Dan's Reviews > The Amber Spyglass
by Philip Pullman
bookshelves: audiobooks, fantasy, young-adult-juvenile
Ultimately, Pullman's reach exceeded his grasp. He just tried to cram too big a story into his trilogy (and especially in this last book). There are too many characters with incomplete story lines, who pop into the main narrative a little too frequently and a little too conveniently to save the protagonists. Properly fleshed out, this probably would have gone on for another novel or two. But by then, YA and adult readers alike would have lost interest because the story ultimately just isn't that interesting or satisfying.
The philosophical/metaphysical/theological point that Pullman introduces is just too muddled. Is the Authority God? Is Metatron? How can a being that "runs" multiple earths (if not their whole universes) be tricked so easily? And what the hell happens at the conclusion of the battle with the Kingdom of Heaven? We never learn because Lyra and Will just pop through to a different world and then completely lose interest in whether their friends survive. They never even once mention the battle again! Even 12-year-olds are not that self-absorbed.
In the end, I just kept listening because I had already committed so much time to the book. But had I never checked the book out from the library, I probably would never have missed knowing how the trilogy ended.