“Your death taps you on the shoulder, or takes your hand, and says, ‘Come along o’ me, it’s time.” – The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman
I have had my copy of His Dark Materials for years. I read the first book, Northern Lights just before the movie of the series came out. Then the move was slated by the critics and I didn’t bother picking the rest up.
I’d been meaning to return to the books for years but something was putting me off. I remembered finding the narrative a little confusing towards the end of book one and I remember thinking it was a series I’d have to work hard to read. So I always thought I wouldn’t have enough time for it.
I knew that the series was being made by the BBC and I knew that if they were successful there would be a follow on for the other books. So now was the time to pick them back up if I didn’t want the story being ruined for me. I went back and re-read the first book. I devoured it and loved every page. I wasn’t sure what I’d found so difficult last time, but it wasn’t there this. I read the first book in just 12 days.
I went straight from Northern Lights into The Subtle Knife. With a new main character and a lot of going backwards and forwards, this was a little harder. However it was made easier by the intrigue that the idea of new worlds to explore.
Again, I wolfed down The Subtle Knife, page by page my excitement for the world Lyra and her friends were encountering was feeding my own. I don’t get enough time to read these days, but I found as much time as I could to read this book. In 2 and a half weeks, I was done with it and on to the next.
The Amber Spyglass was harder to read. If I’m completely honest, the science stuff in the books confused me. There was a lot of going backwards and forwards between worlds and understanding the impact of things on each other. Of course Christmas didn’t help matters as I hardly got any reading time in then.
That being said, The Amber Spyglass was easily my favourite book of the series. SPOILERS AHEAD I loved the idea that each person had a death which followed them and showed itself when needed. I loved the idea of stories fuelling the underworld. I loved the absolute innocence of Lyra and Will. And I loved revisiting characters who made such an amazing impact earlier on in the series.
I enjoyed The Amber Spyglass so much that in order to help get more reading time in, I read it on my exercise bike. And let me tell you, that was difficult when you consider its size (nearly 550 pages). I fell in love with the idea of multiple worlds and the way the characters were experiencing them, and I loved the development of the characters relationships.
This entire series was amazing, I am gutted I have never read it before and I know this wont be my last time reading it. The whole storyline is brilliant and the characters you meet within the series stick with you. They are all important and all part of a bigger picture. I have to say I think Iorek Byrnison was my favourite though!