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Amber Spyglass Unbound – Import, September 14, 2001


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Unbound, Import, September 14, 2001

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Product Details

  • Unbound
  • Publisher: ZZCSCHOLASTIC CHILDR (September 14, 2001)
  • ISBN-10: 0375890033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375890031
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,004 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

I loved the characters of Will and Lyra most especially.
Jillian R
I can understand how Christian readers of this book might be offended at first glance by Phillip Pullman's allegorical depiction of their god and church.
Cinnabar
In other words, if you read the first two books you of course should read this one to know how it ends - the engaging story is certainly worth your time.
"lia47"

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 98 people found the following review helpful By E. Dalton on November 21, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved "The Golden Compass." I was intrigued by "The Subtle Knife." And I tried to prepare myself to be a little disappointed by "The Amber Spyglass"-- trilogy conclusions are rarely as good as the first book. But I had hopes. The first two were so good....
This was nowhere near as good.
The various plot threads are all wrapped up, more or less. But the ending is forced. Other reviewers have pointed out the flat and inconsistent characterizations, the scattered plot, the valueless sub-threads (like Father Gomez). The useless spyglass. And even those who loved the book found the ending of the romance disappointing.
Ultimately, the book fails to deliver on the themes that were begun in "The Golden Compass," including one of the most important. Am I simply not getting it? How was Lyra's position anything comparable to Eve's? She finds love (with almost no character build up), she gives it up for the sake of the world(s). As other readers have noted, she's arguably a Christ character. But not much like Eve. Unless you count the temptation to sex (in a world with giant apple trees that contain the essence of sentience), and frankly, I don't think that was especially plausable. Eve, according to Judeo-Christian theology, succumbs to temptation (for knowledge, not sex) and gets everyone kicked out of Eden. I suppose Lyra resists temptation (to continue a relationship) to help everyone build a new Eden. But it's a tenuous connection at best, because the "only one window, not two" argument is so weak and last-minute, and she and Will can only affect one world each at best, with no way to travel between them. (And if Pullman wanted to redefine Eve to mean something else, a lot more work was needed.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Fisher TOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
At the end of "The Subtle Knife", things were dire. Lyra had been kidnapped by her mother Mrs Coulter, whilst Will was left in the company of two angels with the subtle knife (which can create windows between worlds) and the altheiometer (that communicates with the mystery substance known as `Dust'). Refusing to accompany them to Lord Asriel, who is on the verge of war with Heaven itself, Will enlists the angels help in tracking down Lyra, and is soon joined by Iorek Byrnison, the king of the polar bears. Meanwhile, Lyra herself is forced into an enchanted sleep by her mother, whilst the powers of the Church and the Authority close in to end her life and thus the terrible threat she poses against them. When the two children are reunited, they hatch a plan to go right to the end of where the subtle knife can take them; right into death itself.

Mary Malone, who has been told that she must "play the serpent", has reached a world where elephantine creatures wheel along on giant seedpods, and may just have the final key to unravelling the mystery of Dust. Pullman brings out all of his previous creations: witches, Spectres, angels, gyptains, daemons and cliff-ghasts are all here in full force, each with a part to play in one of the most exciting, controversial, imaginative and thought-provoking books in recent history. Yet unlike the previous books, "The Golden Compass" and "The Subtle Knife", "The Amber Spyglass" has a few faults that does not make it quite the awe-inspiring finale I had hoped it would be.

Out of all three books, this one is the most blatantly anti-religious; in particular anti-Christian. Now, I have my own religious convictions (though what they are irrelevant to this review), and a critique of faith is hardly going to endanger them.
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69 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Mr. T. Pitt-payne on December 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This book brings to an end a rich and strange fantasy trilogy. The books tackle huge themes: the nature of consciousness, the Fall, the relationship between body and soul, and the conflict between what Pullman calls the Kingdom of Heaven and the Republic of Heaven.
It's interesting to think about this trilogy in comparison with C S Lewis's "Narnia" chronicles. Like Lewis, Pullman writes out of total immersion in the Western literary tradition. His obvious influences are Blake, Milton and the Book of Genesis: but there are also traces of Homer (e.g. the fight between Iorek and Iofur in the first book of the trilogy reads like a clash of two Homeric heroes). At a less exalted level, I suspect that Kingsley Amis's "The Alteration" contributed something to Pullman's picture of an alternative Oxford. But in Tolkien's words a book like this is written "out of the leaf-mould of the mind", and if one can discern the shape of one or two of the leaves that doesn't in any sense devalue the originality of the work.
Both the Narnia Chronicles and Pullman's trilogy are imaginative responses to the Christian tradition. The difference between Pullman and Lewis is that Lewis's reading of the Bible is that of orthodox Christianity, whereas Pullman's reading derives from Blake and from Gnosticism. In Pullman's version of events, the God of the Old Testament is not the creator of the Universe, but is a lesser figure (like a very powerful angel), and also a tyrant; the serpent in Eden is an embodiment of wisdom, not a malevolent force; and Eve is a heroine, whose choice of experience over innocence is the very thing that makes us human.
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