Books I Loathed discussion

Loathed Titles > The Amber Spyglass

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message 1: by Gulliver (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Gulliver I read the first two books of His Dark Materials and thought they were pretty good with lots of creative ideas and I definitely wanted to see how it would end in the Amber Spyglass.

But after I finished The Amber Spyglass I almost felt like it was a practical joke - this series was getting such critical acclaim but the last book seemed like a gigantic mess to me. The plot was all over the place and nothing seemed to resolve itself, and I didn't feel like I knew any of the characters at all. This was five years ago - and I still hear how great these books are. I almost want to reread this book just to make sure I'm not crazy. But it seems easier just to complain on goodreads and see if anyone else agrees with me or not!

message 2: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Rindis | 18 comments I've only read the first book. I thought it was good, but not as good as the acclaim it seemed be be getting. I got a report from a friend that it did not turn out well after a good start... so I haven't gotten around to the rest. At the least, I can tell you there's someone else who agrees with you.

message 3: by Christy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Christy I loved the third book - stayed up all night to finish it. I was haunted by the resolution of Lyra and Will's story. It's been a few years since I've read them, but you can count me in as one of the ones hyping them up. :) They were a fantastic read.

message 4: by Elaine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Elaine (urbanbamboo) | 7 comments I am so disappointed to hear most of this (except Christy's review)! I just bought all three a few weekends ago to ease my transition out of the Harry Potter series. Curses. Is there a better series out there besides Narnia?

message 5: by Rindis (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Rindis | 18 comments Yes! The beauty of all art is that there is always something better, in its own way.

You may want to check out this thread.

(Curses! "a href" tags don't work!)

message 6: by Elaine (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:19PM) (new)

Elaine (urbanbamboo) | 7 comments Excellent! Thank you, Rindis. These should keep me busy for a while. :-)

message 7: by Jordan (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Jordan | 2 comments oh no. you guys are only complaining about the last book. which means i really am alone in hating the series. (well, to be fair i stopped partway through the second, but since everyone was so crazy for the first and i hated it so much, i didn't think reading on was going to change much.) i never believed that lyra was a kid, i felt like she could have been 20 and there'd be no difference, and i never got into the whole animal soulmate bit. yes, it was something new, but he never emotionally pulled it off for me.

message 8: by Caroline (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Caroline You're not alone, Jordan! I only slogged through the whole series out of feeling like it was necessary, since everyone praised it so much and I normally love fantasy y/a novels... The first one I found to be decent, but not great, whereas the second two just made me want to stab things.

I might try them again sometime, since I feel really badly about hating them so much, but I'm not sure. It's just so many people whose opinions I normally respect swear by them, which I think is where a lot of my guilt comes from.

message 9: by Laura (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:40PM) (new)

Laura (laurabenson) | 5 comments Oh, I loved this series! But I understand why some people wouldn't like it. There's a lot to absorb.

I still think Pullman is one of the better writers around. I think he's brilliant.

message 10: by Christy (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Christy (christymtidwell) | 4 comments I'm truly baffled by the response to these books. I just finished them and I loved them. Maybe someone could be more specific about why they didn't like the books. For fairness' sake, here are some reasons I *did* like the books.

I thought the characters were intriguing, believable, and, perhaps most important for this kind of book, able to change and grow through the course of the series, both as individuals and in relation to one another. Like the other Christy who commented above, Lyra and Will's relationship really resonated with me.

The daemon element was at first difficult to get into, I admit. Not a challenging concept, but a challenge to start to *feel* as important. I don't think that really happened for me until the very end of the first book, maybe even the beginning of the second book. But once that shift occurred, I had absolutely no trouble with it. In fact, I think it's one of the best parts of the series. The idea that we could each have such a daemon (although we can't see ours), something that *is* part of us and that also reveals something about who we really are, is just plain cool. When I finished the series, I found myself wishing I had a daemon myself.

I loved the settings--all of them clearly visualized and worth exploring. From Lyra's cold, northern world of the first book to the beautiful and very different world Mary Malone encounters in the third book, these were all places I wanted to see for myself, places I would love to explore. So Pullman's writing created this desire for me and allowed me to fulfill it to a certain degree, too.

I really thought the commentary on angels and God and the relationship between religion and our lives was interesting. It's not a super-deep theological or philosophical commentary on these things, sure, but to expect a y/a novel to be such would be unfair and unrealistic. As it is, the approach to life that Pullman's attitude toward religion provides in the third book is one that I appreciate and could support.

Okay. Sorry. This comment got a little long as I got thinking about how much I liked the books. I really would like to know more about what others didn't like about the series, though. What specifically didn't work for you?

message 11: by Maria (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:45PM) (new)

Maria | 19 comments I agree that the third book needed some serious work, but in my opinion all its bad points (the slow beginning, the mess of a battle scene at the end) were redeemed by a few stellar parts. For example, I think Mary's world is rather the zenith of Pullman's imagery, and Lyra's journey through Hell is horrifying, heart-wrenching, and beautiful (even though she should have seen the dead angel there). So I still walked away from the series with that stunned feeling of a book well chosen.

I had a few problems with books one and two, but not as many. Personally, I think the only real flaw in The Golden Compass/Northern Lights is the last scene with Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter. I thought that was badly written and misplaced.

message 12: by Caroline (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:45PM) (new)

Caroline Well, it's been about 10 years since I read them so I can't give any specifics on what I hated about them, just generals lasting impressions. I remember being bored out of my skull, and I remember feeling like the whole thing was really bland and uninteresting. That and I've never much cared for books that get overly preachy, and at the time I felt like Pullman went a bit far into the Christianity bit than felt appropriate.

But, again, it has been about 10 years, and I do want to give them a second shot.

message 13: by Gisela (new)

Gisela (chicadorlando) I have to agree with Jordan and Caroline. I hated the whole series. Well, maybe not all of it. I did like the first book, but the second and third... UGH! I disliked them so much that I threw the whole series in the trash. I really felt disappointed, sorry but they didn't work for me.

message 14: by Emma (last edited Oct 26, 2008 05:38PM) (new)

Emma I absolutely loved the first book when I first read it at 10. It became an instant favourite. However, I had to wait a few years for the second one to come to Canada and a few years after that for the final installation.

I'm still not entirely sure whether the last book was so disappointing because I read it as an adult or because it was just not a very good book. But I have not allowed the failings of the last book to interfere with my enjoyment of the first book.

message 15: by Julie (new)

Julie | 3 comments I liked the books, for the most part...Like a lot of people here are saying, I liked the first one a lot, and then it kinda went downhill from there. I think there were really good parts, but as a whole the last two seemed to be a bit long, and kinda depressing.
I can't see myself reading them again because of that. I would re-read the first one, but what's the point if I don't want to re-read the other two?
To me, wanting to re-read a book is the sign of whether I really liked it or not.

message 16: by Brigid ✩ (new)

Brigid ✩ I loved the first one. The second one was okay, but I hate Will, and he kind of took over the story. And The Amber Spyglass was just ... strange. I didn't understand it at all. Of course, I read it in fifth grade, so maybe that's why. Then again, I just reread parts of it last summer, and I still didn't quite get it. Hmmm ...

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