The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials Mass Market Paperback – Sep 9 2003
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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!
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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 morePublished on July 18 2014 by Andres Consumer
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 on Oct. 17 2013 by Becca Wood
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 morePublished on July 4 2010 by A. Taylor
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 morePublished on May 9 2008 by Chris
I loved the Golden Compass and the Subtle Knife but this book disappointed me terribly. I was outraged. Read morePublished on Dec 22 2007 by Andy
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 morePublished on July 30 2004 by Stephanie Noverraz
I'm sorry to say that Pullman's main achievement in this last book is to create yet another soppy paean to adolescence. Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by theskeptic
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