Bonnie's Reviews > The Subtle Knife

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
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Jan 02, 08

Recommended for: high school and above
Read in January, 2008

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 in your face and you can't really refute some of the rationales he uses. But I am at a loss sometime to understand if his argument is against "God" or the "Authority."

A friend of mine refuses to read it because she has the impression that the a great part of this trilogy is an indictment against God. Yet, I am religious and this doesn't challenge me as it might her. Fascinating. I love provocative books and this one certainly is.

And, I don't really know that this is a book I would recommend to young children. The issue I have was published by Scholastic and says for children grades 5-8. I know that it is an adventure featuring children but I don't know that what the author is saying will really make sense. But perhaps it is like all reading. There first reading and then on subsequent reads you are able to apprehend better what the author is saying. The subtle layers are peeled off.

All in all, I'd say this is an excellent read and probably, at some point, I'll change my rating to 5 stars. But right now I'm a little miffed and he's going to stay right where he is.

I'd recommend to older children, perhaps high school and above. The violence and some of the sexual aspects merit this.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Dottie I can see where some might feel challenged regarding this book. It throws a lot of church dichotomy in your face and you can't really refute some of the rationales he uses. But I am at a loss sometime to understand if his argument is against "God" or the "Authority."

A friend of mine refuses to read it because she has the impression that the a great part of this trilogy is an indictment against God. Yet, I am religious and this doesn't challenge me as it might her. Fascinating. I love provocative books and this one certainly is.



All in all, I'd say this is an excellent read and probably, at some point, I'll change my rating to 5 stars. But right now I'm a little miffed and he's going to stay right where he is.


AMEN to that. And I might say, your "take" on this is very much in line with my own, BTW. I was so upset by the ending of this one that it was months before I read the final vol;ume even though I was absolutely dying to do so because I wanted to know what happened next and in the end.

As for the age of reader. I don't know how old my daughter was when she first read these -- I'll have to find out. I DO think many fifth graders are ready for a first reading at least of these though -- fifth graders as I knew them back in 1998 and who as a group have likely moved into still another dimension since that time could easily have been good candidates for this series. And as you say -- later readings often differ anyway even when first and later are as adults.

I'm enjoying your "take" on these as you progress through the series.





Bonnie Dottie - I am upset at the ending. So sad. But I want to finish because my fifteen year old is reading and I like to be able to talk to him about these kinds of books (hey, anytime he'll talk to me, I'm glad for it).

It's very, very provocative. I'd say I have much less difficulty with the sex than I do with the violence.


message 3: by Dottie (last edited Jan 02, 2008 08:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dottie Oh yes -- any talking point is good with our children whatever their age.

And I want to go back to the issue of whether the argument is with God or with the authority. I finally decided for myself which I believed it was though I'm not clear enough on the details now to explain why. Nor am I going to say outright which I think because I know I can still see points either way. I am good at knowing what I believe and still fence-sitting for discussion's sake when need be -- though some see that as simply being wishy-washy, I like to think of it as being tolerant of other views.


Bonnie Yes - I can see wanting to keep an open mind with this book. For a couple of days I was a little upset with my friend. She is not an avid reader. I did not expect her to read the trilogy but she has censored her children. No that I've thought about it, I realize that it her choice and that the kids will be able to decide for themselves once they are older.
I have to understand that not everyone is the same about reading.
I do tell my children if I think they should wait to read something. But i probably wouldn't say an absolute "no" in most cases, especially given the fact that they are very big readers and we get a chance to discuss things.
Getting ready to start the last one. Wish me luck! I certainly will be emailing you after I finish.


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