‘The Amber Spyglass’ – Philip Pullman
Will and Lyra, whose fates are bound together by powers beyond their own worlds, have been violently separated. But they must find each other, for ahead of them lies the greatest war that has ever been – and a journey to a dark place from which no one has ever returned…
Philip Pullman pulls out all the stops with ‘The Amber Spyglass’. Considerably longer than the other two novels, this thrilling and face-paced novel leaves you breathless with anticipation about what is in store for our two heroes, Lyra and Will.
Pullman uses the same tricks that worked so well in the previous novels and delights fantasy readers with witches, small people, and heavenly wars, all moving between different worlds. It is brilliant to imagine the worlds that Pullman has created and each time the landscape changes, the reader is left wanting to go back to the previous, but at the same time being drawn into the next twist of the story.
The religious debate is far more prevalent in this novel. If readers had not picked up on the subtle undertones previously, it is difficult to miss it in ‘The Amber Spyglass’. It does not ruin the story but I think you could become easily distracted by what Pullman is suggesting. Don’t let yourself be one of those readers, but enjoy the story for what it is; leave the religious debate in the back of your head until you have finished.
There are few books where you have a physical reaction to the ending and this is one of them. I found the novel charging towards its ending and although I had an inkling in the back of my head of what was to come, I had to read faster, as if to prove myself wrong. It is this inevitable ending – both with the how the story finishes, combined with the fact that this is the final book in the series – that made me sigh when I had read the final words. This was a sigh of satisfaction, knowing that I had read a well-written novel; a sigh of exhaustion – like I had been on the adventure with Lyra and Will; and a sigh of despair – that I couldn’t change the ending.
If nothing else, read ‘His Dark Materials’ to feel satisfied about reading a solid fantasy novel; I hope everything else will just come from the pleasure of reading this great piece of literature.