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His Dark Materials (Laurel-Leaf) [Mass Market Paperback]

Philip Pullman
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (423 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 23 2003
Published in 40 countries, Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy – The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass – has graced the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, Book Sense, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists.

The Golden Compass
forms the first part of a story in three volumes. The first volume is set in a world like ours, but different in many ways. The second volume is set partly in the world we know. The third moves between many worlds.

In The Golden Compass, readers meet 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own—nor is her world. In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal dæmon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely intertwined.

The Subtle Knife is the second part of the trilogy that began with The Golden Compass. That first book was set in a world like ours, but different. This book begins in our own world.

In The Subtle Knife, readers are introduced to Will Parry, a young boy living in modern-day Oxford, England. Will is only twelve years old, but he bears the responsibilities of an adult. Following the disappearance of his explorer-father, John Parry, during an expedition in the North, Will became parent, provider and protector to his frail, confused mother. And it's in protecting her that he becomes a murderer, too: he accidentally kills a man who breaks into their home to steal valuable letters written by John Parry. After placing his mother in the care of a kind friend, Will takes those letters and sets off to discover the truth about his father.

The Amber Spyglass
brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heartstopping close, marking the third and final volume as the most powerful of the trilogy. Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Byrnison the armored bear, The Amber Spyglass introduces a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Gallivespian Lord Roke, a hand-high spy-master to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. And this final volume brings startling revelations, too: the painful price Lyra must pay to walk through the land of the dead, the haunting power of Dr. Malone's amber spyglass, and the names of who will live—and who will die—for love. And all the while, war rages with the Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal battle that—in its shocking outcome—will reveal the secret of Dust.

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Product Description

From Amazon

In the epic trilogy His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to worlds parallel to our own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first. The three books in Pullman's heroic fantasy series, published as trade paperbacks, are united here in one dazzling boxed set that includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. In these new editions, each chapter opens with artwork by Pullman himself, along with chapter quotations from the likes of Milton, Donne, Black, Byron, and the Bible that did not appear in earlier editions. Join Lyra, Pantalaimon, Will, and the rest as they embark on the most breathtaking, heartbreaking adventure of their lives. The fate of the universe is in their hands. (Ages 13 and older) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"One of the supreme literary dreamers and magicians of our time" The Guardian "Philip Pullman. Is he the best storyteller ever?" The Observer --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful... Dec 19 2007
By C. Dill
Format:Paperback
I find it so disturbing that some reviewers are saying that this is a "poison" that entices children. Entices them to do what? READ? Isn't this something that we, as adults, can only hope for in order to create a more literate, educated world? Philip Pullman's trilogy is so amazing that I cannot begin to describe it in the eloquence it deserves. His entire message is that certain authorities in our world - and in all the worlds he so richly creates - will try to tell us what to do. They'll try to control us. That's EXACTLY what has happened after the movie release! Certain authorities are scared of his message: freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom to think for ourselves. I think Pullman's books have done exactly what he wrote about; they've set up this kind of duality between freedom and control, and it's manifesting in our own world in the same way it did in Lyra's world.

Let me put it this way: if a book can get people to speak about issues, that's a good thing. If it can get kids to read, that's a great thing. Why be afraid of this? Why tell children that they can't ask questions? Why the anxiety?

Buy these books. The trilogy is truly a masterpiece.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece of storytelling and ideas. July 14 2002
Format:Paperback
Consider this: stories are a vital component of being human; without them, we would merely reproduce and die. That said, if the library of the world were on fire, and I had time to rush in and save only a handful of stories, this would be one of the first I would grab. I've been a lifelong reader and have a degree in Literature--I've read more than my share of stories. Philip Pullman has done an incredible thing by bringing these books into being. The story, though fantastical in many ways, speaks volumes about human experience: innocence, guilt, love, loss, and hope. The creativity is boundless; ideas about god, souls, consciousness, evolution and even contemporary physics are sculpted into a brilliant narrative. The underlying themes include a critique of dominant religious paradigms, which of course raises major antipathy in some readers (see other reviews). But I fail to see how a story that espouses freethinking can be anything but positive. Besides, the story is greatly concerned with--to oversimplify--love and responsibility; how can that be a bad thing? Above these undercurrents, though, the story is exciting, complex, and touching. There are moments that bring tears, goosebumps, and exhilharation. Pullman proves just how entertaining a profound story can be. If none of that entices you, Pullman has also invented one of the most fascinating ideas ever with his concept of daemons: animal-like companions that embody a person's soul. After finishing these books, you'll wish more than anything that you had one. I will read these books again and again, send them to my friends, leave copies lying in cafes, and read them over and over to my children. There are precious few stories that can compare with His Dark Materials. I only hope they eventually receive the widespread attention they deserve; if they were as widely-read as Harry Potter, the world would be the better for it.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
By M. B. Alcat TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Phillip Pullman's "Dark Materials" triology are the kind of books that you simply must read if you are a science fiction fan, or if you just like well-written books... You don't have to be a teenager to enjoy them, but you need to have a big imagination in order to thoroughly enjoy them. If that is the case, go on reading this review...

