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Book Review: His Dark Materials (the Subtle Knife) by Philip Pullman

By Pamelascott

9781407130231

GENERAL INFORMATION

TITLE: HIS DARK MATERIALS (THE SUBTLE KNIFE)

AUTHOR: PHILIP PULLMAN

PAGES: 325

PUBLISHER: SCHOLASTIC BOOKS

YEAR: 1997

GENRE: YOUING ADUOLT / FANTASY FICTION

COVER TYPE: PAPER BACK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Subtle_Knife

www.philip-pullman.com

The Subtle Knife is from my own collection. I bought this and the final book, The Amber Spyglass as soon as I finished reading Northern Lights.

BLURB FROM THE COVER 

‘What is he? A friend or an enemy?’ 

‘He is a murderer’. 

Will has just killed a man. He’s on the run. His escape will take him far beyond his own world, to the eerie disquiet of a deserted city, and to a girl, Lyra. Herb fate is strangely linked to his and together they must find the most powerful weapon in all the worlds… 

EXTRACT 

Will tugged at his mother’s hand and said, ‘come on, come on’.

HIGHLIGHTS

The Subtle Knife is set in a different world to Northern Lights. This world has similarities and differences to Will and Lyra’s world. I enjoyed the sense of place Pullman creates even better this time around. I loved spotting all the subtle differences and similarities between worlds. The world of The Subtle Knife lived and breathed.

The Subtle Knife focuses on Will’s search for his father, aided by Lyra. Lyra’s parents had very little screen time. I liked the friendship that builds between Will and Lyra. I like it when they compared notes about the differences between their worlds. Pullman focuses more on characters in The Subtle Knife and their storylines. There is a lot less action in The Subtle Knife. The pace is slower and I could take breather. Pullman lets the characters and the strange world Will and Lyra travel really develop.  I got caught up in the story much more.

The characterisation really takes off in The Subtle Knife. I felt I got to know Lyra a lot more. Pullman gives her room to breathe and develop. I really liked Will. He comes from a different world from Lyra and the world they find themselves in. Pullman implies he is from our world. He is a strong character. I like the way he contrasts with Lyra. He is a murder but through self defense. Pullman builds a lot of suspense and intrigue around him. His father vanished many years ago on an expedition researching what appears to be the Dust that Lyra is looking for. His mother appears to have some form of mental illness and sees things no one else can. Will believes she can see the strange spectres that haunt the world Lyra and Will travel through. He is a murder out of self-defence. I want to see how he develops in The Amber Spyglass.

There are some stand-out moments in The Subtle Knife. The revelation that a famous missing explorer is Will’s father. Will finding the strange knife that can cut through worlds. The creepy spectres in the world Lyra and Will travel that feed on the souls of adults and can only be seen by them. Lyra’s mother being able to control the spectres and using them to kill a horde of the witches protecting Lyra so she can kidnap her.

LOWLIGHTS 

N/A – I loved everything about The Subtle Knife.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I loved The Subtle Knife. I enjoyed it even more than Northern Lights. The Subtle Knife like Northern Lights ends on a cliff-hanger. I can’t wait to read the concluding segment The Amber Spyglass. The Subtle Knife is a great, compelling read.

RATING

5 STAR RATING

 


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