Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Book-Crush Wednesday (11)

Today's book-crush is on another book series. And it's actually a pretty well-known series, but unfortunately it was mostly made commercially famous after a really terrible movie adaptation of the first book hit theaters. (I know, I've really narrowed it down, right?) But, since you are all awesome and savvy readers, I have a feeling many of you will be familiar with the titles. (They are bestsellers, after all.) And if not...then you should be.

His Dark Materials is a trilogy by Philip Pullman which completely rocked my world when I read it. I had taken a break from fantasy (with the notable exception of Harry Potter, which is a constant in my life), though the genre was my absolute favorite during my childhood. (Particularly the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede. OMG LOVE. Forever and always. Cimorene is my homegirl. But I digress. As usual.) 

So I picked up the book, not really thinking it was anything special (though it was GIGANTIC because we have the version which is all three books bound together in one epic volume of awesome), and it changed my life. I remember reading the first book (in America, it's called The Golden Compass - in Pullman's native England, the book is Northern Lights) thinking, "Hm, this is a nice story, lalala, oh, these daemon things sound pretty cool, your soul is outside your body as an animal, huh? That's different." And Lyra was feisty and fun and I LOVED her. The Golden Compass ends on this absolutely just...UGH...moment. Yeah.

And then book two started (The Subtle Knife). And I actually remember when I read it, I had to flip to the front cover of the volume, because I wasn't sure I was reading the same book. Pullman totally pulls you into a different world, and then BAM! you realize that things are not at all what the seem, and everything is just...yeah. Awesome. I don't want to spoil it but it's really just amazing. (If you've seen the movie version, and especially if you've seen the movie version and haven't read the book, then that awful prologue/crappy explanation that Serafina does in the beginning doesn't even begin to describe the epicness of what's happening.

In the third book, The Amber Spyglass, there are some huge decisions made by the characters - who are really still children. The ending is so bittersweet, and really just perfect, and so many sad and wonderful things happen in this book. Plus, LYRA AND WILL OMG. I die, people. I die. (Vaguest description ever? Yes. But I'm not a Spoilery McSpoiler over here, folks. Go read the books yourself.)

OK, I will say that the books are not for everyone. It's pretty commonly known that the trilogy has a heavy anti-religious angle, particularly against Catholicism. But honestly, they're still great books, well-written, and with such wonderful characters, that if this would normally be a problem for you, I encourage you to try to put your beliefs aside and give the books a chance. 

So, what will you find in the pages of His Dark Materials? These things:
  • A talking polar bear
  • A kick-ass heroine
  • One of the creepiest and most perfect villains ever
  • A visit to the underworld
  • Young love - the kind that is ever-lasting and epic
  • Secrets
  • Witches
  • Magical instruments
  • Multiple worlds
  • Heartbreaking decisions
  • Lots and lots of animals
Hope you give it a chance! (And if you've already read them, I'd love to know what you thought!)


  1. I read the Golden Compass but didn't get belong that. I prefer YA with strong romance elements (even if it's just a subplot). ;)

  2. This is one of the best series ever!!! We actually considered naming Sammie Lyra because we loved her character so much!

  3. I discovered this series while living in England. I enjoyed the second book, but not the later ones as much. I think they frustrated me a bit. But, I think they felt really original. His daemons were totally fresh and unique.

  4. Stina - Yeah, there *is* a love interest, but he doesn't get introduced until the second book! But it's really a sweet story then.

    Jennie - Ah! Lyra is on our shortlist of girls' names, too! We loove it.

    Carolina - I think the third book is my least favorite, except for the stuff with Will and Lyra. (Mostly it was the stuff with the scientist lady that I didn't like - the one who actually had the glass - though I see why it was important, I didn't like the brand-new storyline so late in the series. It was hard to connect to a new character that late when it was taking time away from the ones I loved.) I definitely loved the first book the most.


Loved it? Hated it? Either way, I want to hear what you thought!

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