On the Back of the Book
The terrible war foretold by the witches is coming. Will is the bearer of the subtle knife, the most powerful weapon in all the worlds, and must deliver it to Lord Asriel. But he faces his dangerous journey alone, for Lyra has disappeared...
Pre Read Thoughts
The final instalment of the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy and I’m not sure how I feel about reading it. The depth of series opener, ‘Northern Lights’ excited me but the slowness of follow up ‘The Subtle Knife’ has made me slightly wary of reading this. Read it I will though. I’m reading this for the ‘Banned Books’ challenge that I’m taking part in on GoodReads. I bought my copy from WHSmith for £7.99 which is the RRP of my edition. If you want to get it cheaper I know that The Works are selling the whole trilogy as a boxset for a nice price. The cover is of Lyra and Iorek Byrnison and is taken from the film ‘The Golden Compass’. I quite like it but I think a beautiful illustration would work better. There isn’t much to the synopsis but I hope this is a good book.
Post Read Thoughts
*** As this is the final book in a trilogy there may be some spoilers in this review***
I don’t know what to say about this and it’s not often that happens. I’m going to try anyway so bear with me. The synopsis made this book sound like everything it isn’t. That “terrible war” didn’t happen, Lyra wasn’t missing for long and they had no intention of going to Lord Asriel. The answers that were being sought were just given to the characters, they didn’t really discover anything themselves. Add on to that the fact that this book is 522 pages long I wasn’t impressed. There was ample amount of space for Lyra and Will to discover what they needed to do. I’ll admit it, this is another slow burner and I wasn’t that interested until around page 300. I’m not at all happy with that. The writing was good though. I can’t fault the author on his skills, the end tugged at my heartstrings because I just wanted a different outcome.
The characters weren’t particularly stand out ish in any way. Will and Lyra’s emotional journey was touching and well portrayed and their decisions made them become wise beyond their years. I was pleased to see the return of some of the characters that had such a huge part in book one such as: Iorek Byrnison, Lord Faa and Serafina Pekkala although the latter played a big part in The Subtle Knife as well. There were also some new characters that really added to the story.
Overall I’m pretty disappointed as the end felt like such a cop out to me. I would’ve liked to see Lyra and Will figure out the issues with their worlds instead of just being told by Pantalaimon and Kirjava. The slow pace made it harder to read and the synopsis took my train of thought in the complete opposite direction to the actual book. However I won’t deny that this book, like the previous two, is well written and is a must for people who like descriptive fantasy and don’t mind a weedy ending.
2 stars – my initial thought was to give it three but after writing this review I simply don’t feel that it deserves it. There wasn’t enough action for me and that ending... I know I keep going on about it but I’m sorry, it really annoyed me.