Monday, April 19, 2010


The Subtle Knife, Philip Pullman, Random House, 1997, 326 pp

Oh my! In Philip Pullman's second volume of His Dark Materials trilogy, things get darker, weirder and more ominous. Lyra, the central character in The Golden Compass, having chased after her father, lands in not one, but two other worlds.

A new character, twelve-year-old Will Parry, enters the tale. He is also seeking his father and becomes a somewhat unwilling companion to Lyra. As if there were not enough evil and dangerous characters in The Golden Compass, new abominations appear, such as the Spectors who consume the souls of adults but leave children alone. However, the children are now orphans without adult supervision who resemble those kids in Lord of the Flies.

After 300 pages of heart racing, heart stopping, and heartbreaking action, this volume ends in the cliff hanger of all time. If I had had the third and final volume, The Amber Spyglass, on my shelves I would have begun reading it immediately. Oh yes, the "subtle knife" is indeed subtle though lethal beyond belief. It never goes dull but you would not want it in your kitchen.

I almost want to postpone reading the final volume because I am not sure I want the story to be over.

(The Subtle Knife as well as The Golden Compass and The Amber Spyglass are on the shelves in the fantasy/science fiction section at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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