Book Reviews of His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass

His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass
His Dark Materials Trilogy The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass
Author: Philip Pullman
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ISBN-13: 9780440419518
ISBN-10: 0440419514
Publication Date: 5/27/2003
Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Rating:
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.
 32

3.8 stars, based on 32 ratings
Publisher: Yearling Books
Book Type: Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

21 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 72 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
Recently blasted as explicitly anti-Christian in nature, Philip Pullman's fantastically-realized trilogy, "His Dark Materials", has several important things to say on the nature of humanity. Yes, the book presents religion in a negative light, but as a Christian myself, I find many of Mr. Pullman's ideas about how dangerous theocracy and dogmatism can be to be absolutely true. This work, a collection of all three of the books in the series, is magnificently written, and the worlds in which the author takes the reader are amazing and truly original from any other "fantasy" worlds of other books. I would highly recommend these books to all open-minded individuals, including those who are deeply religious. You might not agree with everything presented in the work (I don't, either!), but remember...it's FICTION. Plus, it's always good to hear out a viewpoint different from your own. It's what helps you grow! Happy reading!
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
Wonderful series, highly imaginative and well developed characters. I'm an adult and I enjoyed reading this. I would also love reading this to children if I had any. I like this more than the Harry Potter series actually.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on
Helpful Score: 6
These are well written adventure fantasies that young adults and adults who like their imaginations tickled can enjoy. There are a number of passages that have spine tingling suspense and take your breath away conflict. By the end you'll be sorry to let these characters go.

If you don't have an open mind or think a book has supernatural powers don't bother because there are attitudes about authoritarian religion that are unmistakable. But if you can understand the boundaries between reality and fiction fasten your seatbelt and get ready for a visceral thrill and a philosophical challenge.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on
Helpful Score: 5
Great series. Enjoyable read. NOT ABOUT KILLING GOD AT ALL. Not to post spoilers, but if anyone actually read from front to back, they'll know the truth.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on
Helpful Score: 3
Excellent book took me a bit to get into each of the books once i got into it i did not want to put it down.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 32 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Ok, I am not a Christian, but I definitely can see the whole "killing God" story line. By the end of the Amber Spyglass, I was about ready for the author to get OFF HIS SOAPBOX already. If I wanted to be preached at about someone else's God philosophy, I would actually GO to church.

If you are religious, these books will probably offend you deeply, especially the third book in the series. If you're not religious, you probably won't have a problem with them.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
The Golden Compass gets five stars for an original setting, vibrant and interesting characters, and definitely a unique problem to solve. It was an engaging quick read and I fell for Lyra and the idea of souls/daemons immediately.

Then I hit a brick wall called The Subtle Knife. Without anything to ease you into it Lyra leaves the world you know all together. It could not have been more harsh and for every chapter I forced myself to read I stopped and read an entirely different novel before again forcing myself to come back.

Every paragraph was a chore, because there were so many plot holes you didn't feel like moving forward.... I bitterly missed Lyra's world.

By the time I got to the Amber Spyglass I was surprisingly engaged with Will and Lyra and trying to figure out Asriel and Marissa's lies and truths, but the 3rd book is more of the same pattern though we start to see progress in plot. When I reached the end it might have been at least a relief, however after the children give up so much of themselves they are unmercifully punished for their good deeds in a series of broken ideas.

It was cruel and left me feeling punished as well.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This trilogy is well written, and I was riveted, but as a Christian parent of young children I had some concerns. I'm a fairly liberal intellectual, and I was surprised to find about halfway through the second book to find that the object of the books seemed to be an attack on organized religion and on deity. As fantasy fiction, it's fantastic, and it's wonderful to see such strong female characters and such focus on interpersonal relationships. If you're a Christian parent, I'd read through myself before deciding whether to share it with your kids, and I'd be sure to have frequent conversations about the content while they're reading. For adults, more mature children, and non-Christians, you're in for a real treat. It's not often kids' lit is this rich and frank.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 109 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
When 12-year-old Lyra Belaqua leaves her home in Oxford to pursue the elusive and dangerous gobblers and rescue her friend from their dangerous experiments she doesn't know that her adventures will take her to another world, that she'll meet creatures she's never even suspected existed, that she'll make friends and enemies and that she has a destiny more remarkable than anything she has ever imagined.

