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review 2017-12-18 21:20
The Subtle Knife / Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman

Lost in a new world, Lyra finds Will—a boy on the run, a murderer—a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels.

Each is searching—Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father—but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, and their destinies are bound together... until they are split apart.

 

  Top notch stuff. The Subtle Knife picks up where The Golden Compass left off and drags the reader forward, into other worlds and into peril.

The children are precocious—bearing responsibilities well beyond their years—and the adults are unfathomable, with highly uncertain motives. Lyra & Will, despite feelings of inadequacy, don’t hesitate to step up—learn to take care of themselves, do research, ask questions, defend themselves. There are painful realizations to be had and dangerous adventures to be shared.

I will definitely look forward to reading The Amber Spyglass in the near future.

 

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text 2017-12-07 15:22
How is it already December 7th?
Living with Shakespeare: Actors, Directors, and Writers on Shakespeare in Our Time - Susannah Carson
The Drowned and the Saved - Primo Levi
The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding (The crime club) - Agatha Christie
Magic's Promise - Mercedes Lackey
Widow's Web - Jennifer Estep
The Subtle Knife - Philip Pullman
Christmas Stories - Diana Secker Tesdell
Hercule Poirot's Christmas: A Hercule Poirot Mystery - Agatha Christie
Prince Caspian - C.S. Lewis

 

We're rapidly approaching the end of 2017 and I'm not ready.  Christmas is coming at warp speed it seems, and I have a family party on the 23rd and I'll spend Christmas Day at my niece's house, staying with my sister in between those two events.  Then on the 29th, I fly to the west coast to see my other sister and go to a family wedding on New Year's Eve.  I'm looking forward to all of this, but I'm wondering when I'm going to get my Christmas cards written, the food contributions prepared, and my suitcases packed.

 

And of course, I want to tie up the loose ends of this reading year, read some Christmas books, and prepare for 2018.  A bit of Peace on Earth.

 

Last weekend, I got my Christmas tree set up & decorated.  I'm enjoying the coloured lights, celebrating the upcoming solstice and the return of more light.  These days it feels like I go to work in the dark and go home in the dark--I feel like a mole!

 

I know I will get it all done.  I always do.  And if I don't, the world will not end.  Keep telling me that.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. 

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review 2017-12-04 16:40
The Golden Compass Graphic Novel, Complete Edition (His Dark Materials) - Philip Pullman

A great visualization of the novel. It's nice to see the characters as Pullman describes them and the story done in the spirit much closer to the original than the movie.

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review 2017-11-28 02:23
La Belle Sauvage, Book of Dust #1 by Philip Pullman
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) - Philip Pullman

I waited too long. Faaaar tooo long. On top of the incredible length of time since the original trilogy carried me away when I was kid - The Amber Spyglass was the first book where I could hardly wait for it to come out. This is a magnificent return to the world of The Golden Compass. I wasn't sure how a prequel so many years later would even work, but there was so much going on in La Belle Sauvage and none of it felt like a retread. It was so much fun to read about daemons again.

Malcolm Polstead and his daemon Asta live with their parents in a small enclave north of Oxford. He helps his parents in their tavern and does odd jobs for the nuns across the river. He spends as much time as he can piloting his boat up and down the river. It is ten years before Lyra Belacqua overhears her father talking about Dust. Times are changing, however, the Church is growing in power, entering into private lives and the schools, and even Malcolm can see something is wrong.

La Belle Sauvage goes into darker territory than The Golden Compass, and that's saying something. Malcolm and his friends must risk their lives to protect an innocent with a great destiny. It was wonderful and I can't wait to read what happens next, ten years after The Amber Spyglass.

Next: The Secret Commonwealth

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review 2017-11-21 02:28
La Belle Sauvage Vol. 1 of The Book of Dust (Philip Pullman)
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1) - Philip Pullman

Synopsis: Malcolm is a schoolboy who accidentally intercepts a message intended for a spy. When that spy finds him he is drawn into a covert world of intrigue. Malcolm is also a devoted fan and protector of Lyra, a baby being raised by some nuns at a nearby convent.

Review: The Book of Dust is a new trilogy by Philip Pullman set in the His Dark Materials (HDM) universe. The first volume is La Belle Sauvage, though I find myself saying Book of Dust rather than that. Pullman maybe should have called the trilogy something else.

La Belle Sauvage is divided (well it feels like it at least) into two parts. In the first half of the book Malcolm becomes involved with a government agency that is fighting a shadow war against another agency that wants to establish
an authoritarian religious rule over it's people. Somehow Lyra, a small baby being raised in a convent, is important to these plans, and it becomes Malcolm's task to protect her.

The second half of the book is mostly concerned with Malcolm protecting Lyra and another character we are introduced to, Alice. What I really noticed about this part of the book is how the plot pinballed around. Malcolm and company bounce from one danger or challenge to the next, on a chapter by chapter basis, usually leaving one chapters dangers behind at the end of it. It feels odd because most of these dangers don't seem to really have a longterm impact on the plot.

The character building is good, with alot of focus on the building relationship between Malcolm and Alice. Malcolm is a likeable good natured kid, while Alice starts off a bit of a bitch. As the story goes on, this melts away and she grows closer to Malcolm which was a nice touch. We also gets seperate shots of Lord Asriel and the icy Miss Coulter (including a delicious little rebuttal for her).

Pullman is one of the few authors, (possibly the only one, I'm not sure) who is capable of tearing me up. That said I think I expected a little more from the book. While the character development was good, it seemed to lack emotion in a way I remembered from HDM. Still definitely worth a read; can't wait for the next two books to come out.

Next is is another Alastair Reynolds book, Slow Bullets. This one is fairly short, so I expect to have another review soon.

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