HIS DARK MATERIALS – BOOK SERIES REVIEW

Name of the Series: His Dark Materials
No. of Books in the Series: 3
Book One: Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass)
Book Two: The Subtle Knife
Book Three: The Amber Spyglass
Author: Philip Pullman
No. of pages: 399 + 341 + 522 = 1262
Publisher: Scholastic
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Appropriate for Age Group: 13 years and above
Do I recommend it? Hell, yeah!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Book One: Northern Lights or The Golden Compass

ABOUT THE BOOK:

This book is set in a world that is a LOT like ours. But the humans of this world have a constant spirit companion with them in this world, referred to as their daemon. Northern Lights takes us through the highly adventurous journey of Lyra Belacqua and her daemon, Pantalaimon. Lyra, an orphan, has lived in the Jordan College of Oxford all her life. She’s a brave, curious, and clever girl of twelve years old who’s friends with the kitchen boy, Roger. What they love to do, is explore, in and outside of the Jordan College premises.

When one day, Roger disappears, and Lyra suspects The Gobblers being behind this, she’s determined to bring her friend back. However, her curious little mind keeps her busy with all kinds of things. Like, the Dust. Like, her Uncle Asriel and his expedition to the North. Like, the woman with the golden monkey. Like, the Golden Compass.

Hop on with Lyra and Pan, on a rollercoaster ride, if you want to know what happened to Roger, the kitchen boy, and if Lyra ever rescues him.

MY READING EXPERIENCE:

What I loved about the book is that it was fast-paced and full of adventures, curiosity, explorations, friendships, learning and unlearning, and of course, magic. It is a perfect book to get someone started on reading as it’s going to keep the reader on toes.

To be honest, Lyra’s character is nothing like me, but I really liked her courageous nature and her innocence. As you read along the series, you’ll realize how this trilogy is a LOT more than just a bunch of adventures, but Lyra’s innocence, stays throughout the end. Her capacity to love and the depth of her emotions are going to make you envy her. But her growth as a character, and her determination to stay true to her intentions are commendable.

Book Two: The Subtle Knife

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The second book of this series starts far away from where the first book ends. To be exact, there’s a whole new world in between. Now, if you’ve been following my Instagram stories while I read this series, you’ll know how I kept mentioning that there are multiple worlds to encounter in these pages. The Subtle Knife takes us to a twelve-year-old boy, named Will Parry, who is trying his best to take care of her dazed and unwell mother. Will’s world is more like ours (for example, they don’t have daemons like Lyra’s world’s humans).

Will’s father, John Parry, had disappeared when he was just a baby. Since then, it has been his mother and him, while growing up. As Will grew up, he noticed that there was something about his mother that was strange and he also became aware of the fact that some people were always after them.

When it started getting out of hand, Will decided that it was enough, and left her mother at a caring neighbor’s house, and ventured out to find his missing father. On his quest, he finds someone and something unexpected. This was the quickest read of the three books but with a heart-breaking ending.

MY READING EXPERIENCE:

The thing which was most interesting about this book was that I finally found a character that I could relate to. Yes, Will Parry was a relatable character for me. Since this book started in a different world, it kind of felt like a new book at first and then I kept wondering when and where and how is he going to meet Lyra. Or is he going to meet her at all?

The multiple worlds sounds a bit cumbersome but I assure you, Philip Pullman’s writing slides you through the worlds as smooth as the Subtle Knife works. Towards the end of the book, you’ll finally start to realize what this series is actually about and what the author had intended to do.

Book Three: The Amber Spyglass

ABOUT THE BOOK:

The third book in the series starts slow. A LOT has happened in the previous two books and things are quite all over the worlds, to be honest. But the good thing about this part was the introduction of new creatures in another new world. There’s another main character in this trilogy who’s introduced briefly in the second book but her role in this part is much more. She’s Dr. Mary Malone, a physicist who’s investigating Dark Matter.

Psst, I was watching The Big Bang Theory at the same time and guess what Dr. Sheldon Cooper was working on?

MY READING EXPERIENCE:

As I mentioned before, this book was a bit slow-paced and spread out over a number of worlds. It took me time to plod through it as the intention of the book became clearer. The characters were still struggling their way through to reach their destinies and the initial mystery of the series comes back halfway through this book. I really loved the new creatures that were introduced and the growth of certain other characters made me really swell towards the end.

This book ended up a bit disappointing because I wasn’t really expecting the author to actually end it the way he had intended it to. I am trying to not give out any spoilers here. Because I believe, we all have different perspectives and takeaways while reading a book and I’d like you to have your own. Although, at a certain point, the actual purpose of the series becomes crystal clear and it becomes quite impossible to ignore it.

Buy this on Amazon or Flipkart.

Read my review of Ram Chandra Series by Amish Tripathi

Spoiler Alert: The next part of the post might qualify as spoiler.

His Dark Materials trilogy is basically fighting against a religion or the ideologies of The Church. Since I’m not a very religious person myself, I failed to recognize the signs at first. But there are snippets and reference to The Bible and I only took note of that after I read the review by a fellow Bookstagrammer. And I quite agree with him on the part that Philip Pullman becomes so determined to uproot the ideas of Christianity that the characters just become mere puppets to fulfil his agenda towards the end.

Quick Question: Do you read Fantasy or Science Fiction? What was the last book you read from this genre?

17 Thoughts on “HIS DARK MATERIALS – BOOK SERIES REVIEW

  1. My last fantasy read (well if you consider dystopian novels as fantasy) would be the Handmaid’s Tale. I really liked your elaborate take on these books. I am adding them for my reading list. Thank you for the review…

    1. I loved reading The Handmaid’s Tale. The sequel is still waiting on my shelf though. And thanks for adding these to your wishlist. Means a lot that my review could convince you. 😀

  2. I have always loved these books! I read them years and years ago but recently reread them. In the US we call the first book The Golden Compass, but I really love the cover art on the Northern Lights book you shared.

    1. Yes, I’ve watched the movie The Golden Compass as a child and I knew since then there were books first. Thank God, I finally read them. Thanks for reading my review!

  3. I loved these books when I was younger (and totally did not get the references to the church when I read them at the time) and enjoyed the series last year when it aired. These reviews really bring back fond memories of them and makes me want to read them again. Great reviews.

      1. Well yes, I do love reading fantasy and science fiction because we all deserve a fantastic escape from the gloomy reality. I guess, my last read in science fiction was Rhythm Roger by Himanshu Rai.

    1. Thank you! If you love the cocktail of science fiction, fantasy and adventure, then you must check out this trilogy. 🙂

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