When I sat down to write this review I knew it wasn't going to be easy. I've already chucked everything a couple of times and here's why: I can't help but feel ambivalent about these books. As far as the writing goes they are brilliant. I wish there were more books with this level of writing and that children were strongly encouraged to read them. The language is beautiful and combined with the extremely accessible style it creates an effect of easygoing elegance. The plot, the characters, the universe as a whole and every scene in particular are expertly crafted and the elaborate machine of multiple character arcs and multiple worlds never misses a beat. I admire Pullman's world building, attention to detail and creativity and would love to find out more about how he actually came up with all the pieces of the puzzle that's never really straightforward.
If you've been following the blog you know that I'm very fond of books that show people and the world we live in as realistically as possible even if the genre is fantasy. After all human nature is the same regardless of the time and place. Pullman definitely delivers as far as that goes. I kept catching myself thinking that every single character cannot be categorized definitively as good or evil. They all perform feats worthy of heroes and they all lie and kill to defend themselves, their friends and what they believe in. They all grow and change and discover something about themselves and each other. And it's like that in the real world too - things are hardly ever just black and white, pretty much everything is a shade of gray.
My reservations with these books stem from the theme, which is the struggle between science and religion where on one side there's knowledge, self-awareness, acceptance of maturation and understanding of the world around us and on the other side there's faith, church, innocence, reverence for mystery of creation. This conflict is nothing new, but here's the twist: here on the side of science are the good guys, young, honest and brave and on the side of religion are the bad guys, at best decrepit and senile and at worst underhanded, cruel and deceitful. As a Christian I found it difficult to read books like these, especially since as an adult I know what I believe, but young minds are still forming and while I don't think teens and pre-teens are so unperceptive that this radical, uncompromising view would elude them I do wonder whether they would regard it as perfectly acceptable or whether they would question it for its onesidedness. For this reason I would suggest that parents read the books before their children and decide whether they are appropriate for them.
I would definitely recommend these books to those who are looking for a beautifully-written, well-crafted story but I would speak about my apprehensions as well.

You can find more of my reviews at bibliophilescorner.blogspot.com
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on
This was a wonderful series and made me want to be right there in the books with them from beginning to end. In fair warning, you will get emotionally attached to the characters as you read along with the challenges and dangers facing them, and see how they solve each one along the way. ^^
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 44 more book reviews
This is a hardcover 3-in-1 compilation of the series.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 79 more book reviews
This book contains 3 books and is by Philip Pullman. It contains: "The Golden Compass", "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass".
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 158 more book reviews
His Dark Materials Omnibus -Philip Pullman

This book contains THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE SUBTLE KNIFE, and THE AMBER SPYGLASS in one delightful and action-filled package. What a feisty young heroine, what an interesting premise, what do you believe and who do you trust? If only Id known about books like this when I was young, what intriguing lessons I might have learned while galloping along this magical adventure. Im pert near ancient now and thoroughly enjoyed the whole read. Any 11-13 year old girl (Boys are allowed too, by the way) would love to be so essential in saving the world(s). And this old gal is looking for more like it!
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 252 more book reviews
This is a collection of all 3 books in one big book.
The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass

I saw the movie the Golden Compass and I really wanted to know what happened next. Since they will not be making any more movies I decided to read the books. I am glad I did because now I can put closure to the story. I am happy that I saw the movie because I could use the characters from the movie as my mental picture.

I do not think this is a book for children. It takes an open mind to read and enjoy this trilogy. I know that many hate this book. It is just a book, a work of fiction. The author is not preaching to you, he is telling you a story. Once you get past the first book you start to enter into what the book is really about. It is about a great War between Intelligent Beings from all Worlds and the Authority. This book explores a version of what it could be.

