The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3)

The Amber Spyglass is really a sequel to The Subtle Knife more than a conclusion to The Golden Compass . Most everything that I liked in the Golden Compass but was missing in The Subtle Knife is still missing here, while the new additions that annoyed me about The Subtle Knife are turned up to 11.

We get fascinating new worlds (miniature spies with poisonous spines on their feet! creatures with wheels! how weird!) but to the most part they don’t seem to really lead to the story. Lyra… is growing up and supposed to be super important to the upcoming battle, but really this is again a book about Will. And Lyra’s big part? Growing up. That’s about it.


The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2)

The Subtle Knife takes off where The Golden Compass left off, with Lyra leaving her world behind, traveling across a bridge originally torn by the death of a friend. On top of that, we have a new character in Will, a boy searching for his missing father, instead finding another, must less dramatic way to travel between worlds.

To some extent, The Subtle Knife feels like an odd sequel. Where the Golden Compass centered almost entirely around Lyra, this time around, we’re split between Lyra and Will, with Will really the driving force behind the story. I don’t mind Will–he’s unlikable at first, but you fell that’s mostly because


The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)

I’ve read The Golden Compass before, but it’s been a few years. On top of that, this time around, I listened to it as an audiobook (the full cast reading, I’m not sure if there is another). I have fond memories of this book and for the most part, they were met on re-read, which is something you don’t always get.

The core of the book is a world where people’s spirits / souls / conscious exists as a separate being, a daemon who takes the form of an animal companion –changing and mutable at first and eventually settling into a single form for adults that represents the core of who they are. It’s an interesting idea and well done, to the point that it feels natural, to the point that I almost wish I could live in this world, just to see who my daemon might be.