Title: The Subtle Knife

Author: Philip Pullman

Date Finished: 11/07/12

Re-Read? : Second time read

Challenges? : No

Overall: 5/5 – absolutely fantastic

This is another re-read for me – I really do like re-reading! (You can read some of my thoughts about it in this post) and I am so glad I have read this again.  The His Dark Materials series was another childhood favourite of mine, and I especially enjoyed listening to the trilogy on audiobook.  I wasn’t sure whether the magic would still be there for me, after a few years, but since I re-read Northern Lights (the first in the trilogy) back in December 2011, I have been itching to get on with the others – they were just as gripping as ever.

I feel like even though I have heard the story countless times, and I know what’s going to happen, there is still something new I can take from the books, which is great.  The joy of re-reading.

The plot is great and quite intricate for a children’s/young adult book.  I love the way we are introduced to a couple of new worlds but not all at once and the way that the characters we all love manage to find their way back into the story pretty quickly.

The characters are completely brilliant and (although the plot is amazing) the reason I gave this book 5/5.  They are all just so iconic.  Lyra and Will are the perfect pair and completely unforgettable, but the supporting characters like Mrs Coutler, Serafina Pekkala, Lee Scoresby, Grumman and all the rest are all superb as well.  You know the characters are great when you can remember all about them after not reading a page of the trilogy for years!

I also like the way Pullman writes and I find it so easy to read – I flew through this book.  There are no grammatical errors either, which is always good!  I love the way Pullman weaves in bits of made up language and sayings etc from the different worlds (although I don’t really get how they all can converse in English..).

The settings are very well depicted and you can really feel yourself there.  I would seriously recommend this book to adults as well as teenagers/children, because there is more to the series than meets the eye – the whole book is quite damning of Christianity and the Catholic church in general and poses quite a few questions about religion.  Some Christians have said this writing is sacrilegious but I found that it strengthened my faith, as obviously there are gross exaggerations and it is a work of fiction!  

Whatever your religious standpoint, this series is great and in my opinion really worth a read.  I can’t wait to read The Amber Spyglass (the final instalment) but I will try and keep it back until I really can’t hold on any longer – I will appreciate it all the more that way!