The "Dark Materials" triology takes place in a world similar to our own, that is at the same time very different. In that world, each person's soul can be seen, is called a "daemon" and takes the form of an animal. The daemons of children change their appearance constantly, but once the children become adults, their daemons choose only one form. Pullman's alternate world has other differences, too, for example the fact that it has different kinds of magic, and that witches and armored bears coexist with human beings. The result is that the world he builds is exotic, strange but at the same time familiar.

On the negative side, the writer also plays with an institution we are familiar with, the Church, using its name but leaving behind its essence, in order to talk about a world ruled by tyrannical ecclesiastical authorities. I didn't like that, and probably you won't like it either, but keep in mind that this is a work of fiction, and as such, its purpose is to entertain, not to be taken seriously. All the same, if you think your sensibilities will be offended, or that you won't be able to separate reality from fiction, don't buy this book. You will be losing a lot, though.

Regarding the plot of these books, the main character is an orphan girl named Lyra, that lives in the Jordan College of Oxford. Her life involves no more responsabilities than playing in the grounds (and roofs!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Trilogy! March 6 2014
By Kate
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed reading these books. Couldn't put them down. Would recomend to kids and adults. They are a great read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good price March 4 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sometimes its a pain to find books in a book store but Amazon makes it easy to get those ones that you want.
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By Waltoon
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Sadly, because this fine series was written within the context of the New Atheism, it has drawn considerable ire. Shades of Galileo! I am just finishing rereading the first book and remain astounded. I do not agree with all of the author's framing of biblical material, being an amateur biblical scholar since my university days and knowing what we know about the Bible's composition, but that's not the point Pullman takes umbrage with. The sheer audacity of the series' conceit, that of re-mounting the war against Heaven, last seen in Milton's Paradise Lost, is the stuff of epic heroic fantasy. I have read elsewhere criticism that Lyra is a passive hero; nothing could be further from the truth. She is a dynamic force of nature that drives the action of the book. Being a child, other adult characters are called upon to fight those battles inappropriate for a child to wage, but that is no different than Aragorn fighting for the Hobbits in LOTR, or the many adult warriors who fight on Taran's behalf in The Prydain Chronicles. Lyra displays courage and gumption that put many adults to shame. Is this a book for children or adults? I would say the answer is the same for both: If you have the mind of a child, then no, but if a child has the mind of an adult, then yes. If your mind is closed by dogmatic ideology of any kind, you chance being greatly aggravated by this series as others already have. Why put yourself through that unnecessarily? If your mind is free and open you may enjoy this series, but miss some of its deeper references. That shouldn't inhibit your involvement in this thrilling tale and it may just make you think. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Books rock.
Great series. Its a shame production of a second series movie was stopped. The church is still ruining our lives.
Published 3 months ago by dustin johnston
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic
My favourite book as a child, and one that I still think is just tremendous, and still find joy in. They're hugely epic in scope but the detail and imagination is incredible. Read more
Published 8 months ago by ReginaldTheRed
2.0 out of 5 stars What happened between the first and second book??
This is one of a few book series that I found where the tone of the story seems to shift dramatically after the first book. Read more
Published 14 months ago by M. Fournier
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
I read the first book and it was captivating. The story is intreaguing and makes you always want to read more. Can't wait to continiue on book 2.
Published 15 months ago by allain
1.0 out of 5 stars Worst books I have ever read!!!!
I wish I could give it no stars. These are the worst books I have ever ready. They are not appropraite for children. The series is boring. I couldn't wait for the book to end. Read more
Published 18 months ago by lisalan
3.0 out of 5 stars Ups and downs but more kids orientated
Maybe because i was told that it was an epic series my expectations were too high but i find it quite mediocre. Read more
Published 18 months ago by David p
5.0 out of 5 stars recommended
Good plot, good characters, well written.
I would recommend it to anyone who likes fantasy books.
p.s.: the movie was horrible. They destroyed the story. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Gustavo Melo Gallindo
5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite book
this is the 3rd or 4th time i have bought this set - i keep giving them out to friends. my favorite moment is when lee scoresby dies. :) Wikipedia agrees - [... Read more
Published on Oct. 26 2011 by Joshua Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts...
I can't possibly do justice to Philip Pullman's epic trilogy in a short posting but I will say that The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass are all captivating... Read more
Published on May 30 2011 by Reader Writer Runner
5.0 out of 5 stars An intricate, gorgeous, mind-blowing, emotionally-charged...
Hands down, these are my favorite books of ALL time! This trilogy is a beautiful masterpiece conceived by the amazing Philip Pullman. Read more
Published on Aug. 11 2010 by RG
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