Wednesday, May 6

Book Review: The Amber Spyglass

Title: The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Book III

Author: Phillip Pullman

Pages: 518

Summary: Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures began in The Golden Compass and continued in The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger. With help from the amored bear Iorek Byrnison and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone. All the while Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent amber spyglass. An assassin hunts her down. And Lord Asriel, and his troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, battle of strange allies-and shocking sacrifice.
As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living-and the dead-finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one story. The Amber Spyglass reveals that story, brining Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials to an astonishing conclusion.

My Rating: 4.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I wish I could say, the actual contents were “astonishing” and “extraordinary” like the blurb on the back of the novel says. But I can’t. What a disappointment! I loved The Golden Compass, it had this wonderful land, armoured bears, witches, and a young girl who was a very interesting character. Subtle Knife was dark, and different, but still lured me into this new fantasy world/worlds. Then The Amber Spyglass came. Half the time I had no clue what the author was writing about, plot pieces just popped up out of nowhere and thrown in the story, for the sake of it. New characters were introduced, yet had no character development; they just seemed to be thrown in there, to make the story longer. I really want to know what happened to this book, and why is it so different then the other two. By the end, I just didn’t care who lived or died, or anything else about the characters, their emotions or what was happening. I would have liked how it wasn’t your typical happy ending, but by the time it got to that, I didn’t care any more. I had given up. Lyra lost that magic touch that caused readers to enjoy her, the whole issue of Dust? What is Dust? I still don’t know, it seemed to be something very different then what it was building up to be in the first two books.

Lyra and Will in love. They are twelve, how are they suddenly head over heals in love? I can understand the children having deep feelings for each other, even giving a little innocent kiss, but they were completely in love (I do not think, like some other reviewers do, that they “slept together”) but no matter how you look at it, that whole piece of the plot was one of the many things that brought this to a huge down fall for me.

Another issue was Mary Malone. What exactly was her purpose? What exactly was her purpose for building the spyglass? She barely used it, and she didn’t help anyone really. The Mulefa. I think they were thrown in there to just add another weird creature into the story for the heck of it. There are so many things that happened in this book that just didn’t add up to what happened in the other two, it’s like this was written by a different author who had no grasp on what was suppose to happen, what connects to what we learned in the first to novels, so they just wrote some fan fiction version of what should happen.

What I did like. Okay, I liked the idea of the land of the dead, and Lyra and Will releasing them. I like the brief battle Arsiel was in, although how it ended and why, was poorly executed. That’s about it. Oh Iorek…. I liked him too.

One thing, I do not understand why everyone claims this to be anti-religious or anti-Christian. Yes, Pullman does have ideas that go against the conventional Christian way of thinking, throughout the book. We find that the dead do not go to heaven like what is taught…. But how is it anti-religious? Seriously, people need to wake up, and realize there are multiple religions and ways of thinking, and that this is one fictional account for it. (Sorry to any religious readers of mine, I do realize most people who are religious, whatever religions they have or beliefs aren’t like this. But I find that there are a few people out there, who just can’t deal with the fact, there are other opinions out there and then blow things out of proportion or insult others because of their differences in beliefs). That’s all I see in this trilogy, a difference in beliefs.

Back to the book. It was just a big, big disappointment. It lost it’s magic I enjoyed in the first book, wasn’t interesting at all, and I really had to force my way through to the end. And this is more than a disappointment after a hyped up excitement when waiting for it, which I wouldn’t have minded as much

Would I recommend it to read: I’m torn with recommending this to those who have already read one or both of the books before this. It’s good to finish the trilogy, but it is very unsatisfying and irksome how it was written. Hmm.

What to read next: Well, I'm assuming, if you've read this, then you've read the first to books. I'd try other fantasy series for children. Maybe a Wrinkle in Time.

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, 999 Challenge, A - Z Challenge, RYOB Challenge,
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  1. I also had similar feelings about this book. I was disappointed by the 2nd and 3rd books, and I am still confused about Dust.

  2. Years ago I started this series, and dropped it halfway through the second book. I was very religious at the time, and I found some of the ideas really disturbing. Now I want to go back and read it again, but it sounds like the ending is a disappointment.

  3. It's really disappointing when you put so much time into a series/trilogy, only to have it end in disappointment. I haven't yet read the Dark Materials trilogy, but I admit to being curious about it.

    My husband felt the same way you did about the "anti-religious" talk surrounding the books--that they weren't anti-religious, just a different perspective.

  4. That was probably one of the worst things, is spending so much time with the series, then the big let down.

    It's good to see other's found the same issues with the "anti-religious" stuff like I did. Nice to know I'm not the only one.