January 16th, 2006

Reading List: The Amber Spyglass

Read: The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman.

While the final installment in the His Dark Materials trilogy doesn’t quite rise to the genius of the first, it’s pretty damn close in most places. Pullman manages to resolve his plot (with an entirely appropriate number of deus ex machini, considering his subject matter), provide his characters with even more heartbreaking challenges, and give us his take on The Big Questions all at the same time. Unfortunately, it’s hard to say much about the book without giving away spoilers, either for this or for previous books, so I’ll simply suggest you pay close attention to the Deaths (wonderful!), to the scene between Lyra and Pantalaimon on the dock, to the way that Pullman handles the battle at the hydroelectric dam, to Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter’s last conversation, and to Mary Malone’s story at the very end of the novel. All are wonderful moments of character-driven but dramatic storytelling which are among my favorite in the series.

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