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Char :)

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

***Review*** The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) by Philip Pullman

On the Back of the Book
Will is twelve years old and he’s just killed a man. Now he’s on his own, on the run, determined to discover the truth about his father’s disappearance.
Then Will steps through a window in the air into another world, and finds himself with a companion – a strange, savage little girl called Lyra. Like Will, she has a mission which she intends to carry out at all costs.
But the world of Cittagazze is a strange and unsettling place. Deadly soul-eating Spectres stalk its streets, while high above, the wingbeats of distant angels sound high against the sky. And in the mysterious Torre degli Angeli lurks Cittagazze’s most important secret – an object which people from many world’s would kill to possess...

Pre Read Thoughts
After reading ‘Northern Lights’ I knew that I wanted to read this, well that and I always try to read series together. This is once again for the ‘Banned Books’ challenge on GR although it’s a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Once again I bought this at my local BHF (British Heart Foundation) charity shop. I cost me £1 and is in alright condition. My cover depicts the subtle knife and there’s an illustration of a town which is quite possibly Cittagazze. It’s nice but not eye catching. What a synopsis though! The first sentence has me wanting to open this book so fast you wouldn’t believe it. Definitely can’t wait for this.
Post Read Thoughts
I feel disappointed that the story wasn’t cranked up a notch in this instalment. The plot could have been blown wide open but it wasn’t and I was waiting for it. It took ages for the pace to pick up and the fact that this is part 2 of a trilogy meant that I wanted huge story developments. Instead all I got was a couple of pretty average plot twists that I saw coming from a mile off and that took some of my enjoyment of the book away. On the plus side the writing itself was just as amazing as it was in Northern Lights and I could fully picture the events of the book in my head. It’s one of my favourite things about this trilogy so far, along with the awesome theories that author keeps coming up with.
Will is the main character in this book and I’m not sure that I like him as I do Lyra. Don’t get me wrong, he’s well written and easy to connect with but I just preferred Lyra. She’s in this book though and it was great to see her grow as a character. She’s going to be a teenager soon and she’s beginning to mature and be able to deal with adult situations in a sensible manner. I can’t wait to see what happens with a new character called Dr Mary Malone and there was a scene with Lee Scoresby that brought tears to my eyes.
Overall I think that I prefer book 1 as it had more to it that I enjoyed. The slow pace and the difficulty to get into this are major down sides for me as I like to be sucked into a story.  As I said before the writing and the world building are amazing, it’s just that I feel the author would benefit from opening a story in a gripping way. Although the slow burners that he does write draw you in without you realising it.
My Rating
3 stars – it’s not bad, it’s just that it’s not amazing either. It’s good and when there are so many stories that are more than just ‘good’ out there who wants to settle for it? The addition of Will may make boys enjoy this as I feel they’ll relate to him better than Lyra. These are turning into good books if you want your kids to develop their imaginations.


Buzz_B said...

I remember reading these books when I was younger and enjoyed them then, but I don't think I could go back to them now I'm older. It'd most probably be for the same reasons you mentioned - very drawn out with a slow-burning plot but still well written. I think I cried a bit in the next book :S

CharmaineElaine said...

Awww. I didn't cry. I nearly did with this one though. I wouldn't re-read them. I did love the ideas though.

Char :)

The Little Blue Pig said...

New follower! Great blog and great review. I might go check this one out.

-Angela @ The Little Blue Pig

Matthew (The Bibliofreak) said...

I think I had very similar feelings to yours, I just didn't find Will as engaging a character as Lyra, and so was a little disappointed by the direction the novel took. I also didn't enjoy it as much as Northern Light, although the ideas are great.

My review: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman


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