This book was a struggle to read, partially because my copy of the book is so big and bulky to actually read, partially because it got weird as hell, and partially because of the constant perspective changes (trying to remember what happened to each character was hard). But the wonderful descriptions and how the story was told kept me invested until the very end.
Lyra and Will now understand the importance of the task ahead, but with plenty of obstacles standing in their way, they’ll need the help of everyone they’ve encountered so far, and new characters, to beat the odds and fulfil the prophecy. But will they succeed, or will the obstacles prove too difficult to overcome?
Oh my god! This book gets so weird! I’m still confused about what happened, but also it was tied up so nicely, despite all the tragedy and drama. Jesus, Lyra and Will deserve some happiness after this, especially after that ending. Those poor kids!
What I Like
- Lyra and Will’s friendship blossoming into something more – I appreciate how they handled the relationship changing because they’re kids discovering their feelings for the first time and that’s beautiful
- Lyra’s parents character growth – they still love each other! I don’t know to what extent Lord Asriel does, but Mrs Coulter cared for Lyra! They sacrificed themselves for Lyra! They were such cold hearted people before, but they changed because of Lyra
- Seeing all the characters come together to help Lyra and Will – whether they were introduced in this book or earlier, it was so great to see everyone band together to help the two kids fulfil the prophecy
- Everything was actually explained – Dust, the Spectres, all of it actually had a reasonable explanation, and also had a reasonable solution to fix it all
What I Don’t Like
- [SPOILER] How could you do that to Will and Lyra?! – they discovered they loved each other and you’re telling me they can never see each other again? Just rip out my heart! It’d be less painful
- Mary Malone as the ‘tempter’ – maybe I’m just dumb, but I had to resort to Google to figure out how Mary Malone was the serpent/’tempter’ cos it wasn’t actually explained properly
- The constant perspective changes confused me – I had to constantly remember what happened to each character and pay attention to see how it all tied together
Writing Element Thoughts
I can’t fault Philip Pullman on his writing style because it’s truly excellent. His descriptions were magnificent until the very end, although even with his brilliant descriptions, I struggled to visualise certain things (mulefa, intention craft) that I had to resort to Google. The descriptions helped enhance the story and really visualise what was happening (mostly).
The characterisation was still brilliant. The character growth with the previously introduced characters made me feel sympathetic towards them, even if their actions weren’t always the right thing to do. Mrs Coulter, for instance, went through some good character growth, from being a cold hearted woman to caring deeply about her daughter. Also, the characters actually felt the effects of what they were doing: Lyra and Will got injured, muddy and fatigued after going on their epic quest, and other characters lost their lives. It gave the story a sense of realism.
The story structure was still present throughout, but it didn’t seem to flow as seamlessly as in the first book. Even the second book struggled with this. The reason being, once you try to change the perspective from each chapter, you have to remember what happened with each character, and sometimes you lose their plot thread along the way. However, that being said, the explanations for everything and why it had happened tied together the story nicely and ended in a somewhat satisfying way (nope, I’m not over what he did to Lyra and Will).
I can see why religious people wouldn’t like this series, and I now understand exactly what people meant when they called this series weird. But for the descriptions alone, the series is well worth reading. Or at least, the first book is. It can be quite hard to keep track of what’s going on at times.