If you haven’t read the ENTIRE three books, please don’t read any further. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you because the ending is so endearing and…If you haven’t read the ENTIRE three books, please don’t read any further. I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you because the ending is so endearing and…..lasting, that I would HATE to take it away from you.
I absolutely fell in love with Lyra. Didn’t you? She was the sister I wish I would have had growing up. She was myself as I played with all of my brothers in the mudfields, she was the daughter I’m sure every woman would yearn to have. In my opinion, Philip Pullman was brilliant in his creation of this little girl. Her flaws were her strength just as much as her strengths were her salvation. And when you take her inquisitive innocence and throw in Will’s brave maturity…..together, the two of them are almost too much to bear. I was heady with adoration for the two of them combined. I’m sure some would say they were too perfect together, too sappy, too trite. But my cynicism runs deep and my heart was still touched. Maybe it’s because I’m a girl or because my heart still remembers the depth of that first love. The absoluteness of it. My heart remembers “Going to China”, (haa haa) and it longs to visit again.
Will was the boy every girl wants to fall in love with. Loyal, strong, clever, honest, sweet and faithful. I hated him for agreeing to close every single window except one, but loved him for his dedication to do what’s “right”. I wanted to shake him and tell him that when he gets older he will realize that one more window wouldn’t have mattered – that what he was at Lyra’s side was worth one silly little window in the fabric of the worlds. But of course, he wouldn’t listen to me, because he is young and doesn’t know how rare True Love is. So I sighed (and cried) and watched them (felt them!) split forever. And I agonized over whether they would ever figure out how to Astral Project into eachother's lives. And if the one would wait for the other when they died, so that they could walk out the window they created hand in hand. I could literally picture them sitting there on that bench for an hour each year, aching for eachother once again. Sigh....
I liked how Mrs. Coulter was deep enough to be both intrinsically evil and love Lyra with a blindly, maternal love in the end. I liked how the Master at Jordon and John Faa were father figures in their own ways. I liked little Roger’s complete faith and how Iorek’s devotion was tempered with a knowledge that was higher than either of the children’s.
I did find Mary Malone unbearably boring and found myself wishing away any chapter having to deal with her and her mulefa. Get back to the real story of Lyra and Will! I could have done without her entire story line.
And of course there was Pantalaimon. How much do we all wish we had a dæmon that we could see, touch, talk to, rely on? How much fun would it be to have a morphing little partner in everything we do? Ahhh, was a fun concept to explore and probably the very secret to HDM’s success. Pullman’s descriptions of the different dæmon’s throughout each book were descriptive, imaginative and comical.
All in all, an excellent book. I wish I would have read it slower so that I could have enjoyed Lyra and Will's company a little longer.
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 iUntil 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 Particles and Theology snuggle right up against equally introspective looks at Love, Friendship, Loyalty, Family and Honor. Quite frequently, I found myself looking at the cover of these books again and again to ensure that I was indeed reading a “children’s” novel. When did this genre get so deep? I don’t remember reading anything this remarkable when I was younger. No offense to you, Encyclopedia Brown, my dear friend.
While I hesitate to compare to Potter, I want to point out one main difference which I think is very important to anyone thinking about purchasing this series for their intrepid young reader….while HP deals with the strong ideals of good vs. evil, HDM leans heavily into the actual concepts of both, dissecting each, questioning the origins, challenging the pedestals each stand on. In HP, evil is simply evil. HDM doesn’t assume any such nonsense. If there is evil, it forces the reader to consider why they think that something is evil. Is it really? Or are you just looking at it from a different perspective? Also….for those who thought the HP series was too religious, reader beware of the HDM series. Pullman isn’t vague. He labels his players in the battle of good vs. evil – calling the church, the creator and religions out by name. Note this example: In book three, this sentence appears: “The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all.” Again – I wondered if this was merely an adult book cloaked in child’s clothing (as I lapped up every word).
I thought that the struggles between the Church, The Authority, the Creator, Dust, The Council etc. were deep but thoroughly engrossing. I embraced how Pullman questioned the very beginnings of organized religion and of the creator himself. He turned everything on its ear: Ghosts, Angels, Witches and even Death. He is essentially challenging every reader, regardless of age, to look at the world around you. Why do we trust, why do we believe, what is faith, what is truth? Maybe things are different than what they seem. Perhaps there is more out there than our extremely limited view of physics, theology and cosmology is currently telling us. Maybe the world isn’t round after all. Maybe it’s infinitely layered and unbearably more beautiful than we ever knew.
I’m putting this in my top five for now. Those of you who know me know that this category fluctuates a bit here and there. New favorite reads come along, old one’s fade away as I forget why I loved the world it painted for me. But for now, this series goes in my five. Because, as with every other book in my top five, the characters stayed with me long after I closed the back cover. I cared about them, I felt like I had made new friends and was physically sad to say goodbye to them. And THAT is what makes a book better than just “good”. That is what makes it endearingly wonderful, to the point that you carress the book's cover lovingly everytime you come across it. And becomes one you would recommend to others without hesitation. ...more