This month, I indulged in a comforting re-read of The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman, the second book in Pullman’s ever popular trilogy: His Dark Materials. (There is a chance of spoilers so if you are unfamiliar with this series I recommend you read my thoughts on the first book: Northern Lights).
After following her father over the bridge he created, Lyra finds herself alone in a new world, where the adults have disappeared; soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels. There she meets Will, a boy on the run from his world, and together they go searching: Lyra for the meaning of Dust and Will for his missing father, but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. From then on their lives, their loves, and their destinies are to become irrevocably intertwined.
Again it was another complete joy to re-immerse myself back into this second magical adventure with the headstrong Lyra and her new ally Will. While I love Lyra she can be a wild, spontaneous and selfish character, so the addition of the practical, kind and selfless Will brings a nice balance. At first they very reluctantly work together as the only strangers in this new, strange world, but they do go on to form a true friendship as they travel between this new world and Will’s world, which is very similar to our own world with no daemons or Magisterium.
However The Magisterium is not completely forgotten as Mrs Coulter has also found a way to travel between worlds and has some new, deadly allies too. For this reason the religious element is smaller and more subtle in this book, although you can see it building again as the angels are flying north to Lord Asriel, who is recruiting from many different worlds a large army to fight ‘The Authority’. There are not only baddies though, Lyra’s friends the witch queen Serafina Pekkala and the aeronaut Lee Scoresby come to her and Will’s aid. Even though this was a re-read, there was a lot of this detail that I’d forgotten – it was lovely to get re-acquainted with it all.
Overall, I loved my re-read of The Subtle Knife and I look forward to finishing the trilogy with The Amber Spyglass soon. Great read.
Have you read this? Or anything else by Philip Pullman?
What’s in a Name 2017 – 5/6 (a title with an item/s of cutlery)