Review: His Dark Materials Trilogy


A few weeks ago for my Young Adult Literature class, we were asked to read “The Golden Compass” by Pullman. I had read it previously but never had the other books so I could continue reading the trilogy. So having to reread it in class gave me the drive to start the others. Granted I had no personal time to read them but I did spend over an hour each day just sitting in my car driving from home to school and back again. Thus audio books were my go to. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I learned the author had read his own books. Something I had only heard of once from an independent author.

I was already familiar with the fact that the book was supposedly anti Christian but you had to really read the entire trilogy to understand how much so it could be considered. So I give you all warning now, after this paragraph will be spoilers from the three books. Readers beware.

so we are introduced to Dust in the first book and left still with the question of what it possibly is when Lyra travels to the new world. The second book finally gives us some answers. So what’s Dust? Well according to our world and Dr Malone in that world, its just dark matter that has a form of conscious. So that’s cool, the alethiometer isn’t the only thing that exists that can communicate with it and it hasn’t always existed but did appear about 30,000 years ago. So we know a little on what it is but now we wonder how its conscious and want to know more and we are given none of that. We just go and switch to

“The Subtle Knife” doesn’t even give us the knife until halfway through the book. Literally we don’t get to know why its subtle or what the knife looks like until we get there. No hints before and not even much foreshadowing outside of mentioning windows and even then it doesn’t say a knife cut them open just that they exist so for all we know they just appear randomly. Another character has to mention it and we are sent on an adventure to figure out who might have it.

And so what was a nice city of no adults turns Children of the Corn with witches to save the day and Mrs Coulter somehow finding a window that connects from our world to Lyra’s but the children never bother to look for it or anything. Shouldn’t a bearer be able to sense this?

Oh we also get angels at the end of the second book and into “The Amber Spyglass” which might I add also follows how the second book goes with no idea on what that is until the very end. This one was much more adult content in the form of love and just growing up into being a teenager. They discuss death, lust, and losing innocence from gaining knowledge. Oh, by the way her dad is trying to kill God or the “Authority.” We never see it happen, we see a glimpse of the battle but never hear if it was a success until a character in a brief moment states Lord Asriel fought with an angel and they both possibly died but nothing of what might have happened the the Authority. The church dies down in power in a matter of days, and everyone has no problems with this destruction. Will continues to miss and think about Lyra while Lyra spends her time thinking of going to school to make friends and never much of a mention of Will again from her.

Out of five stars I would give the trilogy a 3.5 out of 5 from the plot holes and the lack of information and pattern in the books of the items and their importance. As an audiobook, however, I give the book a 4 out of 5 because of the amazing acting and the author reading it himself but mark it down because of music playing at the beginning of each chapter being very distracting for me.

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