Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Subtle Knife

I've now finished the second in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials' Trilogy.

The novel follows on directly from Northern Lights although the initial action is set in our own world and we are introduced to a new protagonist, Will. Pursued by mysterious men, he finds his way into a strange - and apparently deserted - city. There he meets Lyra who had crossed the bridge from here own world to this new one.

Lyra is intent on investigating Dust despite the Alethiometer giving her a new mission - to find Will's father. Their story unwinds with travels between the world of the deserted city and the Oxford of our own world. There are also things afoot in the world from which Lyra comes which are of great import towards the end of the novel.

Compared to the first novel, I felt this one was a little disappointing, as if Pullman had lost a little of his focus. The individual story seemed, somehow, incomplete while the arc storyline initially developed along the lines suggested by the first book before abruptly changing direction. I also felt as if the writing had lost some of the sparkle which distinguished the first book.

So, it's on to the third book - The Amber Spyglass. My hope is that this will bring all the loose ends and undeveloped themes together in a book more like the first than the second.


You can read my review for the first book, Northern Lights, here.

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