‘The Subtle Knife’ – Philip Pullman
Will has just killed a man. He’s on the run. His escape will take him far beyond his own world, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra. Her fate is strangely linked to his own, and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds…
Continuing with ‘His Dark Materials’ Trilogy, the reader is a little thrown when we are presented with a new character in a world that is identical to our own. A couple of chapters in and we begin to recognise the fantastical elements that had us hooked in the previous novel. And I think it is this slower paced start that made this novel a bit of work getting in to, especially after the momentum that had built up at the end of ‘Northern Lights ‘.
Pullman has made this novel a lot darker than the previous story; it is as if he anticipates his readers have “grown up” and so has created the more complex character of Will. His situation is so bleak that the reader can quickly sympathise with him and when he does finally meet Lyra, you know it signifies a positive turn in his life.
Part of this story is set in the world that we know. It is entertaining to read about Lyra’s perception of “our world”, and it is like role reversal for the reader from the first novel. That said, Pullman has once again created another new universe in which the action takes place, and in comparison to the others, again shows a more darker side to his writing, something that I expect to continue in the final instalment.
All that aside, once you get started with the story, it is a very good read with plenty of moments of surprise and tension. The pace does build after the initial slow start and whilst there is a lot more fighting in this story, it is great to see some characters return from the first story. If ‘Northern Lights ‘ hooked you, then I would definitely recommend reading this to see what happens to Lyra next.
For my review on the first novel in this trilogy, ‘Northern Lights’, click here https://mrsbrownsbooks.wordpress.com/2013/10/16/a-fantasy-that-ticks-all-the-boxes/