Customer Reviews


533 Reviews
5 star:
 (399)
4 star:
 (78)
3 star:
 (28)
2 star:
 (15)
1 star:
 (13)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sequel to a good first
While the plot of the Golden Compass is enthralling and a good read, the Subtle Knife expands upon it and unique ideas more than I would have imagined. I found myself much more taken in by the ideas Pullman expanded on - the link between science and fantasy and religion was a big appeal for me. This is a book (and series) I find myself telling everyone to read, because I...
Published on July 4 2010 by A. Taylor

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Cutting into the new world
Aside from a few slow chapters, this had some of the same action-packed excitement as the first. However, there were some issues that greatly cut down my enjoyment of it.

We step aside for a moment from the quest of Lyra to introduce Will, son of a lost explorer. He stumbles into another world after killing a thief, and there meets Lyra, journeying from her...
Published on Nov. 27 2003 by J. Bowman


‹ Previous | 1 254 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing sequel to a good first, July 4 2010
By 
A. Taylor (Winnipeg, MB Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials (Mass Market Paperback)
While the plot of the Golden Compass is enthralling and a good read, the Subtle Knife expands upon it and unique ideas more than I would have imagined. I found myself much more taken in by the ideas Pullman expanded on - the link between science and fantasy and religion was a big appeal for me. This is a book (and series) I find myself telling everyone to read, because I was so taken by just how unique the storyline is. You won't be disappointed reading this.

The Golden Compass is longer and not as enthralling, but it is a vital set up to this and the next book (The Amber Spyglass), and worth reading so you can continue on with the series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Lyra, new adventures, another mission and more friends..., Jan. 7 2007
By 
M. B. Alcat "Curiosity killed the cat, but sa... (Hanoi, Vietnam) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials (Mass Market Paperback)
"The subtle knife" is the second book in Phillip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" triology. The first book in the series is "The golden compass". If you haven't read it, don't continue reading this review because it has some spoilers. In case you have read "The golden compass", and are understandably eager to know how the story continues, I will give you some hints.

Do you remember the way in which "The golden compass" ended? Lyra and her daemon, Pan, enter an alternate world, passing through a bridge between worlds created by Lord Asriel. New adventures and an entirely new mission await them, as well as another friend, Will. Will Parry is a young boy from our world who is searching for his lost father, and running from the police after commiting a murder. Strangely enough, the fact that Will is a murderer makes Lyra trust him: after all, her dear friend Iorek is a murderer too.

Will and Lyra meet each other for the first time in a strange world where there are no adults, due to invisible Specters that kill them. That is the place where Will is going to find the Subtle Knife, a knife that can cut windows to other worlds, and that is capable of killing anything. Of course, that new tool will be highly useful to the children in their quest, related to the hideous crime Lord Asriel committed in order to create a bridge between worlds. Lyra and Will are not going to be alone, though: old and new friends will rush to help them. Unfortunately, they will also have to face old foes, and try to find out what some ambivalent people want from them.

On the whole, I think that "The subtle knife" is an entertaining book that will please those that have already read the first book in the series. Notwhitstanding that, I don't believe it is quite up to the very high standards previously set by "The golden compass". All the same, I recommend it as good reading material that you are likely to enjoy.

