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His Dark Materials Omnibus (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) Paperback – April 10, 2007
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In the epic trilogy His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to worlds parallel to our own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first. The three books in Pullman's heroic fantasy series, published as mass-market paperbacks with new covers, are united here in one boxed set that includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. Join Lyra, Pantalaimon, Will, and the rest as they embark on the most breathtaking, heartbreaking adventure of their lives. The fate of the universe is in their hands. (Ages 13 and older) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
"One of the supreme literary dreamers and magicians of our time" The Guardian "Philip Pullman. Is he the best storyteller ever?" The Observer --The Observer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Golden Compass, the first book in the series, is deserving of five stars and is one of my favorite novels ever. I am an avid reader and a librarian, and I particularly love this first novel because it features a strong, believable female lead, a well paced plot that focuses on ideas and politics and power play, and incredible world building. It also was the first time I read a comparison of university and street (or public) life that made me nod and say "yes, that's right." Unlike a lot of readers, I do not think this first novel or the trilogy as a whole is anti-organized religion on principle - I believe it does object to certain elements of organized religion which may well be deserving of criticism. One of the core strengths of the first book is its ability to communicate arguments about larger concepts in society while telling a genuinely good story -- it doesn't come off as preachy, or pushy, and it is eye opening, especially for the young adult target demographic, but these days, often as well for American adults.
The second book, The Subtle Knife, is a four star book in my opinion, because while it is an excellent novel, it does The Golden Compass a disservice by weakening the main character (Lyra) with a second protagonist who is male (Will). Will is an excellently written character, but his very presence makes Lyra's character weaker. If we had been introduced to Lyra in The Subtle Knife, I am certain it would be a five star book, but because The Subtle Knife is part of a series, I review it both as a novel in its own right and as a novel that exists in a series. Lyra's fierce independence is essentially in many ways stripped by a "love interest." Few authors have been able to produce a believable romantic relationship that involves a rebellious, independent woman, and Pullman is not one of them. This is not to say that he doesn't appreciate Lyra, rather, it is evident to me in reading the Subtle Knife that he struggled to produce the Lyra we knew who could also ally with something who was, in many ways, more powerful than she was -- that was something her character did not know how to do, and thus the only solution was to diminish her. It's a flaw that only lost the book one star in my own eyes because in every other way, the book lives up to expectation: it is excellently paced, it has a lot of Lee Scoresby (who is simply a phenomenal character), it continues to ask tough questions, it's hard to put down, and all of the new characters as well as some of the older ones get significant and interesting development.
The final book in the series, The Amber Spyglass, is one that I want to love. But the fact of the matter is, it has a significant flaw that I cannot overlook: it's all to clear, reading the third novel, what Pullman is trying to push. The story is sacrificed for the philosophy, the sentimentality in places is overbearing, and this makes the fact that the ideas are still compelling even more frustrating. The final book is probably a two star book, but if I was reviewing it by itself, I would probably give it three stars, out of loyalty to the series. Indeed, the redeeming elements of this book are all to do with its tying up of plot points, redemption of certain characters that is gratifying, its own seemingly self aware points about the power of story, and the core, strong arguments about society that are the backbone of the series as a whole. I can't honestly say that by itself, it is a good book, but I do think that as part of a series, it still worth the reader's time.
Those of you who are also readers will recognize this sentiment: if you are just now coming to His Dark Materials, I am envious. There are few things in the history of my consumption of genre fiction (and even literary fiction) that come close to the experience of my discovery and subsequent reading of this series. I rarely say "such and such changed my life," but this series certainly changed mine, and I would love to have that experience in reading more often, it is so affirming.
Lyra, a brave and unconventional girl from a parallel universe, meets Will, a boy from our universe. As do all those within her universe, Lyra has a familiar named Pan with whom she can communicate and who can change to any animal form in a blink. From our universe, Will's familiar lives unseen within him until later. Lyra, with the truth-predicting golden compass, and Will, with the magic knife, go from universe to universe to fulfill
their fates while preventing the all-powerful Church from subverting and destroying all that is good.
You will carry Lyra, Will, Mary and the others within you for the rest of your life. By all means, read this trilogy. You will thank your lucky stars you did.
Overall, the book is about a young girl's exploration of the world around her. First, kids in her town begin disappearing. Next, she finds herself traveling north only to discover witches and armored polar bears. Finally, she discovers parallel worlds all linked by a substance called Dust - and she becomes involved in ultimately saving the multiverse.
Some reviews will state that this series is about "killing G-d", but it is not. It is actually about fighting the "Authority" who is an angel representing himself as G-d.
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