Book review: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Reviewing trilogies as separate books is quite difficult to do, especially when it’s the second one. You’re smack bang in the middle of the story, you don’t want to give too much away in the review but you still need to talk about what happened in the first one for it to make sense. So bear with me on this; I’ll do my best and try to do it justice!

The Subtle Knife is the second book of the “His Dark Materials” trilogy. They’re classed as kids books, but they’re like Harry Potter in the sense that adults can read and enjoy them too. As a matter of fact I did try to read the trilogy when I was a kid but I couldn’t get into it, so I thought I’d give them another go.

I read the first book “Northern Lights” over a year ago and because I have so many “to-read” books on my list it’s taken me until now to get round to this one. I actually enjoyed it more than the first. We continue the story of Lyra and her quest to find out more about the mysterious Dust, and we are introduced to Will, who is on the hunt for his explorer father, who has been missing for years.

In general, fantasy novels aren’t really my thing. But I actually enjoy these books. I think it takes great imagination to come up with these kind of ideas. The book moves in and out of three different worlds; one which is the same as ours and two which are very different. The thing that interested me most in the book was the idea of the daemons. Upon seeing he doesn’t have a daemon of his own, Lyra remarks that Will’s must be inside him. I think there’s actually an element of reality in that – that everyone has a daemon. We might call them different things – conscience, soul or whatever – but the idea is essentially the same.

4/5 stars because I couldn’t pronounce some of the words in the book and I have no idea how a child would be able to!


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