Belen Alcat
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars More gripping., July 8 2004
By 
This is the second book of His Dark Materials (after Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass in the US, and before The Amber Spyglass).
Will Parry is a twelve-year-old boy living in Oxford with his mother, who's suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and his cat Moxie. His father, an arctic explorer, has gone missing almost since the boy was born.
Will's mother has been facing more and more crises of late, and strangers have been harrassing her repeatedly, asking questions about her husband, about the letters he sent her twelve years ago. Will decides to send her to his old piano teacher's house to keep her safe, but when these men come back and search their home, Will accidently kills one of them. Not wanting to call the police because they would put his mother into hospital, he takes his father's letters from their hiding place in the sewing machine, and flees.
But walking on the side of the road, he sees a cat much like Moxie suddenly disappear. Examining the patch of grass more closely, he discovers a window, resolves to cross it, and finds himself in Cittàgazze, a sun-drenched, palm-treed city on the sea shore, in another world.
The city looks as if everyone just left in a hurry though, and when Will is looking for food in the recently abandoned cafés, he stumbles onto a lost young girl, Lyra. Although shocked to see a human without a daemon, and after asking her alethiometer for advice, she knows she can trust Will, and they finally decide to help each other.
The rest of the book describes how they travel back and forth between worlds, Will searching for his father, Lyra gathering information about Dust, both making new allies as well as meeting new enemies, facing new, more deadly dangers.
I liked The Subtle Knife more than Northern Lights (US title: The Golden Compass), was more gripped by it as a whole. I particularly enjoyed the connections between Lyra's and Will's (our) Oxford, when Lyra discovers what is similar, and what is not, to the place where she grew up. There's still a rather mystic edge to the story which I don't quite get, but I guess everything will clear up in the last chapter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars More gripping., July 8 2004
By 
This is the second book of His Dark Materials (after Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass in the US, and before The Amber Spyglass).
Will Parry is a twelve-year-old boy living in Oxford with his mother, who's suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, and his cat Moxie. His father, an arctic explorer, has gone missing almost since the boy was born.
Will's mother has been facing more and more crises of late, and strangers have been harrassing her repeatedly, asking questions about her husband, about the letters he sent her twelve years ago. Will decides to send her to his old piano teacher's house to keep her safe, but when these men come back and search their home, Will accidently kills one of them. Not wanting to call the police because they would put his mother into hospital, he takes his father's letters from their hiding place in the sewing machine, and flees.
But walking on the side of the road, he sees a cat much like Moxie suddenly disappear. Examining the patch of grass more closely, he discovers a window, resolves to cross it, and finds himself in Cittàgazze, a sun-drenched, palm-treed city on the sea shore, in another world.
The city looks as if everyone just left in a hurry though, and when Will is looking for food in the recently abandoned cafés, he stumbles onto a lost young girl, Lyra. Although shocked to see a human without a daemon, and after asking her alethiometer for advice, she knows she can trust Will, and they finally decide to help each other.
The rest of the book describes how they travel back and forth between worlds, Will searching for his father, Lyra gathering information about Dust, both making new allies as well as meeting new enemies, facing new, more deadly dangers.
I liked The Subtle Knife more than Northern Lights (US title: The Golden Compass), was more gripped by it as a whole. I particularly enjoyed the connections between Lyra's and Will's (our) Oxford, when Lyra discovers what is similar, and what is not, to the place where she grew up. There's still a rather mystic edge to the story which I don't quite get, but I guess everything will clear up in the last chapter.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Wonderful Book, May 1 2004
By A Customer
The Subtle Knife by Phillip Pullman is an excellent book with many exciting twists and turns. Unlike some fantasy books, it wasn't predictable or unbelievable. I could easily relate to the two main characters, Lyra and Will, and I was constantly wondering what would happen next. Will and Lyra are just two ordinary children with lives very similar to my own. Lyra is a small, curious, adventurous young orphan full of energy and not afraid to stand up for herself. Will is a shy young boy caring for his ailing mother. They are unlikely heroes and that's one of the reasons this book was so wonderful.
The way Pullman introduces these characters made me feel like I knew them personally and the way he describes the events in the story made me feel like I was there watching them happen. There wasn't a boring moment in the whole book. There was constant action, excitement and adventure. Throughout the book Will and Lyra are exploring other worlds similar to ours but with some differences, using a knife to cut through into the different worlds. Unlike in some fantasy books, these places are so creative and described so well that it was easy for me to picture them clearly in my mind.
Since it is the second book in a trilogy, The Subtle Knife could have left off with an unsatisfying ending like many sequels do. This book, however, did not. It had a wonderful ending that left me wanting to read the third book, The Amber Spyglass even more. It explained enough to be able to start reading it without reading the first book, but not enough to get boring for someone who had. The characters were easy to relate to, the plot was exciting, and everything was described with creativity and attention to details. All in all, this was a wonderful book and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a book that keeps them guessing until the very end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars �A Great Continuance of a Wonderful Fantasy�, April 28 2004
By 
James Duckett (St. George, Utah) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
(Four and a half stars)
The first book took place in Lyra Belacqua's world and the second book takes place in a new world between hers and the one we know that is infested by Specters, a ghostly personage that feasts on those who have passed puberty.
This book introduces a new character, Will Parry, who is thrown into this series when he comes across a doorway between our world and this new world. Inside he befriends Lyra and finds a powerful knife which can be used to move between worlds.
Together, Will and Lyra join together to pull each other through their challenges as Lyra learns more of her great destiny and improves her understanding of dust and the origins and usage of the alethiometer.
The action isn't as strong as the first book, but this is still a wonderful story. If you've read and enjoyed the first book I would highly suggest picking up this one and continuing from the first book's cliffhanger. A lot of questions are answered in this book and a few more questions are introduced as well. It all makes for a fantastic finish in the third book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Frankly, a dissappointment, April 28 2004
I know. Sorry. I gave it a poor rating and thus it won't be helpful to most of you. (look back at all the negative reviews, none of them were very "helpful") But, I really had high hopes coming into this book. You see a mysterious man on the cover along with somebody who apparently is Lyra Silvertongue (thats not how I pictured her, which is why I hate book covers with people on them) with her daemon being a tiger, and the man's a cat.
The Golden Compass was one of the best fantasy books I read, honestly. A five-star. Couldn't put it down.
Much to my suprise, this book opens up with this mysterious boy's home being the setting. We never heard of him until now. It is completely randomly ransacked, and thats not explained until much later in the story. He travels into a mysterious world where he meets Lyra. Then, that world is hardly mentioned again. How mysterious. Sounds like a plot-hole to me.
I'm ignoring the whole preachy thing about this book, and killing God and all. It was just dissapointing.
It kind of jumps around in the beginning from Wil, to the witches (randomly, again) to Lyra.
I could hardly keep reading this book. I was finding excuses not to. Kinda pathetic. Not that it wasn't okay... just really boring at parts. I think I skipped some pages. Couldn't have been to important. Nothing really was.
I kept wondering when it was going to end... like the author wanted us to keep the torture going... don't give me wrong, its exciting to read about people finding other worlds... but what was up with the giant killer ants, that like, attacked grownups?
Weird book. I didn't like it much.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Exciting Story from a Child's View, April 16 2004
By 
The Subtle Knife, the second book to Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials Triology, is a wonderful story about two young children in a strange and unknown world. The book takes off when Will, a young boy from our world finds a portal into a strange new world. However, this world is very different than ours. Children are running around town with no parents and strange shape-shifting animals that seem to follow them wherever they go. Soon he meets a young girl named Lyra who teaches him about other worlds. Then Will becomes the bearer of the Subtle Knife. This strange knife opens all kinds of different openings into different worlds in which Lyra and Will must search to bring their journeys to an end. The children, each looking for something different set off together in hopes they can help one another. This book is filled with great description, and is a must read for people of all ages. The Subtle Knife is filled with twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the third book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Top of the List - From a Children's Book Enthusiast, March 25 2004
By 
Susan Howson (Richmond, VA, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have been collecting and treasuring children's books since the moment I realized I wasn't a child anymore, so I've been around the block with authors that target a young adult audience. I stumbled across The Golden Compass when a friend of a friend pushed it at me one day saying "You really and truly will not be able to put it down." She was right.

