Publisher: Del Rey
Source: Borrowed from library
Publication Date: 22 Jul 2007
Series or Standalone: Series (order listed below)
Philip Pullman – Twitter
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: Will tugged at his mother’s hand and said, “Come on, come on…”
The second book in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, The Subtle Knife picks up right where the Golden Compass left off. Lyra follows Lord Asriel through the rift he made and winds up in a new world. One in which children run around free because the adults are in hiding or on the run for a spirit being called a spector who feeds on them. While in this town Lyra meets a boy named Will who is also from Oxford, although his Oxford is more like our world then hers. Will is searching for his father just as Lyra is searching for hers and it isn’t long before the two have formed a strong friendship.
Many of the characters from the first book also appear in this one and there is the addition of new faces to help move the story along. This book isn’t as fast paced as the first book and there is a lot more running around aimlessly. Lyra’s character also seems to change from the first book. In the first book she was a strong lead. She may not have always been sure of herself but she always had a purpose and would do whatever she could in order to fulfill it. In this book she just seems lost. She has brief moments of her old self but she then becomes pretty subservient to Will. She also rarely uses her alethiometer.
She used it a few times in Will’s Oxford and at one point it told her that she should help Will find his father. For a short time she continues on with her own agenda until her alethiometer is stolen and Will has to help her get it back, with the help of the Subtle Knife of the title that he came into possession of. After they get the alethiometer back she refuses to use it unless directed to by Will and in fact refuses to do anything unless Will gives the ok first. I get that she blames herself for the initial loss of the alethiometer but was it really that life altering?
Overall I liked this story and I will continue on to read the final book in the trilogy. My only hope is that Lyra returns more to the strong willed, sure of herself girl from The Golden Compass. She was smart and funny and was the driving force of the story. While I like the character of Will he just doesn’t have that same something to move the story forward as she did.
Series Order (Click title to be directed to my review)