Prods the critical thinking part of the brain Mar 23, 2010
In the entire "His Dark Materials" trilogy, the quality that I most appreciate is the ambiguity of the "goodness" or "badness" of many of the characters. The reader obviously understands that Lyra and Will are on the righteous track, but among the other characters, I was uncertain to the very end just who was "in the right." I loved not knowing, for it is a very rare experience in contemporary literature.
"The Amber Spyglass" is the thoughtful, powerful conclusion to Pullman's trilogy, and it slows down somewhat as events near their climax. Focus shifts to the protagonists' internal revelations as their destinies draw near, and the narrative accordingly grows more dense and intimate.
While I am still not sure how I feel about the resolution of Lyra's role in the mysterious prophecy that's bandied about through the trilogy, I love that it made me think deeply and critically.
I understand that many people are concerned about Pullman's depiction of God and organized religion in these books. While I can see why they might be upset, I was always taught that exposure to criticism is good for a person (and for institutions), so while my feelings about theology and the church are very different from Pullman's, it did not stop me from getting a lot out of this series, and from finding the positive message that applies to life no matter how a person believes.