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The Amber Spyglass [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Philip Pullman , Full Cast
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (711 customer reviews)

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Hardcover CDN $15.68  
Paperback CDN $8.54  
Mass Market Paperback CDN $9.49  
Audio, CD, Audiobook CDN $20.36  
Audio, CD, Audiobook, September 2002 --  

Book Description

September 2002 His Dark Materials
'We're going to the land of the dead and we're going to come back' - Will and Lyra, whose fates are bound together by powers beyond their own worlds, have been violently separated. But they must find each other, for ahead of them lies the greatest war that has ever been - and a journey to a dark place from which no-one has ever returned...
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From the very start of its very first scene, The Amber Spyglass will set hearts fluttering and minds racing. All we'll say here is that we immediately discover who captured Lyra at the end of The Subtle Knife, though we've yet to discern whether this individual's intent is good, evil, or somewhere in between. We also learn that Will still possesses the blade that allows him to cut between worlds, and has been joined by two winged companions who are determined to escort him to Lord Asriel's mountain redoubt. The boy, however, has only one goal in mind--to rescue his friend and return to her the alethiometer, an instrument that has revealed so much to her and to readers of The Golden Compass and its follow-up. Within a short time, too, we get to experience the "tingle of the starlight" on Serafina Pekkala's skin as she seeks out a famished Iorek Byrnison and enlists him in Lord Asriel's crusade:
A complex web of thoughts was weaving itself in the bear king's mind, with more strands in it than hunger and satisfaction. There was the memory of the little girl Lyra, whom he had named Silvertongue, and whom he had last seen crossing the fragile snow bridge across a crevasse in his own island of Svalbard. Then there was the agitation among the witches, the rumors of pacts and alliances and war; and then there was the surpassingly strange fact of this new world itself, and the witch's insistence that there were many more such worlds, and that the fate of them all hung somehow on the fate of the child.
Meanwhile, two factions of the Church are vying to reach Lyra first. One is even prepared to give a priest "preemptive absolution" should he succeed in committing mortal sin. For these tyrants, killing this girl is no less than "a sacred task."

In the final installment of his trilogy, Philip Pullman has set himself the highest hurdles. He must match its predecessors in terms of sheer action and originality and resolve the enigmas he already created. The good news is that there is no critical bad news--not that The Amber Spyglass doesn't contain standoffs and close calls galore. (Who would have it otherwise?) But Pullman brings his audacious revision of Paradise Lost to a conclusion that is both serene and devastating. In prose that is transparent yet lyrical and 3-D, the author weaves in and out of his principals' thoughts. He also offers up several additional worlds. In one, Dr. Mary Malone is welcomed into an apparently simple society. The environment of the mulefa (again, we'll reveal nothing more) makes them rich in consciousness while their lives possess a slow and stately rhythm. These strange creatures can, however, be very fast on their feet (or on other things entirely) when necessary. Alas, they are on the verge of dying as Dust streams out of their idyllic landscape. Will the Oxford dark-matter researcher see her way to saving them, or does this require our young heroes? And while Mary is puzzling out a cure, Will and Lyra undertake a pilgrimage to a realm devoid of all light and hope, after having been forced into the cruelest of sacrifices--or betrayals.

