Nian's Reviews > The Subtle Knife

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
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's review
Nov 09, 07

liked it
bookshelves: 2007
Recommended for: Fantasy readers
Read in November, 2007

This is the second book to the His Dark Materials trilogy, which quickly follows up Lyra Silvertongue's journey as she crosses through Dust and into another world. In this installment, the character called Will Parry is introduced. He is a twelve (thirteen?) year old boy who accidentally killed a man. On the run from the mysterious men who are after something of his father's, Will coincidently finds the "portal" to another world, where he meets Lyra. This is a horrible summary, I know, but all I can say is that there are a lot of different worlds and the main characters travel back and forth multiple times to accomplish different tasks.

Although the second book was good and Philip Pullman proved to be an awesome writer, there were things that stood out to me. For starters, (and if you don't want to be spoiled, stop reading the review right now) the death of Stanislaus Grumman was unnecessary and way too awkward. Will and his father were meeting for the first time and about to recognize each other when out came the arrow shot by an angry witch that killed Grumman. I mean, come on! That is so out of the blue. If the character really had to die, there should have been some kind of warning and a definite aftermath. Will isn't supposed to be like: "Okay, my father just died. I have to do this and that now." It just doesn't FLOW. Not to me, anyway.

Another reason why I rated this four stars was because of the writing. I like the author's use to vocabulary and his captivating setences, but I oftentimes found myself lost. If I stopped reading the book in the middle of a chapter and went back to it a few hours later, I would be re-reading the same paragraphs and not getting a word in. It's like, when you first start reading, it's a bit uncomfortable, but as you keep going, you find that you can't put it down. But when you eventually stop at a certain point, then go back to it later, it doesn't seem so fabulous a book anymore. What I'm trying to say is this: I think His Dark Materials is better suited for a one LONG read where the reader reads the entire book at once to enjoy it fully. And since I kept stopping chapter after chapter, it just seemed like I lost myself plenty of times whilst reading.

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