Sarah's Reviews > The Amber Spyglass

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
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's review
Jun 18, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: middle-grade, ya, fantasy
Read from June 18 to July 02, 2011

Pullman brings his His Dark Materials trilogy to a satisfying conclusion for the reader, but maybe not for some of the characters. With all the build up in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. I was really worried that bringing everything to a successful end was going to be the problem, but Pullman manages to complete Lyra's story and those of all the other characters we meet throughout her adventures (I'm trying to be super non-spoilery).

Lately I've found myself not wanting to start a series unless I know they finish well, and I was certainly not steered wrong with this one.

My one complaint with the whole series that I haven't mentioned so far has to do with the reason why some church groups have been having problems with these books. I don't mind that Philip Pullman's an atheist. I don't mind that he has criticisms against religious organizations. I myself have some degree of many of the same concerns.

And I do find it interesting that the books don't ask whether God exists but whether those who claim to be serving God are actually doing so. That is certainly a worthwhile question somewhat tied up with the transition from innocence to adulthood that these books also explore.

My problem is that Pullman seems so assured that those claiming to serve God NEVER have pure motives and will ALWAYS be corrupted by power, so that no religious organization EVER can be trusted. Asking worthwhile questions is good, and in the case of this story, the answer became clear as the plot unfolded, but trying so hard to force that answer to apply to all situations is, honestly, a little adolescent. So many times throughout these books Pullman encourages us to see the exceptions to rules all over the place. The world is clearly a complex and un-uniform place. So why on this one issue does he try to argue that there is a hard and fast constant uniformity?

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06/18/2011 page 10
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