later books, by the end of Keeping it Real I was disappointed enough to drop the series then and there.