It’s been a while since I’ve had a book review to post, but I’ve been ploughing away through this series and wanted to write the review all in one as I read them all as one back to back. I have so many books lined up to read at the moment but I really wanted to prioritise this. I’m kind of sad it’s over but also feel pretty content with it now it’s done.
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
My partner has been telling me about this trilogy for some time now and I’ve finally got around to reading it. I picked it up mostly because I wanted to watch the BBC adaptation, but I’m so glad that I read the books first.
Lyra lives as the only little girl amongst scholars and Jordan college and goes about the college carefree and inquisitively. She soon learns that she has a bigger destiny than Jordan college and travels far and wide, across many different worlds, trying to fulfil that destiny. Along the way, Lyra befriends gyptians, bears, witches, angels and most importantly; Will. Together, Lyra and Will take on a tremendous task of saving all of the worlds, though they don’t always know how or why.
General Thoughts 🤔
This theme of book is not my usual go to but wow, this trilogy is something else. Each book has it’s own story, yet all three are intrinsically linked together. The story covers adventure, danger, religion, humanity, betrayal and love. There is so much interpretation and conversation that can be taken away from this story, it’s something quite special.
As mentioned, I have a hardback copy that includes all three books, therefore I ploughed through and read all three back to back. I can’t say whether I would advise doing the same or breaking them up, as I don’t know any different. I can say that by reading them back to back I was so submerged into this story it started to feel real.
I mean. Lyra. Come on! Who doesn’t want to be Lyra. She’s amazing. There were times when chapters that didn’t include Lyra just seemed so unimportant to me, I liked her that much. As soon as Will came into the story, my love for Lyra turned into my love for Lyra and Will. Such a fabulous team they made.
On the opposite end of the scale, I loved to hate Mrs Coulter. She was written in such a way that I couldn’t get enough of her deceitful ways and always felt like she had something up her sleeve. I always admire an author that can write a character that pretty much all readers can feel the same way about.
There are so many characters across the three books, I could write a whole standalone post about them. Philip Pullman has put so much detail into each and every character, no matter their role in the story and I love that.
Writing Style ✍🏽
Not once did I feel bored during these books. I think with fantasy books, there are sometimes lulls where things have to be explained and described in infinite detail in order for the story to make sense. Somehow I didn’t feel those lulls. Everything made sense to me, but it’s written in a way where it is embedded into the story fantastically.
Philip Pullman has somehow managed to write what I would describe as a coming of age story whilst also covering some pretty eyebrow raising topics like oppressive religions, the existence of a “God” and good and evil. How he has done that, I don’t know but it’s certainly a very special skill.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
I’m so happy I finally listened to my partner and read these books. I’m sure I’m going to be thinking about this story and all of it’s underlying messages for some time to come. I’m 3 episodes into the BBC adaptation and enjoying that also, but for me, there is nothing like reading a story like this. You can’t quite capture it’s specialness on the screen. If you haven’t already read this…you must.