Tuesday, May 22, 2007

BOOK: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Finishing The Amber Spyglass completes the Spring Reading Thing 2007 Challenge for me. What was I thinking, chosing a trilogy for a challenge? This third book was hard to get through for some reason. Partly because it was over 500 pages (I think I'm counting it as a Chunkster Challenge too!) and partly because it just didn't grab me to get started, and yet I knew I really wanted to finish it. I couldn't leave a trilogy unfinished, but I was tempted at times to put it down. I was bargaining with myself - finish 150 pages, read another book - see The Little Prince, finish 150 pages, read another book. I was gritting my teeth and getting to it. And then, all of a sudden, I couldn't put the book down. I stayed up waaay too late last night to finish the book that I couldn't read two days before.

And I think that is why people rave about this series. Each of the three books have been difficult to get into, at least 150 pages before I was hooked. But the ultimate ending was worth it. It is a children's series to some degree, but with the amount of killing it seems a little intense for preteens. As a children's book, much of it was predictable and that may have led to my disinterest for a while. But the payoff was worth it in the end.

The characters of Lyra and Will were terrific and the allusions to Adam and Eve and temptation, make this book very broad. Religion and science are huge themes and as Armageddon comes, and the angels come down to fight and worlds are literally torn apart with our heroes at the center, poised to save all the worlds.
From the cover:

As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living and the dead - finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story.

There were parts of the story I enjoyed more than others - Mary Malone and the mulefa were my favorite. The mulefa were a people who evolved with a diamond skeleton instead of backbone and lived symbiotically with the pod trees. Other creatures from other worlds like the brave little spies, the Gallivespians, still the idea of daemons and souls, angels and ghosts, the imagination of Pullman and his take on the world were incredible.

So, I thought I wouldn't give this a very good rating, but the ending did it for me and I will be thinking of how he tied things up, and the consequenses and sacrifices made for a long time.