Liza's Reviews > The Amber Spyglass

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
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's review
Aug 06, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, young-adult-fantasy
Read in November, 2009

One of the first noticeable aspects about Pullman's final book in the His Dark Materials series is his willingness to tackle head on aspects of life that are categorized as being either morally right or wrong. It can easily be seen as a thematic book that condones homosexuality, atheism, and murder, but that's a simple base analysis of the book.

However, if any of those subjects disturb you, then you should leave this book on the shelf.

I truly believe this book is a teacher's dream come true, because it follows one of my main teaching principles. You expose the real world to students and tell them they are at an age to come to their own conclusions. I realize this book isn't for everyone, but the series ends on a high note.

By the end, you learn this book is a coming of age story centering around Lyra and Will. The two of them are completing their destiny and end up discovering who they are as people, what true spirituality means to them, and the beginning of one's first love.

Characters return from the previous books as Lyra sets out to find the world of the dead. While we follow her and Will, we learn of the final challenges that Ms. Coulter and Lord Asriel face. What readers will enjoy is that any questions lingering surrounding Lyra's parents and their true allegiances is finally revealed in a way that could only make sense.

There are segments that seem to linger longer than usual, especially where the Mulefa are concerned, but by the end all of the side stories are seamlessly tied together.

People may questions whether Pullman is able to pull off the prophecy and if Lyra is a symbolic representation of Eve. I think there is no definitive answer on this, because each person will interpret the ending differently. I can easily see people disagree over it.

The ending wasn't what I would have wanted for Will and Lyra, but Pullman does acknowledge that life isn't beautiful and perfect. All loose details and questions were answered to my full satisfaction.

As always, Pullman's writing is exquisite.

If one can complain about the book, it would be about the notion of Lyra and Will creating their own Kingdom of Heaven on earth. How can they really recreate paradise if they are not with the people they love? I question it, but I would assume that Pullman would respond that they were separated, because in the end they were destined to be apart. It may also depend on Pullman's interpretation of what a Heaven on earth would look like.

The book is wonderful, but like most series, if you wanted a sugary sweet ending you will be disappointed. However, if we really analyze the series, from the start, Pullman flirted with taboo subjects and took his readers on an unexpected roller coaster ride.

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