This book is listed as a young adult but I have read the trilogy twice now as an adult and throughly enjoyed it. The Subtle Knife is the best of the trilogy. Read it the first time when my daughter was in elementary school and reread the series after seeing the Golden Compass. It keeps you on the edge of your seat and reading just one more chapter before you go to bed.
I did not care for the book itself. While I realize that good characters should change as time passes, just like people, I was bothered by the changes in Lyra. She just didn't seem like herself. Will, the main character for this book, didn't interest me all that much either. In fact, I can't say I cared or was even interested in ANY of the characters.
I continued reading this book, thinking it might get more interesting. The plot points were not compelling to me.
I realize this is a middle book, so it may get how this all fits together until the last book, but I'm not all that compelled to finish the series.
This is the second book in the series and does not stand alone so read The Golden Compass first. This is still a good read, but not as good as the first book.
There is some interesting stuff in here about wars in heaven and how angels came to be. There is a promise of a really interesting revelation. Lyra's father has upset the balance of the world in the first book and there are lots of references to Lyra being the Eve of the remaking of the world.
There are some anti-religious references, but the speculation is confined to fantasy. You must believe the fantasy the author creates to truly find this a reasonable argument against God.
I just finished the last of Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials books. I have to say all three were spellbinding and I ate them up.
The Subtle Knife is my favorite by far. If you are Lyra's fan you will love this book as I do. It is more of an in-depth look at our fair young heroine. This book brings in a new character as well. You won�t want to put this book down. The vivid imagination from the author paints a scene that will keep the pages turning unnoticed as the movie plays in your head.
This one picked up right away from where the first book (The Golden Compass) left off and was very interesting. I enjoyed it quite a bit. Mostly, I was thrilled and shocked with the end. It was exciting and surprisingly sad. I am very interested to keep reading. The religious stuff was a bit more involved in this one, and my only real complaint about the whole book was the over-use of the title within the prose. It just grated on my nerves.
The second in the His Dark Material trilogy, this book is just as good as the first, and sets the reader up for the amazing finale. Better than most fantasy I've ever read, and definately for more than just young adults!
I just finished reading this book and it is excellent.
Yes, it is a little dreary-dismal but so are the Harry Potter books and the Lord of the Rings.
Read the first one, The Golden Compass, first... definitely.
The book kept me interested throughout.
I read it all the way through and I am a grown-up!
All three books are keepers!
Second in the His Dark Materials trilogy, this book was as much of a page-turner as the first one. This book begins in "our" world at the home of a young boy named Will, who eventually meets up with Lyra, the girl from The Golden Compass, and they set out on their own adventures together from 'our' world to parallel universes that are recognizable but vastly different as they try to stop the evil Mrs. Coulter and her friends from gaining control of "dust."
I felt this book was a bit on the disturbing side. Children going out to kill God is scary at the best. The "Dust" are fallen angels that created man's conscience (which is clearly against the teaching of the Bible), and they are the ones that are guiding the children to the inevitable ending.
Again, as others have said, this is NOT a children's story. Just because the author declares it to be, does not therefore make it so. In fact, it reminds me of something scrawled on the restroom wall of my alma mater:
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.