Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

"The Subtle Knife" is book 2 in the "His Dark Materials" series. I found myself a little more captivated by this book than I did the first book in the series, "The Golden Compass," but I think that's because this story was entirely new to me whereas I had seen the movie for the first book.

In book two we meet Will, a boy from our earth, who's despretely trying to find his father. He's a tough kid, he actually murders someone at the beginning of the book, and he needs every ounce of strength he has to face the challenges on his journey! He discovers a hole between worlds and travels to another one, where he runs into Lara, the heroine from book one. The two of them team up to learn more about dust and to find Will's Dad.

As they search they encounter a mysterious knife with strange powers. They have no idea just how powerful the knife is, and we only learn morea about that towards the end of the book. Will becomes the barrer of this knife, a role that does eventually lead to a tragic reunion with his father.

While Will and Lara go about their own adventures we also follow the adventures of our old frends Serefina Pekkala and Lee Scoresby. Each has their own adventures in this book and each person will play an important role in helping Lara and Will. I really liked both their characters in the last book so I was excited to see them play prominant roles in this one!

I mentioned in my review of the first book that I know the Christian community was up in arms when the "The Golden Compass" was made into a movie. After reading the first book I really didn't understand it. It wasn't really any different than many other fantasy books I've read. Now that I've read the second book I'm beginning to see the issue that many Christians have with the series. 

Lord Asriel is attempting to take on the ultimate force of good, or, God. Now, it didn't really bother me that the church is portrayed as corrupt in this series because I'm well aware that many church's ARE corrupt, but taking on God? I don't see this as going great places. I enjoyed the fast majority of this book, but I'll admit I'm a bit leery to read the end of the trilogy, where the big battle is supposed to happen.


Pamela Baker said...

As an avid reader, I always look forward to your reviews. There are times when we pass up so many good books without even knowing what is within it's cover.

Anonymous said...

Have fun with the last book - it's the one I had the most issues with. Not because of it's anti-Christian message (which I'm used to - is that bad?) but because it becomes Pullman's personal crusade in that he takes great pains to spell it all out over and over until I can't enjoy the story mainly 'cause I'm tired of him trumpeting it all for the fifth or sixth time. I'm interested to hear your take on it. :)

Becky said...

I loved this series, but the last one is something else!
Can't wait to see what you think! :D

uniquecommodities said...

Really busy but working like a worker bee! You go girl!

Carapace said...

I have to admit, I was kind of annoyed by the outcry over the "antiChristian" message. I mean, at least by the second book, he's not saying anything about Jesus- it's just, well, God's a jerk. But that's in the cosmology of that universe. It often seems to me that self-appointed Christian watch groups willfully ignore that; most fantasy series (that aren't specifically Christian) create new gods or myth-systems. The Discworld gods are made by Discworld people. Tolkien's Middle Earth had creators some characters knew by name. Lyra has a daemon. It's not our world! And yeah, I know Pullman has said he personally has problems with organized religion, but so what? He's not nearly as anviliocious as a lot of the Christian writers I enjoy anyway (yeah, I'm lookin' at you, Lewis! Don't think you can avoid it by being technically dead!).
I'll let writers get away with anything in their cosmology, as long as it's internally consistent. Heck, that's something actual myths don't often possess right there. It irritates the heck out of me when people won't let a universe have its own breathing space; it feels like a violation of the unwritten contract.
Ahem. Probably more comment than you wanted. What can I say, you got me thinky.:)
But Rose, if you decide you don't like the last book, you can always hurl it in my direction. Our library still doesn't have it. :P
"Plenesti"! Is apparently my verification word. I should save these words for fantasy story-names...