Throughout his galvanizing epic, Pullman sustains scenes of fierce beauty and tenderness. He also allows us a moment or two of comic respite. At one point, for instance, Lyra's mother bullies a series of ecclesiastical underlings: "The man bowed helplessly and led her away. The guard behind her blew out his cheeks with relief." Needless to say, Mrs. Coulter is as intoxicating and fluid as ever. And can it be that we will come to admire her as she plays out her desperate endgame? In this respect, as in many others, The Amber Spyglass is truly a book of revelations, moving from darkness visible to radiant truth. --Kerry Fried --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In concluding the spellbinding His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman produces what may well be the most controversial children's book of recent years. The witch Serafina Pekkala, quoting an angel, sums up the central theme: "All the history of human life has been a struggle between wisdom and stupidity. The rebel angels, the followers of wisdom, have always tried to open minds; the Authority and his churches have always tried to keep them closed." Early on, this "Authority" is explicitly identified as the Judeo-Christian God, and he is far from omnipotent: his Kingdom is ruled by a regent. The cosmic battle to overthrow the Kingdom is only one of the many epic sequences in this novelAso much happens, and the action is split among so many different imagined worlds, that readers will have to work hard to keep up with Pullman. In the opening, for example, Lyra is being hidden and kept in a drugged sleep in a Himalayan cave by her mother, the beautiful and treacherous Mrs. Coulter. Will is guided by two angels across different worlds to find Lyra. The physicist and former nun, Mary Malone, sojourns in an alternatively evolved world. In yet another universe, Lord Asriel has assembled a great horde of otherworldly beings-including the vividly imagined race of haughty, hand-high warriors called GallivespiansAto bring down the Kingdom. Along the way, Pullman riffs on the elemental chords of classical myth and fairy tale. While some sections seem rushed and the prose is not always as brightly polished as fans might expect, Pullman's exuberant work stays rigorously true to its own internal structure. Stirring and highly provocative. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more than a children's book April 28 2004
Format:Hardcover
This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. In some magical way, this is a book that, through the stories of several very original characters is able to address God, love, maturity, humanity's history and meaning, and countless other wonderful topics. This was more than just a novel to me; it has shaped my philosophy and way of looking at the world. Thos who say that this is a children's book a la "Harry Potter" are wrong. Maybe to the young readers, that's how it is, but I'm 14 and I was able to see that this is more than an easy, pleasurable fantasy like Harry Potter. This is a novel but also a manuscript of Pullman's philosophies and views. It is an extraordinary book that operates on a truly incredible, epic scale. From the first book, things just built up and built up, and here it all comes together in a brilliant, and very sad, climax. Read the series. You'll be enlightened.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Twisted and Unpleasant March 8 2002
By A Customer
Format:Audio Cassette
I am a great reader of fantasy books and had heard so much about this series... it was a huge disappointment and I hope parents will read the series before they let their kids read it. (Yes, I am a parent, but NO I do not believe in censorship - just common sense.) Then the parents can decide if it is appropriate. I thought it was garbled, depressing, with a poor story line and plot. Then the end... well that is another story in itself! This author was trying to teach his readers his own belief on death, -and that the judeo-christian belief in the afterlife is one big conspiracy and lie and that the truth is the merging of all things into one at the end of ones life. That is fine, but parents should be forewarned.
On a literary scale, however, the book is part of the worst of the fantasy genre - one of those books that does not have a clear story line or plot, and just seems to jump all over the place. Again, that is fine if you like those kinds of books. I prefer well written sagas like Lord of the Rings, Amber Chronicles, Harry Potter, etc... Those are nice and tight with clear story lines. The only good thing I can say is that the author does create characters with whom you can empathize. Anyway, good luck. I am sure many people disagree with me on this. But I would highly recommend that adults read these before turning kids loose with them, especially anyone under the age of 13.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Online book report April 25 2004
Format:Hardcover
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman is another great book. It continues the story of Lyra and Will that is told in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. At the end of the second book, The Subtle Knife, Will finally finds his father after a long search, only to see a witch kill him before will's very eyes. After the witch kills herself, two angels appear to tell Will that he must come with them to Lord Asriel, Lyra's father, who is leading the rebellion against The Authority. Will comes to get Lyra, and finds her gone. At the beginning of the book, we have no idea what is going to happen, but the ending surprises you.
The beginning of The Amber Spyglass is set in the beautiful Himalaya valley with a small village near a cave where Mrs. Coulter, Lyra's mother, is hiding her. Pullman elaborates the setting very well. "In a valley shaded with rhododendrons, close to the snow line, where a stream milky with meltwater splashed and where doves and linnets flew among the immense pines, lay a cave, half-hidden by the crag above and the stiff heavy leaves that clustered below" (Pullman 1). It is one of those books that you don't want to stop reading. He [Pullman] has created many completely different worlds, and an interesting way to travel between them. Some parts are completely unbelievable. Pullman even creates non-humans that have understanding the way we do. " Atal said, Yes. All the mulefa have this. You have, too. That is why we knew you were like us and not like the grazers, who don't have it" (Pullman 222).
When I first got this book, it was because of its two preqels. It must have been close to two years ago, when my mom was looking on amazon.com reviews for a good book for me.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fitting ending to a wholly original series March 29 2004
By dave-o
Format:Hardcover
Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' series is a young adult series that niether talks down to its audience nor lessen its grand scope because of it. The Amber Spyglass, while the slowest paced of the series continues to stay true to the characters and their belief in a girl's power to change the course of history.
The tension of the first to books is present in the first half of the book. The gathering rebellion against the Almighty swells to bursting points and characters that were scattered about various worlds are drawn together again. That Lyra is left helpless in the hands of Mrs. Couther and that beings from all corners are swarming in upon their hiding place makes the reader wanting how she will escape. The book loses steam, ironically just as its climax is about to shape in the war that has been building up in the previous two volumes. Characters emerge and fade out. Situations are set up so fast and their result often ambiguous through the lack of detail such as with a bomb incident. The title amber spyglass itself is not an object of fascination such as the altheometer or the subtle knife and the spyglass' creator Mary plays a much larger role but her actions are almost incidental and not as satisfying once everyone comes together in the end.
These are minor quibbles in an otherwise great set of books. Pullman's re-telling of 'Paradise Lost' is engaging, provoking, and wholly original.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars I love this book, but I hate that it was the last one. This is a...
I remember reading these books as a kid. I still remember every bit of my journey through the universes and how Crushed I was when I flipped the last page of the Amber... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Andres Consumer
5.0 out of 5 stars The amber spyglass
A beautiful and heart wrenching ending to an amazing series. I didn't want it to end but i couldn't put it down.
Published 10 months ago by Becca Wood
5.0 out of 5 stars An end to a series I didn't want to stop
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed His Dark Materials trilogy - the Amber Spyglass, in fact, was a book that kept me on edge almost the entire time I was reading it. Read more
Published on July 4 2010 by A. Taylor
4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and disappointing
This book, the last of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, was disappointing in that it didn't, to me, show the big picture clearly. Read more
Published on May 9 2008 by Chris
3.0 out of 5 stars The Temptation of Lyra *SPOILER*
I thought I agreed with everyone that this last book in the series was a complete disappointment. BUT.... Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2008 by Lyndsie Schnoor
1.0 out of 5 stars A huge disappointment
I loved the Golden Compass and the Subtle Knife but this book disappointed me terribly. I was outraged. Read more
Published on Dec 22 2007 by Andy
3.0 out of 5 stars The real value of this book is not to be found as a standalone, but...
"The amber spyglass" is the third and last book in Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" triology. It is good, but not nearly as engaging as the previous two books in the series,... Read more
Published on Jan. 5 2007 by M. B. Alcat
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable.
This is the third and last book in the His Dark Materials trilogy (after Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass in the US, and The Subtle Knife). Read more
Published on July 30 2004 by Stephanie Noverraz
1.0 out of 5 stars soppy and nonsensical
I'm sorry to say that Pullman's main achievement in this last book is to create yet another soppy paean to adolescence. Read more
Published on July 15 2004 by theskeptic
1.0 out of 5 stars Riveted.....and then sooooo disappointed!!!!
The first two books of this series were wonderfully written, fast paced marvels that held me riveted by the hour - I couldn't put them down. Read more
Published on July 14 2004
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