Review: The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman

amber spyglass

 

Synopsis :The Amber Spyglass brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heart-stopping end, making the final volume of His Dark Materials the most powerful of the trilogy. 

Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Byrnison the armored bear, come a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Gallivespian Lord Roke, a hand-high spymaster to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. So, too, come startling revelations: the painful price Lyra must pay to walk through the land of the dead, the haunting power of Dr. Malone’s amber spyglass, and the names of who will live–and who will die–for love. And all the while, war rages with the Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal battle that–in its shocking outcome–will uncover the secret of Dust. Philip Pullman deftly brings the cliff-hangers and mysteries of His Dark Materials to an earthshattering conclusion–and confirms his fantasy trilogy as an undoubted and enduring classic.

 

Rating:

4/5

Pros:

Good ending to the trilogy

Most main character arcs are resolved

Lyra and Will’s story had a logical conclusion. No “because books” ending

Interesting philosophical angles

Interesting take on Enoch, Adam, Eve, the Tempter and the Garden of Eden

Liked the new lore introduced upon meeting some new species

I liked the idea that the book ended with

 

 

Cons:

Slowest of all the books

The main events that the whole trilogy had been building toward felt very anti-climatic to me

Some character endings felt rushed

Lyra never gets any more likable (to me.)

Two of the characters change A LOT between book one and book three with no explanation at all.

One of the main characters doesn’t get an ending

 

Overview:

I think, eventually, I am going to have to re-read the trilogy and see if I can get something out of it that I didn’t the first time around. I more or less enjoyed the reading of all the books but I just felt empty when it was done. I didn’t feel satisfied as far as the story went.

I read on Goodreads someone said that if you finish the trilogy and aren’t a better person than you are reading it wrong or some such comment.

Well, I don’t feel like a better person.

The Amber Spyglass is the finale to the His Dark Materials trilogy. It starts immediately where The Subtle Knife ended and picks up with Will trying to find Lyra as he begins to comprehend the power he holds in his hands.

When push came to shove, I felt there was one thing that the whole trilogy had been building up to that never happened and the other thing they spent two books building up was just…over…I didn’t feel as though the characters accomplished or changed anything. To me, at the end, it felt as though the entire journey was a waste.

I do give kudos to the author for where Lyra ends up, reminiscing about how she remembers people. She remarks at one point how everyone in her world has changed while she’s been away when, really, Lyra herself grew up. Or I think that’s what the author intended.

I don’t actually feel she underwent any kind of change except, if I really reach, I can say that she learned patience from Will. Other than that she was the same girl at the beginning as at the end, she just saw the world different because of who she had met along the way.

The reason I gave this book, as well as the series, an over all 4 instead of lower based on the final book is because I did enjoy the philosophical side to a point. It didn’t feel preachy to me but I also agree with the points he was trying to make.

I also thought, where the trilogy itself was concerned, that the way it was executed was really interesting.

In book one you start with Lyra and then you branch off as she meets other characters. Every significant character she meets eventually branches off into their own story so you are learning the adventures of many characters instead of just Lyra.  Lyra is the center of the story but among the least important characters until the last 10o pages or so.

Or at least that’s how I perceived it but I do recognize why other people may have loved it as much as they did.

I think perhaps it just wasn’t for me at this point in my life.

I will eventually buy it on my Kindle(the book I have is the trilogy on giant pages with small text that is over 1000 pages long) so as to be easier to read and see if a second read through changes how I see it.

For now, The Amber Spyglass and His Dark Materials trilogy gets a 4.

Look for the video with more detail later this week and next weeks review will be The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch and I am very very excited to talk to you about that.

-m-

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