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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on April 28, 2004
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
on January 6, 2008
I thought I agreed with everyone that this last book in the series was a complete disappointment. BUT....hear me out, I'm sure I'm not the only one that put down the book in order to really think for a moment(or threw it, as seems to be the case in many reviews since it seems to abrubtly stop without a hint of resolution). Perhaps the last book is so subtle compared to the first two and Pullman actually has a point that isn't spelled out and repeated over and over as many of his ideas in the writing are (the diamond shaped bodice of the mulefa....seriously, did any of you NOT miss that point? <sarcasm>). So, here is what I have deciphered as a coherent meaning to the end of The Amber Spyglass:

Mary Malone's role with the Mulefa IS important because it helps her to regain that feeling that she once had as a child falling in love (through her experimentation and understanding of Dust). She is led to the opening for the dead and is reminded to "tell them stories" which leads her to share this notion with Lyra. Lyra in turn has a "door open inside of her that she never knew existed" which causes her to acknowledge her love for will. That moment becomes the pebble that changes the course of the river (or whatever metaphor you prefer) and Dust, as a concious substance, uses that moment in time as a foothold to save itself. Shaky, yea...but it works. As for the whole "fall" comparison....Just as Adam and Eve are cast out of Eden at the realization of themselves to a life committed to finding a way back into Heaven, Will and Lyra are unable to stay in their "Eden" (being together) after their realization of love and are cast back into their worlds to a life committed to building the Republic of Heaven.

Now, I must say that this is by far a disappointment when compared to the other two books, but only in the sense that where Pullman has been anything but vague or subtle anywhere in the first two books; all of a sudden when you are expecting this amazing battle and armageddon, the death of the creator, resolution, etc. There's silence. Instead, he gives us a moment. One moment that this entire trilogy builds to. Over and over we are reminded that the different worlds exist because at one time when something happened in one, chances caused something different to happen in another and by that moment, caused another world to come into existence. The moment where Will and Lyra fall in love seems like a complete disappointment when in fact it is the only act that changes the course of everything. Anticlimatic, you bet. Annoying, to me at least. Pullman, however, does manage to end things and not leave you hanging you just have to read a little deeper than you had been.
So, I still think the book was a complete disappointment, but only because I desperately wanted a different ending. I wanted more of the characters I had grown to love, I wanted an amazing battle, resolution between Lyra and her parents, Will and his mother, etc. The book itself could never stand alone, yet you need to read it to come to your own terms about the trilogy.
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on January 4, 2007
"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, "Northern lights" (or "The golden compass", the name given to that book in USA) and "The subtle knife". I must say that I didn't love "The amber spyglass", but I'm glad I read it.

The books in "His Dark Materials" are the kind of books that make you happy someone taught you how to read. They are full of magic, interesting characters and weird events. In a nutshell, they make you dream, and awake your imagination, whether you are extremely young or already an adult.

From my point of view, that is extremely important, and that is the reason why I recommend "The amber spyglass" to you, even though I only give it 3 stars. Truth to be told, the real value of this book is not to be found as a standalone, but rather as the conclusion of an outstanding triology that is already a classic. Recommended!

