Wednesday, June 10, 2009
In a Nutshell:
It is hard to boil down this amazing trilogy by Philip Pullman. The wonderful, fantastic world he has created and the amazing plots and subplots in it explores Religion and superstition, the complex relationships of parents and their children, the relationships of ourselves to our own souls, what friendship really means, what death is like and what Love really might be about. SO on one layer, you have a wonderful fantasy about a young girl and boy who travel through a magical world with talking animals, pirates, polar bear warriors and more-all while escaping their ego-maniacal parents, bad and good angels, "soul eaters", ghosts and the "Government". But there is a whole other, deeper level that calls into question much of established religious beliefs. This series was originally sold as young adult fiction but many adults have taken it on, much like Harry Potter.
I love good fantasy-always have. And I simply devoured this series. Religious undertones aside, it is simply a dynamic, action packed read with many twists and turns, some of which you can't believe yourself. Out of all three, my favorite was The Subtle Knife. The Amber Spyglass got a little weird for me at the end. You knew the author was leading up to the two main characters hitting puberty and falling in love. But when it does happen, it is not very emotional or believable. The love story was kind of "cold". The main characters traipse through various "worlds" using "the Subtle Knife", but the world the main characters end up in was very odd. It was home to "hippie-esque" elephant-like creatures that roll on wheels with their foot-bones as a way to adapt to their world. They used sap from indigenous trees to keep the wheels well-oiled on their "feet" and that's how they got around. But the trees were dying which would mean the end of their civilization. The two children and a fellow friend need to find out why the trees are dying. The reason ends up being a culmination of all three books. It seems Pullman is trying to make a point about evolution and the garden of Eden here, but it is strange and a little odd. Otherwise, the adventures and story told in these three books are pretty darn good.