Written by Philip Pullman

Number 2 in His Dark Materials

Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 341
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: 1997-07-22
Original Language: English

She had asked: What is he? A friend or an enemy? The alethiometer answered: He is a murderer. When she saw the answer, she relaxed at once. Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld – Cittàgazze, where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies: twelve-year-old Will Parry, fleeing for his life after taking another's, has also stumbled into this strange new realm. On a perilous journey from world to world, Lyra and Will uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devastating power. And with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat – and the shattering truth of their own destiny.

Read from 2019-09-28 to 2019-10-18
Read in English
Rating: 3/5
Review: As a TV-series based on these books seems to be coming out soon, I figured it would be a good time to pick up my rereading of His Dark Materials. I’m sure I’ve read these books before, but they are filed under the category of books I read so long ago that I can’t remember anything at all about them.

The Subtle Knife left me feeling unsatisfied. The story is told very well, and the atmosphere created by the storytelling is wonderful, but the story itself didn’t do it for me. It’s meant to be disjointed - the narrative skips around from place to place - but it skipped around just often enough that I never managed to immerse myself as much in the book as the storytelling called for. The lack of immersion might be my fault. I read the book in quite a lot of sittings, and this is a book that might not lend itself very well to that.

For a book this short, The Subtle Knife felt surprisingly long. There were sections which, while the existence of them did add to the story, felt much longer than they needed to be. There is a sense of many threads being laid out which will eventually come together to make up the final story, but as a standalone books there were a few too many threads in this one, and not enough attention paid to each of them.

I’m sure my problems with this book will all be justified by the last book in the series. At least I truly hope so.