After finishing Northern Lights, I wanted a little break before diving into The Subtle Knife. Granted, that little break ended up being a week, and nearly two weeks if I hadn’t sat myself down and started reading. Thanks to self-isolation/social distancing, I was able to sit down and read about 50 pages a day, so as you can imagine, catching up and finishing it was a relatively easy task. Especially once the plot picked up again.
I’m taking another mini break to process what’s happened so far before I dive back into the weirdness that I know is still to come. I’m sure it’ll suck me back in almost instantaneously cos it felt like the book shouldn’t have ended where it did. It almost feels like it ended mid scene, which is never a good idea.
Lyra Belacqua meets Will Parry in a world neither have been to, but which acts as a safe space between the two worlds, both of which have their own dangers to the pair. They overcome obstacles together and come to trust one another as they realise their fates are now intertwined, and everything rests on them and the decisions they make.
What the hell? No seriously, what’s going on? I can see what people mean when they say this series gets weird, and I can also see why religious people don’t like the series because I suspect a massive dig is coming towards the church/religion. But I’m still insanely curious for an explanation that I sincerely hope is coming.
What I Like
- I like Lyra and Will’s friendship – they learned how to help and trust one another, especially now they know their fates are intertwined
- The perspective changes were helpful – they told us what was happening elsewhere that helped move the plot along and give us more info about Lyra & Will’s fate
- I’m still insanely curious about Dust – the Spectres seek it out and suck it out of you in Cittàgazze, while the Magisterium fear it in Lyra’s world, but what is it exactly?
What I Didn’t Like
- Spoiler alert: Will had no time with his father – he’s spent his whole life searching for his father and you couldn’t even give them five minutes to reunite? Come on!
- The kids just stoning that poor cat – there wasn’t any good reason for them doing so! That poor cat didn’t deserve such mistreatment
Writing Element Thoughts
Have I mentioned Philip Pullman is a brilliant writer? Because he is. He created an alternative world that I could properly visualise thanks to his stunning descriptions. Cittàgazze sounds like a wondrous place, if I knew I wouldn’t die thanks to Spectres, and sounds exactly like a Mediterranean place I’ve been to before. Also, little point to add: Spectres sound horrific, but the way Philip Pullman describes them, they sound like creepy ghosts. I can’t wait to see how they’ll show them in the TV adaptation!
The story moved mostly seamlessly through once again, and the perspective changes helped move the plot along. While the obstacles were overcome thanks to the alethiometer and the subtle knife, the subtle knife feels borderline invincible. It can transport them through worlds, cut through anything and protects the wielder. How the hell can you beat that?! No wonder the church are adamant about obtaining it! Plus, I did think the ending was a bit rushed, as if the book wasn’t supposed to finish there, because everything just seemed to happen so suddenly.
The characterisation is still wonderful. Each character continues to play their part in the story, which is now focused on helping Lyra and Will fulfil their roles in their destiny. Granted, while most the characters were complex, I don’t see the point in Carlos Boreal’s character, and [SPOILER ALERT] I’m really disappointed we didn’t get more time with John Parry reuniting with his son. That could’ve been so beautiful! But I also understand why it did happen that way since reality can often be that cruel, to part a father and son before they can acknowledge each other. It’s just tragic and unfair, but so is reality, which I can’t criticise him for, I suppose (watch me do it anyway).
I’m taking a mini break to process what’s happened so far, then I’m gonna dive head first into the weirdness of The Amber Spyglass. I can feel a massive dig at the church/religion coming, which is gonna be interesting, and hopefully an explanation about Dust. Guess we’ll have to see.