Book Review: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

A conclusion that bypasses everything!

I have always had trouble with books with sequels; I spend too much time with the characters through the three (sometimes four, or even seven!) books and as I grow attached, the author decides to end the book with a bang or maybe, the only sensible way. At the end of it all, I am left feeling morose (The Black Magician trilogy), cheated ( The Bartimaeus trilogy), or dissatisfied (Harry Potter).

Philip Pullman has succeeded in writing, what in my eyes, is the perfect ending.

Shiny!

This book is a story of coming of age of two kids, and tells us how the circumstances and experiences make them wiser beyond their years. The book deals with hard decisions and challenges many concepts that one takes for granted – like God cannot be defeated, God always does the right thing, and that there is a heaven and a hell! Continuing its fantastic mishmash of physics and fantasy, this book takes the readers into numerous universes, the most fascinating of which is the land of the dead. Intriguingly, the description of this land is nothing like what I have ever read before, for it is neither heaven nor hell. It is nothing and through the pages of the book I realized how terrible nothing can be.

The other fantastic character(s) introduced in the final book are the Mulefa, a combination of elephants, horses, and wheels. They are one the best alien characters I have come across through any media – movies, books, comics. With every next page, I found myself marveling the genius of Pullman. While comparison to Tolkien is unfair, as he stays the forever winner by the mere fact of being the first, Philip Pullman’s imagination and writing displays both craft and skill of equal merit.

So on one hand, the book deals with the war with the Authority (the God), and angels and harpies, and the Dust. On the other, it captures the most beautiful teen romance I have read – EVER. I mean it, not a single book that falls in the category of romances and teenage/highschool romance has ever captures the sense of it all in such simple and yet so beautiful manner. And to think you are reading about a 12-year old girl and a 13-year old boy, and yet you find it all so pure and meaningful. That’s a craft, I’d say.

The book, and the entire Dark Materials series for that matter is a joyful ride into worlds unseen, and thoughts not experienced before. It is though provoking, entertaining, and a page turner. I can see no reason why you, regardless of your age, gender, or interests, should not pick up these books.

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One Response to “Book Review: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman”

  1. You can’t imagine how glad I am to see this post! Coz it means you’re back in lah-lah land, (aren’t you now?).. And as much as I heart your Tokyo posts, I’d rather have you back in shiny-whiny Singapore.. Oh yeah, totally dig the new layout! šŸ™‚

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