The first 2 books were really good, the third was OK. Ending is not tied up with a bow. I was disappointed.

The Golden Compass: Meet Lyra. She is being raised by Scholars. Her Uncle is off exploring and left her in their care. Children from the area towns are being taken and never seen from again. She sets off to find them. She explores her world meeting many characters along the way.

The Subtle Knife: Lyra meets Will. Will is from another world. Together they go on a journey to find his father and to discover what dust is.

The Amber Spyglass: How can Lyra and Will fix the all the Worlds?
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on
Edges of Cover are a little Worn.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 40 more book reviews
DO NOT BE FOOLED! Our family listened to the audio of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife - enjoying the action, while still having an uncomfortable feeling in the gut. When we got to the third book in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass - we stopped listening. For the Christian - this is NOTHING SHORT OF BLASPHEMY. The entire series is about "killing God" in the author's own words. The third book in the worst - but all are bad....trying to set the trap to ensnare kids into the fantasy world of believing all this stuff. No, the demons, witches, spectors and talking animals didn't freak us out. It was the out-and-out lies of an athiest author that turned us off. So, IF YOU ARE CHRISTIAN....DON'T BOTHER WITH THIS SERIES.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 40 more book reviews
DO NOT BE FOOLED! Our family listened to the audio of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife - enjoying the action, while still having an uncomfortable feeling in the gut. When we got to the third book in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass - we stopped listening. For the Christian - this is NOTHING SHORT OF BLASPHEMY. The entire series is about "killing God" in the author's own words. The third book in the worst - but all are bad....trying to set the trap to ensnare kids into the fantasy world of believing all this stuff. No, the demons, witches, spectors and talking animals didn't freak us out. It was the out-and-out lies of an athiest author that turned us off. So, IF YOU ARE CHRISTIAN....DON'T BOTHER WITH THIS SERIES.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 9 more book reviews
If you are an Atheist you will enjoy the book. Pullman has two kids kill
God, in the third book, so they can do what they want. Check Snopes.com to verify. I won't let my kids go to the movie or read the book. I prefer to read books before them.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 40 more book reviews
DO NOT BE FOOLED! Our family listened to the audio of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife - enjoying the action, while still having an uncomfortable feeling in the gut. When we got to the third book in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass - we stopped listening. For the Christian - this is NOTHING SHORT OF BLASPHEMY. The entire series is about "killing God" in the author's own words. The third book in the worst - but all are bad....trying to set the trap to ensnare kids into the fantasy world of believing all this stuff. No, the demons, witches, spectors and talking animals didn't freak us out. It was the out-and-out lies of an athiest author that turned us off. So, IF YOU ARE CHRISTIAN....DON'T BOTHER WITH THIS SERIES.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 40 more book reviews
DO NOT BE FOOLED! Our family listened to the audio of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife - enjoying the action, while still having an uncomfortable feeling in the gut. When we got to the third book in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass - we stopped listening. For the Christian - this is NOTHING SHORT OF BLASPHEMY. The entire series is about "killing God" in the author's own words. The third book in the worst - but all are bad....trying to set the trap to ensnare kids into the fantasy world of believing all this stuff. No, the demons, witches, spectors and talking animals didn't freak us out. It was the out-and-out lies of an athiest author that turned us off. So, IF YOU ARE CHRISTIAN....DON'T BOTHER WITH THIS SERIES.
reviewed His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass on + 40 more book reviews
DO NOT BE FOOLED! Our family listened to the audio of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife - enjoying the action, while still having an uncomfortable feeling in the gut. When we got to the third book in the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass - we stopped listening. For the Christian - this is NOTHING SHORT OF BLASPHEMY. The entire series is about "killing God" in the author's own words. The third book in the worst - but all are bad....trying to set the trap to ensnare kids into the fantasy world of believing all this stuff. No, the demons, witches, spectors and talking animals didn't freak us out. It was the out-and-out lies of an athiest author that turned us off. So, IF YOU ARE CHRISTIAN....DON'T BOTHER WITH THIS SERIES.