Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers (July 22, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679879250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679879251
  • List Price: $13.60
  • I finished this book on June 3
Okay, so this one is the second in the His Dark Materials trilogy. I read the first book last spring when I was in my young adult books class. I have been waiting to read the others for a while now and I finally had time. Not to mention, they count towards the challenge.
The first book (soon to be a movie staring the hungry Nicole Kidman) centers mostly on Lyra, a little girl in a world that both different and similar than ours. In Lyra's world everyone has a Daemon, who is basically an animal version of their soul. The daemon's of children change to whatever animal shape they want but when a child becomes an adult the daemon takes on a fixed form. At the movie's website you can take a quiz and get your own daemon. Mine is a badass wolf, (fear him!) by clicking you can also see what yours might be (and if you do, tell me in the comments!)
In this book there is a lot more going on than just Lyra's exploits. We meet a boy named Will who is from our world, and many other characters. My favorite part of this book is all the different plots going on and the different motivations of all the different characters. Reading I was struck by how real and human so many of the characters felt to me. There is, however, an injury of a character that made me mighty angry and which reminded me of a similar injury in another book which also steamed me up. (hint: dad a chum, dad a chee, I can't help but bring up Stephen King all the time, I'm rubbish.)
This trilogy has a lot going on in the allegory department. Toward the end of this book many things became clear to me and I'm very excited to jump into the next one. The book focuses on, to name a few: sin, evolution, the Fall, and many other religious ideas. I'm expecting there to be an all out war with the heavens in the next book and I'm not thinking I'll be disappointed.
There's about a million sites online dedicated to this series, but here's what I suggest: for character and plot info as well as analysis check out spark notes and the wikipedia article. Also check out the Random House page and this page which has a whole chat community.


Nymeth said...

You will probably not be disappointed, no.

This is my favourite fantasy series. What I love the most about it is the fact that, like you said, the characters feel so human and so real, and their bonds and affections are portrayed so beautifully and so movingly. This is even more true about the third and final book, so read it soon!

Kim said...

I'll definitely be reading this before the movie comes out. I've heard nothing but good about the series and I want to engage in snarky comments about how the book is superior to the film ;)