The Resource The amber spyglass, Philip Pullman

The amber spyglass, Philip Pullman

Label
The amber spyglass
Title
The amber spyglass
Statement of responsibility
Philip Pullman
Creator
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
Lyra and Will find themselves at the center of a battle between the forces of the Authority and those gathered by Lyra's father, Lord Asriel
Member of
Storyline
Pace
Tone
Writing style
Character
Award
  • ALA Notable Children's Book, 2001
  • British Book Award for Children's Book of the Year, 2000.
  • West Australian Young Readers's Book Award (WAYRBA), Older Readers, 2002.
  • Whitbread Book Award for Children's Book of the Year, 2001.
  • Whitbread Book of the Year Award, 2001.
  • YALSA Best Books for Young Adults, 2002
Review
  • The long-awaited conclusion to Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, has arrived, bringing with it a host of expectations. Pullman has set the bar almost impossibly high for The Amber Spyglass. Along with fulfilling the destiny of the brave and irascible Lyra Belaqua, whose story began in The Golden Compass (1996), and that of her stalwart, loving companion, Will Parry, Keeper of the Weapon, who was introduced in The Subtle Knife (1997), the book must tie up a thousand loose ends, some as thick as rope, others as ephemeral as gossamer. Sometimes the work is seamless; at other times, the labor shows. Like the Dust (shadows or quantum particles with the power to bring self-awareness) that is so vehemently fought over in all three volumes, this book is full of intention and promise, but the writing can be elusive, amorphous, as hard to hold onto as, well, dust. The Amber Spyglass in no way stands alone. Those who haven't recently read the previous books--especially the second one--will be lost. The story picks up moments after Will and his long-lost father, John, have met and fought. John is killed by a vengeful witch, just as father and son recognize each other. Meanwhile, Lyra is being hidden by her mother, Mrs. Coulter, who keeps her in a drug-induced sleep. In pursuit of Lyra is the Church, which sees the girl as a threat to its very existence. What is only hinted at in the previous books--Lyra's role as the new Eve--is fully realized here. The church hierarchy now understands that Lyra will be tempted; how she responds, the choices she makes, will affect not just her world but also the myriad worlds that overlap each other--worlds that Will is able to enter through windows he carves with his magic knife. So this book is the battlefield on which the war between evil, represented by the Church, and good, which is found in the consciousness of Dust and in people's ability to think, plan, hope, and love for themselves, is to be fought.The witches and wizards in the Harry Potter books will seem like cartoon characters compared with those in Pullman's religious pantheon. The first two books in the series exposed the Church as corrupt, bigoted, and evil. Now Pullman takes on Heaven itself. The Authority, who is alternatively identified as El, YHWH, and God, is not the creator, as his acolytes (including Mrs. Coulter) believe. He is the first angel, who convinced the rest he is the Source. Millennia ago, he passed his power on to the angel Metatron. Now, the Authority is a demented old spirit, hardly aware of who he is, much less of his world, and Metatron, a power-hungry ruler, more devil than angel, is determined to put an even tighter choke-hold on those who believe.There is no room for compromise in Pullman's world: the teachings of religion have kept people from knowing their true nature, abused their trust, tortured their souls. This is heady stuff for a children's book, though that appellation is almost meaningless when it comes to The Amber Spyglass. Yes, young people will read it, but teenagers and adults, who can understand (or argue with) Pullman's sometimes obscure theories, will find it the most rewarding. For some, wrestling with the book's philosophical issues will be the most exciting part of the experience. Readers will need to do some thinking here, and for all the book's diversions, delving into one's own belief system can be the most intense of all explorations. What Pullman does uncompromisingly well is delineate each of his characters. Everyone is drawn with exceptional nuance and understanding. He is particularly adept at layering his characters and allowing readers to watch them change. Lyra, Will, even Mrs. Coulter and Lord Astriel have been altered by their adventures, yearnings, and trials. It is fascinating to watch their growth.Those who have waited so long to find out what happens in The Amber Spyglass may have mixed emotions about the book. There is room for delight, puzzlement, and in some cases, anger. Stylistically, the book is too full; a trilogy seems one book too short for all that needs to be accomplished to finish the series. But in the end, there must also be admiration for Pullman's high-wire writing. Each book bursts with life, dares to take chances. His Dark Materials has taken readers on a wild, magnificent ride that, in its totality, represents an astounding achievement. (Reviewed October 1, 2000) -- Ilene Cooper
  • Gr 6 Up-This book starts where The Subtle Knife (Knopf, 1997) left off. Lyra has been hidden away by her mother, and Will is determined to find her. Meanwhile, Lord Asriel is preparing to fight the forces of the Church's Consistorial Court, as well as the God-like Authority's Lieutenant, Metatron, who hungers for ultimate power over all worlds. At the heart of this discord is Dust, the mysterious substance that is linked irrevocably to consciousness; it is streaming away at an increasing rate, causing havoc in its wake. It is Lyra and Will's destiny to determine the outcome of this situation. Knowledge of the previous books is an absolute necessity in order to understand this one. Even so, it will take dedication and passion to unwind the extremely convoluted plot with its numerous characters. Lyra and Will are as noble, grand, and yet as utterly believable as any characters in children's literature, and they are surrounded by a host of memorable personages. The many facets of the story are so encrusted with tiny and arcane details that the narrative occasionally slows down, and the transitions between worlds and plot lines are often hard to follow. Organized religion is portrayed bleakly; the Church is essentially a dictatorship and the afterlife is a "concentration camp" world set up by the Authority. However, the message of the book remains clear and exhilarating; it is vital to use wisely the divine gifts of consciousness and free will. This is a subtle and complex treatment of the eternal battle between good and evil.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
080226
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1946-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Pullman, Philip
Index
no index present
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/minGradeLevel
  • 6
  • 12
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
Series statement
His dark materials
Series volume
Bk. 3.
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Telescopes
  • Magic
Target audience
juvenile
Label
The amber spyglass, Philip Pullman
Instantiates
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
518 p.
Isbn
9780440238157
Isbn Type
(pap.bk.)
Lccn
00044776
Note
FANTASY
Label
The amber spyglass, Philip Pullman
Publication
Dimensions
22 cm.
Edition
1st American ed.
Extent
518 p.
Isbn
9780440238157
Isbn Type
(pap.bk.)
Lccn
00044776
Note
FANTASY

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