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The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, Book 3) Hardcover – October 10, 2000
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From the Publisher
|His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (Book 1)||His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (Book 2)||His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass (Book 3)||The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Volume 1)||The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Volume 2)|
|Enter the world of His Dark Materials||The modern fantasy classic soon to be an HBO original series – HIS DARK MATERIALS!||The second book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series!||The third book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series – soon to be an HBO original series!||Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - meet Lyra before the events of The Golden Compass!||Set in the same world as HIS DARK MATERIALS - discover what happened to Lyra after The Amber Spyglass!|
A complex web of thoughts was weaving itself in the bear king's mind, with more strands in it than hunger and satisfaction. There was the memory of the little girl Lyra, whom he had named Silvertongue, and whom he had last seen crossing the fragile snow bridge across a crevasse in his own island of Svalbard. Then there was the agitation among the witches, the rumors of pacts and alliances and war; and then there was the surpassingly strange fact of this new world itself, and the witch's insistence that there were many more such worlds, and that the fate of them all hung somehow on the fate of the child.Meanwhile, two factions of the Church are vying to reach Lyra first. One is even prepared to give a priest "preemptive absolution" should he succeed in committing mortal sin. For these tyrants, killing this girl is no less than "a sacred task."
In the final installment of his trilogy, Philip Pullman has set himself the highest hurdles. He must match its predecessors in terms of sheer action and originality and resolve the enigmas he already created. The good news is that there is no critical bad news--not that The Amber Spyglass doesn't contain standoffs and close calls galore. (Who would have it otherwise?) But Pullman brings his audacious revision of Paradise Lost to a conclusion that is both serene and devastating. In prose that is transparent yet lyrical and 3-D, the author weaves in and out of his principals' thoughts. He also offers up several additional worlds. In one, Dr. Mary Malone is welcomed into an apparently simple society. The environment of the mulefa (again, we'll reveal nothing more) makes them rich in consciousness while their lives possess a slow and stately rhythm. These strange creatures can, however, be very fast on their feet (or on other things entirely) when necessary. Alas, they are on the verge of dying as Dust streams out of their idyllic landscape. Will the Oxford dark-matter researcher see her way to saving them, or does this require our young heroes? And while Mary is puzzling out a cure, Will and Lyra undertake a pilgrimage to a realm devoid of all light and hope, after having been forced into the cruelest of sacrifices--or betrayals.
Throughout his galvanizing epic, Pullman sustains scenes of fierce beauty and tenderness. He also allows us a moment or two of comic respite. At one point, for instance, Lyra's mother bullies a series of ecclesiastical underlings: "The man bowed helplessly and led her away. The guard behind her blew out his cheeks with relief." Needless to say, Mrs. Coulter is as intoxicating and fluid as ever. And can it be that we will come to admire her as she plays out her desperate endgame? In this respect, as in many others, The Amber Spyglass is truly a book of revelations, moving from darkness visible to radiant truth. --Kerry Fried
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
- Publisher : Knopf Books for Young Readers (October 10, 2000)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0679879269
- ISBN-13 : 978-0679879268
- Reading age : 10 - 17 years
- Lexile measure : 950L
- Grade level : 5 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.41 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.81 x 1.63 x 8.56 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #572,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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When you get quotes like:
"I thought physics could be done to the glory of God, till I saw there wasn't any God at all and that physics was more interesting anyway. The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all." (Location 6025)
You get the real reason that the author is writing. Not to tell a story but to criticize a caricature of Christianity. Unfortunately, what he's attacking isn't Christian (or even Biblical). The Magisterium is not the Catholic church, his angels aren't the angels of the Bible, and his "God" isn't the God that Christians worship.
"The Authority, God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty -- those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves -- the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are..." (Location 580)
The author isn't describing God but a convenient straw man that he can criticize.
The theology of the book (series), like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, is a highly skewed exaggeration of "Christianity" that is then very easy for the story to criticize. This is basically the Tower of Babel except that that the "god" and the "church" of the books isn't at all like Christianity (well, it may resemble certain aspects of *medieval* Roman Catholicism like the Inquisition but not historical Christianity as a whole) and therefore just falls apart. It almost sounds like wishful thinking on the part of the author of an otherwise entertaining set of books.
The story that follows finds the two of them reunited, but pursued by malevolence in an increasingly chaotic universe, as the veils between the worlds grows thinner, and a war between Lord Asriel's upstart army and the forces of The Authority itself begins to grow. Lyra and Will will travel to the land of the dead, learn what it is like to live without their daemons, and fundamentally change the forces underpinning all of creation.
There are big ideas within "The Amber Spyglass", taking the story of "His Dark Materials" into realms beyond that of young adult fantasy-adventure. The author takes on the cruelties and tyranny of organized religion, lifts up compassion as the highest of virtues, and ultimately imagines a universe in which there is no Kingdom of Heaven, but instead a Republic. All of the elements that have made the prior books so successful remain - fast-paced adventure, sympathetic characters, and richly-imagined worlds - but there is a lesson here, too, on individual morality, our duty to one another, and doing our best to make things better, no matter who, or where, we are.
