October 16th, 2016 by Karen
Guess whose birthday is coming up in just a few days (on October 19th)! Okay, it’s probably really obvious, considering I gave it away in the title of this post. The answer is: Philip Pullman!
You probably know him as the author of the His Dark Materials books: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. The trilogy is super famous, and the first book was even adapted into a movie. But surprisingly, we’ve never featured the books on Kidsmomo. Time to remedy that — as a birthday present for Philip Pullman! I’m sure he will be delighted and love this more than all his other gifts this year.
Anyway… The books are about Lyra and Will, following their journey through a series of parallel universes. The first book focuses on Lyra as she investigates the disappearance of her friend and other children, leading to her discovery of the chilling plot behind their abductions and a hint of her role in battles to come. In the second book Lyra meets Will, who lives in a parallel version of Oxford, England. The rest of the trilogy follows their harrowing mission to save not just their own two worlds, but all the worlds.
The story told across these three books is truly epic, and I’d say it falls between fantasy and dystopian fiction: There is an adventure/quest feel to Will and Lyra’s travels, and there are plenty of fantastical elements (like daemons, which are talking animal spirits that are emotionally connected to their human companions). But I feel like the trilogy goes way beyond the traditional fantasy in terms of how dark and sinister the settings, situations, institutions, and characters are.
I’m taking SUPER dark, people. So if you’re not sure whether you’re up for it, I’d suggest you stay away. Even I found the third book to be too bleak for me. And that’s even after getting past the killings in the first two books! Then again, I’d say that’s one mark of a good book — one that can have such a strong effect on you. I have no interest in reading His Dark Materials again, but I’m glad I did!
If you’re unsure, you could also start with the movie. Check out the trailer:
Given how popular these books are, maybe you’ve already read them. In that case, thanks for taking the time to read my post and get all the way down to this point on the page! Why not go the final step and submit a review for the trilogy or your favorite of the three books?