Pullman will probably appeal to a young audience because of the spirit of adventure and richness of characters, but I believe that adults will get the most out of these books. The theory behind his ideas are amazing, and his villains are terrifying in their similarities to real-life human traits. Mrs. Coulter is probably one of the most interesting characters ever created and could have fit in well in Roald Dahl's The Witches. Her cunning, changeability, charm, and ability to turn on her own daughter make her kind of evil one we don't usually see.

The introduction of Will and "our" Oxford make this book probably the most interesting, albeit shortest, in the trilogy. The interplay between Will and Lyra is fascinating and allows us to see our heroine from another perspective. Their personalities complement each other so well, you'll be so engrossed by their cooperative endeavors that you'll forget they're not real people in your life.

After having read so many books for youngsters, both classic and contemporary, it's easy to sort the lasting from the flashes in the pan. The His Dark Materials trilogy reads like Dahl, Barrie, and C.S. Lewis (although it certainly doesn't emphasize fun and subtle humor the way the former two tended to do) in that it is never cheesy, never condescending, and chock full of beautiful, well thought-out details. It's not Harry Potter and it doesn't have to be. Both are completely enjoyable in different ways.

One important note on the edition you buy: You will have a better reading experience with the Knopf edition (preferably hardback). This is especially true with The Amber Spyglass, the third book in the trilogy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Joint Review of His Dark Materials, March 17 2004
By 
R. Albin (Ann Arbor, Michigan United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 254 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials
The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (Mass Market Paperback - Sept. 9 2003)
CDN$ 8.99 CDN$ 8.54
Usually ships in 1 to 3 weeks
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews