Tag Archive: The Amber Spyglass

amber spyglassTitle: The Amber Spyglass

Author: Philip Pullman

Date Finished: 27/07/13

Re-Read? : First time read (but listened to audiobook many times)

Challenges? : No

Overall: 5/5 – absolutely fantastic

I will make this post brief as I am busy packing for my holiday to Corsica (tomorrow!) in which I hope to do lots of nice reading!

This is an unofficial re-read – I listened to the audiobook many times when I was younger but never actually read the book (as far as I can remember) but I always loved the story.  This time the book did not have such a powerful impact on me but this is probably because I’m a bit older and also I knew what happens!  The plot is really strong in the whole His Dark Materials Trilogy but especially in this book – you really cannot predict what Will and Lyra are going to do next!  The characters are also so iconic it is effortless to remember all their ways and habits.  I really enjoyed being back in the different universes created by Pullman in particular reading about the Mulefa again! I seriously recommend this trilogy to all teenagers, but to all adults too – it makes you question religion, love and many other things in a very unobtrusive way and also provides you with a truly captivating story and gives you characters that you will never ever forget.

An easy 5/5 from me!

I hope you all enjoy August – I hope to be able to post lots when I am back from Corsica about all the different books I have read!!

June Wrap-Up & July Plans

Again, another month has flown by and left much reading to be desired.  I finished my exams about halfway through June, but then it was straight back to school where I have been very busy since I am Head Boy and a lot of things have been going on.  Anyway, even though I felt like I did a decent amount of reading in June, I obviously didn’t as I only finished one book!  Never mind – let’s hope it’s better in July

Here’s what I read in June 2013:

Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier

This is not good as I aim to read at least three books every month.  This fewer books than I read in May so that’s a shame.  My aim of 1200 pages a month was definitely not fulfilled, as I read only 441 pages – somehow I don’t think I’ll be beating how many I read in 2012!
I definitely did not do 30 minutes reading a day, but I actually wasn’t far off!
I did try to read at least one science book every two months but I haven’t finished Periodic Tales yet.
I did fulfil my at least one classic a month target with Rebecca though!
Lastly, I try to stay an active blogger and this was poor too – better than last month but still a lot of improvements to make.

Challenge Progress in June 2013:

The Classics Club :  16/60 books read  (1 this month: Rebecca) This makes 27%!

At the moment this is my only challenge for 2013 – maybe I will formalise some of my own yearly reading goals into a challenge.

Currently In Progress:

I am continuing with my science read, Periodic Tales, which I am enjoying and I am just about to start The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman.

July Plans:

Books: The next three books on my TBR shelf are: The Amber Spyglass, Life The Universe and Everything and The Help.  I really hope to get to as many of these as possible!

Challenges:  None of these will count towards The Classics Club unfortunately.

Hopefully with July and August looming, we will all have some time to relax and read – maybe on holiday?  Thanks again to everyone who loyally still reads these posts – means a lot! 🙂

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!

Every week, The Broke and The Bookish poses a category for book bloggers to post their ‘Top Ten’ in that week’s category.

This week the category is ‘Top X Genre Books’, and we fill in a genre of our choice. Seeing as it was not that long ago that I was reading children’s books and I am technically a ‘young adult’, I thought it would be nice to do my ‘Top Ten Children’s or Young Adult Books‘.  Also, this genre provides a bit of light relief as we are all a bit classics-crazy due to The Classics Club at the moment!


A black-haired young man with round eyeglasses is falling forward along with a red-haired young man and a young woman with light brown hair knocking over cauldrons with gold inside them. Each of them has an apparently blushed face. In the background a goblin's arm is holding a sword. The top of the cover says: HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, while the bottom of the cover says: J. K. ROWLING, BLOOMSBURY.

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J.K. Rowling.  My Number 1 Children’s series has got to be Harry Potter!  I have read all 7 books many many times, listened to the audio books, watched the films and dressed up as the characters more times than I would like to admit! I am a truly part of the Harry Potter generation – there is even a photograph of me, about 8 years old, with the huge Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix taking up my entire lap!  I have chosen the last Harry Potter book because it is probably just about my favourite and is the one I couldn’t put down the most.


The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

2. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – C.S. Lewis.  I adore the Narnia books, and again I have read them many times and listened to the audio books a lot too.  The stories and characters are so interesting and you can’t wait to find out what happens next.  I especially enjoyed The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and The Last Battle, but The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has to be my favourite as it is so spooky when they are travelling through the huge horrible cloud and visiting these strange, creepy islands.


3. The Amber Spyglass – Philip Pullman.  The His Dark Materials series is so good – really makes you think about life and religion and love whilst still keeping a fast-moving and exciting plot.  This series is rich with vivid characters and the ending of The Amber Spyglass actually made me well up a bit the first time I read it!  I am in the process of re-reading this series at the moment – The Subtle Knife is coming up this summer and I read Northern Lights last December – and I am really looking forward to reading about Lyra, Will, Pan and the rest again.


4. The Witches – Roald Dahl.  This is my joint favourite Roald Dahl book (with Matilda) and I used to listen to the audiobook so much when I was younger.  I loved the plot and the descriptions of the witches were just amazing.  Also, the way Norway was portrayed was lovely and I still wish to visit there, purely from the wonderful accounts of it in this book. Oh, and my edition is so old that it has that amazing musty smell!


5. Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian. This novel is something special and not just for children.  The story and characters are vivid and lovely but what makes this book stand out is its accuracy.  Last year I was writing an essay for history coursework all about evacuation in Britain during the war.  One of the sources we studied was an extract from this book and, me being me, that wasn’t enough so I went to the charity shop and bought a copy and read it through in a few days.  It really does show you what it was like to be an evacuee in wartime Britain so is definitely a must-read for anyone interested in that.


6. The Recruit – Robert Muchamore.  The Cherub series accompanied me through my childhood very nicely.  The story is exciting and unpredictable, there are lots of books so you get to see the characters really develop over time and thirdly it’s so cool – who wouldn’t want to be a teenage spy with money and resources no object?!


7. The Ersatz Elevator – Lemony Snicket.  The Series of Unfortunate Events is, obviously, rather miserable and I have to say I was totally disappointed with the last book, however I did enjoy reading the majority of the books and enjoyed the way they were quite complicated (for a 10 year old).  There was a lot of mystery and hinting which I enjoyed as many children’s books have one obvious plot and that is it.


8. Madame Doubtfire – Anne Fine. For anyone who has not read this book or seen the film YOU HAVE MISSED OUT!  Such a hilarious idea and the book is a pleasure to read.  The film, aptly starring Robin Williams, is great too, if a little dated now maybe,  and I cannot recommend both the film and the book enough.


9. Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman.  This book is definitely young adult, not children’s, and deals with some difficult issues.  The idea of alternative history/distopia has always interested me and I think this is one of the most ingenious ideas I have ever come across. Although the first book, Noughts and Crosses completely outdid the second book, Knife Edge, I am yet to read the last two books of the series but don’t really have plans to read them soon.


10. Harry Potter À L’École Des Sorciers – J.K. Rowling.  Now maybe it’s cheating to have the same series of books twice but I have two legitimate reasons.  a) they are my favourite young adult/children’s books so why shouldn’t they be on here twice? b) this section refers to the French versions.  I am currently reading Harry Potter 1 in French for the second time to improve my French and because it’s fun, and I have the second one stored deep in my TBR pile too.  There is something magical (ha ha) about reading about the characters you love in another language and I recommend anyone who is interested in improving their language skills to pick up a copy of a favourite book and just give it a go!