Top reviews from other countries
After the cliffhanger ending from the previous book, 'The Amber Spyglass' picks up the pieces with Mrs Coulter holed up in a cave 'looking after' a sedated Lyra, and Will, still smarting from the death of his father and the disappearance of Lyra, is now accompanied by a pair of angels in his search for her, and with the Subtle Knife still in his possession, Will must travel through other worlds in order to rescue Lyra before the Magisterium can get to her.
As Pullman's trilogy has progressed, so the tone of the story has gotten that little bit darker with each subsequent book (Not least because we visit the land of the dead here, which also happened to be one of my favourite sequences in the book), but so much so, that 'The Amber Spyglass' feels so far removed and more sedate than the beginning of Lyra's journey in the more action packed and faster paced 'Northern Lights / The Golden Compass'. The pace here was a lot slower and as a result I felt the story was given more time to grow and flesh out the details more. As such, it felt like the story matured alongside Lyra as she became of age. The slower momentum of the story isn't a complaint, far from it, but just an observation, as it certainly drew me more into narrative and into the characters of Will and Lyra.
We also meet some familiar faces that we've gotten to know over the course of the trilogy, which was very welcome, as well as some new ones too. Pullman gives his characters very human qualities, not completely black and white, good or bad, but somewhere in between that it sometimes twists your expectations of what to expect from certain characters, adding many layers of depth to his characterizations. Even with Will and Lyra, the 'young and innocent' protagonists, they have to do what it takes to fulfil their quest, even if it means lying, threaten and even kill!
There is also more of Pullman's theological exploration, as Lord Asriel's war on the Magisterium and The Authority gathers pace to its conclusion. Although I lean towards the atheist aspect, and agree with Lord Asriel's point of view of enlightenment over blind obedience, he still comes across as a most unlikeable character, very cold and calculated, even towards his wife and daughter. Whereas my assumptions of Marisa Coulter were turned on it's head completely and I had more empathy for her by the end. A mother doing what she must to protect her daughter.
And the ending is such a bittersweet one. After all that Lyra and Will have gone through, and with it being classed as a younger readers book, you might have at least expected some kind of happy ever after. Almost but not quite, as what we got was heartbreaking. I closed the book glassy eyed but still with a smile on my face, as two of my favourite book characters, Lyra Balacqua and Will Parry, came to the end of their quest on that park bench in Oxford's Botanical Gardens.
All credit to Philip Pullman for a wonderfully written journey, with such memorable characters. And with his new 'The Book Of Dust' trilogy, we get to see Lyra and revisit this world again. I can't wait.
Here then Lyra and Will have become separated, but Will is determined to find Lyra and assist her. But with others trying to influence and manipulate Lyra into doing what they want done, what path will she choose? We know that there is one thing that she wants to try and sort out, but will that be successful or not? And as the Church on Lyra’s world are involved so we can see here how church politics work, with more than one faction trying to gain power and decide the best course of action, something which we know happens from looking at church history.
Taking in metaphysics, theoretical and real maths and physics, so of course theology appears as another theme, along with the more down to earth themes of friendship, love and compassion, along with empathy. As the two main sides match up for a fight over Heaven, so we find out more about the person calling himself God, and what he really is. Mirroring our own world, so we can see how lies, propaganda and manipulation always goes on, and of course we can quite clearly see this at the moment with Brexit, and with this story as a whole, so we can wonder over why so many people can believe lies even when the truth is staring them in the face.
It has been some years since I last read these books, which I originally had in paperback and passed onto someone else, so it was good to get reacquainted with this story with the kindle editions. Really there isn’t anything to dislike with any of the books in the trilogy, and if they make more people interested for instance in both Milton’s wonderful Paradise Lost, and Blake’s poetry they are doing a service, but also they could encourage younger minds to take more seriously maths and physics, plus philosophy, and hopefully they will be able to build a brighter future than unfortunately we are leaving them currently with.
However my view is that it is about 100 pages too long. The plot starts to meander when Lyra and Will travel to the realm of the dead and two subplots confuse the story even more, the Mary Molloy sequences are tedious and difficult to see their relevance and the long drawn out attempts to assassinate Lyra are implausible. It takes an incredible bomb, a highly trained priest assassin and various other nasties all operating independently and they all fail in the end! I skipped large chunks towards the end and only felt on sure ground with the final parting of Wiil and Lyra.
Of this particular trilogy book two has always been, and remains my favourite. It concerns itself with Lyra and Will's developing friendship which is well crafted by Pullman; also the main plots really kicks of.
As a fan I would recommend the BBC/HBO mini series which is an excellent adaptation. If your view of the books is only affected by that terrible film adaptation `The Golden Compus' give both a try you will be I am sure pleasantly surprised.
Amazon supplied the book. Arrived well before the stated time, securely packaged.