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The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials, Book 2) Hardcover – July 22, 1997

4.6 out of 5 stars 3,575 ratings
Teachers' pick for K-8th grade

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From the Publisher

his dark materials book 1 fantasy his dark materials
HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS HIS DARK MATERIALS
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!

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 5 Up. A direct continuation of the epic fantasy begun in The Golden Compass (Knopf, 1996). Will Parry must find his father, who disappeared while exploring the far North. Mysterious strangers are hounding his mother for information about him. After Will accidentally kills one of them, he runs away, right through a window into another world. There he meets Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon, Pantalaimon, as well as travelers from yet another world. Lyra and her truth-telling alethiometer are soon enlisted in Will's quest, even as Lyra continues to seek the true nature of the mysterious Dust that is causing upheavals in her world. A desperate battle with inhabitants of the intermediate world brings Will the subtle knife, a magical totem of his own, which will protect Will and Lyra while bringing them closer to the end of this part of their quest. The action takes place in Will's world (which is also our own), as well as on Lyra's and the intermediate world. As in the first book, the stakes are high and the action is rapid and occasionally violent. The philosophical nature of the quest becomes clearer as various characters explain the possible relationships among Dust, the bridges between worlds, angels, supreme beings, and cosmic forces. This may be treading on dangerous ground for traditional religious thinkers?the essential nature of the supreme being is not necessarily positive?but high-fantasy enthusiasts will find much to follow and reflect on here. The Subtle Knife ends with even more of a cliff-hanger than The Golden Compass, and fans will eagerly await book three for the final resolution.?Susan L. Rogers, Chestnut Hill Academy, PA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 7^-12. The epic adventure continues as the plot thickens in the second riveting book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, which began with the much heralded The Golden Compass, Booklist's Top of the List in youth fiction for 1996. This time, the story begins in our world with Will, a boy who escapes his pursuers by going through a window into another world, a world plagued by soul-sucking specters, where he encounters Lyra and her demon, Pantalaimon. The two youngsters join forces, moving between worlds searching for the mysterious phenomenon called Dust and for Will's long-lost father. By losing two fingers in a battle with a madman, Will becomes a warrior and the bearer of the subtle knife, a weapon that, like Lyra's truth-telling alethiometer, is a talisman as well, and, like Lyra, Will proves to be a pivotal figure in the looming battle for the universe. Often the middle book in a trilogy is the weakest; such is not the case here despite some incidences of awkward explanations inserted as asides or as part of the narrative. It's the character development as well as the relentless pace on several fronts--that of Will, Lyra, the witches, Will's father, and others--and a couple of gruesome incidents that make this a resoundingly successful sequel. The cliff-hanger of an ending will leave readers desperate for the next installment. Sally Estes

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Knopf Books for Young Readers (July 22, 1997)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0679879250
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0679879251
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 10 - 17 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 890L
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 5 - 12
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.81 x 1.18 x 8.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 3,575 ratings

About the author

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PHILIP PULLMAN is one of the most acclaimed writers working today. He is best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass), which has been named one of the top 100 novels of all time by Newsweek and one of the all-time greatest novels by Entertainment Weekly. He has also won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

It has recently been announced that The Book of Dust, the much anticipated new book from Mr. Pullman, also set in the world of His Dark Materials, will be published as a major work in three parts, with the first part to arrive in October 2017.

Philip Pullman is the author of many other much-lauded novels. Other volumes related to His Dark Materials: Lyra’s Oxford, Once Upon a Time in the North, and The Collectors. For younger readers: I Was a Rat!; Count Karlstein; Two Crafty Criminals; Spring-Heeled Jack, and The Scarecrow and His Servant. For older readers: the Sally Lockhart quartet: The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, The Tiger in the Well, and The Tin Princess; The White Mercedes; and The Broken Bridge.

Philip Pullman lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit philip-pullman.com and hisdarkmaterials.com. Or follow him on Twitter at @PhilipPullman.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
3,575 global ratings

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M. Dowden
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyra and Will
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 9, 2019
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Arkham Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A strong sequel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 5, 2017
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Anne Jevon
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended second book in Pullman’s brilliant fantasy world.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2019
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Columbyne
1.0 out of 5 stars Dark, disturbing and depressing...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 16, 2020
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Chris Worth
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy for non-fantasy fans!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 9, 2015
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