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4.6 out of 5 stars
The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials
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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 Spyglass. The subtle knife is where we are first introduced to Will and his story (an incredible one at that).

These books will take you on a fantastical journey through magical worlds with incredible object and even better characters. The story gets more complex as you move forward and you get more and more invested with the characters and story.
This is one of those series that we should all read. They are not a series just for children/teenager etc... They're for everyone.

Pullman wrote these books well and conveyed a solid story that had me trapped in it until I finished. You will feel empty when you're done, but you will have gained a lot in the process.

If you haven't read the second book in the series, you should do it now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 4, 2010
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.
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on June 8, 2009
I placed this oder as a birthday gift to my daughter, It took awhile, but it got rectified> Amazon responded to my email very quickly. I ended up with 2 books. So I instructed them to go ahead and charge me for the other book. Very good service and wouldn't have it any other way. My daughter is very happy.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 3, 2008
I read "The Subtle Knife" soon after having seen the movie "The Golden Compass" and I couldn't have realized that the story in "The Golden Compass" was just the tip of the iceberg. "The Subtle Knife" is supposed to be teen fiction, but I found it to be one of the heaviest books I've ever read. And thus, I'll be waiting a bit to read "The Amber Spyglass", but I will be reading it. "The Subtle Knife" and Philip Pullman have made that mandatory.
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on January 28, 2008
If you're thinking to read this series, His Dark Materials, or were a bit put off by the first book, don't hesitate in starting the second, The Subtle Knife. This one is significantly more focused and interesting than The Golden Compass.

I am thoroughly looking forward to finishing the series off now with The Amber Spyglass.
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on January 7, 2007
"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
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on July 25, 2006
Once again Philip Pullman pulls off a spectacular work of fiction. The second book in His Dark Materials series is a must read for anyone who enjoyed the first book. I definately think the series should be read in order so that full understanding of the plot can be accomplished. Pullman succeeds in his creation of new and unique ideas for the second book.
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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.
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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.
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on May 17, 2004
The Subtle Knife is a good middle book of a trilogy and in some ways a good 'link' book-not quite as good as the first in that you lose some of the novelty.Though Pullman makes enough changes for it to be still quite fresh;New Worlds,new good/bad guys etc while still having our mainstay links through the book in Lyra,Mrs Coulter,Asriel,Byrnison.It's a compulsive read-I read this very quickly as I did the first.Again,good fun and an easy read.Better than the Harry P books (for me) and,very readable for an adult.I do think that when reviewing childrens books that the reviewers should put their age down as I think it's no good a kid reading my thoughts on it to help them decide (I'm 40 yrs old)-and likewise no point in an adult using a ten year old to help himself decide if to get the books.I wish when I was a kid though,that at school,they made you read books like this rather than shakespeare etc.I would say,if you're an adult with kids,buy it,read it,and lend it to them!
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