Belen Alcat
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on April 25, 2004
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. She told me about the good reviews for this book and the prequels, and ordered The Golden Compass for me. It sat on my bookshelf for a while, but when I was looking for a good read I decided to pick it up. I read the first chapter, and at first it seemed bland and uninteresting. I sat for a while and remembered that something similar happened when I first read another book. Near when the first Harry Potter book came out, my uncle bought me one for my birthday. This sat on the shelf a long time too, because after reading the first chapter, which took me forever, I decided that I never wanted to read it. When the fourth book came out, there was an article in Newsweek that had an excerpt from the first chapter of the fourth book, which my mom convinced me to read. After reading it, I wanted the book right away, so I ran upstairs to read the copy I had. Remembering this, I decided that I probably would like The Golden Compass once I read it, and that I didn't want to miss out on a good book like I had almost done before. I ended up loving it. It read unlike anything I had read before, rivaling some of my favorite authors. The ending was so pulling that I had to get the other two.
The Amber Spyglass is an overly superb book. It has all the qualities of a good book, including good characters, a good plot, a good author, and a good setting. It makes for a good read, since it is over 500 pages long. The climax of the book was very surprising, but it has a great ending. I would highly recommend it.
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on March 29, 2004
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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on March 29, 2004
Have you ever wanted adventure and action put together? Well if you do, you would read the Amber Spyglass. This book is connected to two other books: The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. The Amber Spyglass is the third book of His Dark Materials Series. (...).
I enjoyed reading The Amber Spyglass because it has adventure, action and fantasy in it. This book has two main characters in it: Lyra and Will. (...)
My favorite part is when Lyra meets her old friend Roger who was ghost, Will went to see his dad (...).
I can not relate this book because it has its own story unlike any other story. It has its own two books with stories about how this got started. I would reccomend this book ages 10 and up. This is also reccomended to 5th graders and up. The Amber Spyglass is intense and diffucult. It has hard vocabulary to pronounce, and this book is long and thick and has over 500 pages. This book is hard for little ones and is a very good book for people who likes fantasy.
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on March 17, 2004
The point of departure for this truly creative fantasy/parallel worlds trilogy is an inversion of Milton's Paradise Lost. In the latter, Milton presented a poetic account and justification of the divine plan for the Universe. In Pullman's books, the Miltonic version is a distorted view of real events. In the Universe created by Pullman, a powerful angelic force, the Authority, claimed power over the previously created Universe and has been abusing this power for millennia to keep humanity (and other sentient species) in a form of bondage. This bondage ramifies throughout an virtually infinite number of parallel worlds. This trilogy describes a revolt against the Authority and its overthrow. The principle characters are 2 children, one from our world and one from a closely related parallel world with mixed features of the 20th century and Victorian Europe. The initial plot strand concerns efforts to understand a mysterious component of the Universe called Dust or Dark Energy. The following complicated plot is essentially a coming of age story as the two children encounter many exotic features of their and related worlds. The plot incorporates elements of Paradise Lost and the Garden of Eden myth.
The quality of writing in these books is superb. A host of interesting characters and high quality prose. Pullman's imagination is remarkable. He has essentially developed a whole new mythology incorporating elements of modern science, religious allegory, and modern history. Perhaps the only flaw is that he may have packed too much into the final and concluding book of the trilogy, which is an interesting compound of Armageddon, Ragnorak, and the Garden of Eden story.
These books have produced some controversy as some feel that they are anti-religious, even specifically anti-Christian. Pullman has denied this interpretation and suggested that the books are an allegorical attack on all forms of dogmatism and authoritarianism. This disclaimer seems disingenuous. One thing that Pullman very clearly attacks is the idea that there is a separate soul distinct from the body. An important and at times poetically presented component of these books is the idea that humans are an intrinsic, not separate component, of the natural world. Pullman actually presents a pantheistic view of the world with consciousness an immanent and emergent part of the natural world and humans (and other sentients) as particular extensions of this aspect of the natural world. He also allegorically criticizes human attempts to overwhelmingly control the natural world. Whatever he states, these views are a trenchant criticism of any world view resting on the idea of separate and eternal souls.
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on February 26, 2004
The Amber Spyglass Dell Yearling, 2002, 518 pp., $6.50
Philip Pullman ISBN 0-440-41856-9
"Leave me alone! I want to go! Let me go! Will, Will, help me-oh, help me-."
Lyra and Will, two courageous young individuals finish the thrilling adventures started in the first two books: The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. These young adventurers travel through many worlds taking on the adventure that would change everything. Lyra's father is planning a war that would determine the future of every world and the witches have a prophecy that Lyra and Will will play a very important role.
The Amber Spyglass is a book filled with trust, betrayal, love, and danger. Philip Pullman makes this story so real that I was actually witnessing it right before my eyes. I wasn't just watching it, I felt like I was part of the book and played one of the main roles. The author creates realistic dialogue, sets a good pace, and makes the story very visual.
The Amber Spyglass is an exciting, grabbing, and serious. I recommend this book to any person that loves adventure and becoming part of the story.
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The last time a book moved me, it was Dostoyevski's "Crime and Punishment". It is in the nature of good books to change the way one thinks about things. And I have changed because of this book. It is hard to express, these changes. But they are there all the same.
Perhaps its Pullman's language, for most part, there is an elegance here which I thought I have missed and never knew. There is also the time taken to describe places and people, so crisp and penetrating that I could easily see them in my mind's eye. All of this combine to make even his least important characters a gem to treasure, a friend to hold close to your heart. More than anything, Pullman managed to show me how much I have changed over the years and how little.
I cursed fate when heaven and hell and everything in between conspired to allow only one portal between the worlds to be kept open. You will know what I am talking about when you get to the end of the third book. And I know you will fee the same.
Yes, the book has changed me and I am greatful.
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on February 15, 2004
The final chapter in the "His Dark Materials" chronicles and it's a doozy. Leave it to Philip Pullman to come up with the slam bang finale to end all slam bang finales. In this last look at his beloved protagonists Lyra and Will (until he publishes their new adventures, that is), the forces of earth, heaven, and a myriad of different worlds have aligned for a final battle for the destiny of humankind and the fate of life/death itself. Booga booga.
There is some debate as to whether or not this is the weakest book of the saga. The book is filled with vast and complex ideas and new and interesting creatures, but there are a couple questions left unanswered at the end. Why was Dr. Malone the serpent? How exactly did Will and Lyra change the movement of Dust? Admittedly, these questions may be answered in the future. Pullman isn't done with this world yet. Some might say he's only just started, and this book is expertly woven. With additional characters and plotlines mixed and mingled into a big furry series of battles, he doesn't leave the reader feeling unsatisfied. Just a little sad. And after all, isn't that how most good books should end?
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