Lynne's Reviews > The Amber Spyglass

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
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's review
Sep 03, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy-sci-fi, mythology
Recommended to Lynne by: Saw the film version of "The Golden Compass" and had to read the
Recommended for: people who aren't afraid to examine the darker side of organized religion
Read in November, 2009

I hardly ever give anything five stars. Yeah, I'm that picky. The third book in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy ends the series with a whimper more than a bang, but the business of saving the world from itself is never done, so I really didn't mind the ambiguous ending. While the pacing and plotting aren't as controlled as in the first two books, I never had to fight the urge to throw the book at the wall, so it must not have been too bad, given that in my old age I become less and less patient with nonsense.

There have been comments from the Goodreads community on this book to the effect of, "Pullman broke all the rules by introducing a main character so late in the series." I didn't have a problem with that, other than that Mary's storyline isn't that well developed and she serves more as a plot device. A writer as talented as Pullman should know better.

Mary's story of how she lost her faith resonated with me on a visceral level (having left a cult myself I found myself able to relate completely to the feelings and insights Mary expressed). It was a little obvious that Mary is Pullman's voice against organized religion, and the "forbidden fruit" scene felt completely phony and contrived.

Otherwise, the series, taken as a whole, is a great read, even if the third book had some disappointing moments.

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09/03/2009 page 25
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