Monday 29 July 2013

Book Review - Subtle Knife

Title: The Subtle Knife
Author: Philip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials (book 2)
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 16th October 1998
ISBN-13: 978-1407130231

Will is twelve years old and he's just killed a man. Now he's on his own, on the run, determined to discover the truth about his father disappearance.

Then Will steps through a window in the air into another world, and finds himself with a companion - a strange, savage little girl called Lyra. Like Will, she has a mission which she intends to carry out at all costs.

But the world of CittĂ gazze is a strange and unsettling place. Deadly, soul-eating Spectres stalk in its streets, while high above, the wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. And in the mysterious Torre degli Angeli lurks CittĂ gazze's most important secret - an object which people from many worlds would kill to posses.

My Review
Again this is a re-read, but it's going on about 10 years since my last reading. I didn't remember much, although had a vague memory that I liked this one more than the first book. 
This book introduces Will, he meets up with Lyra in a new world. Since Lord Asriel's experiment, windows have opened all over, linking many different worlds together. Lyra is still trying fulfill her mission and track down Lord Asriel, whereas Will is trying to find his dad. He's never known his dad but knows his mother used to receive letters from him. Now some men are coming round trying to track him down too and Will knows he needs to run. 
Lyra and Will decide to work together, but things get more complicated. 
In some ways Will becomes the protagonist over Lyra, and I quite liked it. I quite like Lyra as a character but there is something about Will that is more relateable.
There is a lot of traveling between worlds in this book, both with Lyra & Will and with the witches, Lee Scoresby, Mrs Coulter etc, which slows the pace of the story down a little bit and it does drag a little bit in the middle, but so did the first book and overall I actually did find this one more exciting. 
There is once again some fabulous writing from Mr Pullman that carries you through the book, I loved Will and Lyra's relationship and the way Pan and Lyra are growing as characters. 
This did bring back memories of why I liked it and am glad to still have it on my shelf.

My Rating


Rinn said...

For some reason I just could not get into this series at all when they first came out. I've tried to read the first book about 3 times - my dad loved them, however. I was just thinking recently that I might try them again!

P said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who greatly prefers The Subtle Knife to the other 2 books.

And yes, Will is a much stronger character than Lyra. She is interesting, but hard to get close to.

Will is much more human.

The Amber Spyglass is the weakest of the three. You have to read it to find out what happens to everyone, but it really sags in places.

barmybex said...

Rinn- it is worth trying again, you might appreciate them more now your a bit older. But the first one is quite slow in places - just stick with it, it's gets better. :D

Penny - Definitely the best of the 3 I think. Will is more loveable, much better than Lyra who grates on my nerves a bit.
I have read Amber Spyglass before and I do remember struggling a bit. I'm about a quarter way through it again now and tempted to give up. Been skim reading a bit. Determined to see it through.

Thanks for stopping by. ;D