The world of Cittagazze is an unsettling place: silent, empty streets, the threat of horrible death from the soul-eating Spectres from which only children are safe. Into this world comes Will, a 12 year old boy who has just killed a man. On the run, he meets a strange young girl called Lyra. Their paths take them to the mysterious Torre degli ...Read MoreThe world of Cittagazze is an unsettling place: silent, empty streets, the threat of horrible death from the soul-eating Spectres from which only children are safe. Into this world comes Will, a 12 year old boy who has just killed a man. On the run, he meets a strange young girl called Lyra. Their paths take them to the mysterious Torre degli Angeli, where they must somehow acquire Cittagazze's most important secret: an object which people from many worlds would kill to possess. But Will has his own task as well: he must find the father he has never known. Could it be that this quest, and Lyra's, are a part of the same larger one? The Subtle Knife is part 2 of the trilogy His Dark Materials.Read Less
In this second book of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, Lyra leaves the captivatingly created world in which the entire first book took place. Despite my reluctance for the narrative to leave Lyra's world, I was ultimately caught up even more tightly in the new worlds into which she ventures. Pullman's creativity really caught fire here, and his skill in committing these flights of imagination to the page is nearly unmatched in other contemporary young adult authors. I literally could not put the book down except to do the most basic tasks, such as eating and sleeping when I absolutely HAD to.
"The Subtle Knife" may simply be a transitional book between the beginning and the denouement of Lyra's story, but it hurtles with the pace of a freight train, making for a very exciting read. One of the most effective aspects of Pullman's storytelling is that despite the heart-pounding, frantic speed of the narrative, he still somehow makes time for deep, intricate characterizations of his protagonists and antagonists. I always felt like I was reading about real people in these fantastical circumstances.
This book is a wonderful continuation of the very complex story begun in the first installment.
Jul 5, 2007
Don't be put off by the "young adult" label. This is subtle, erudite fantasy. You must read The Golden Compass (Northern Lights) and The Amber Spyglass, the first and last books in the trilogy.
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