Philip Pullman; La Belle Sauvage.

nixie

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First book in The Book of Dust trilogy.

Started this yesterday, entertaining so far.
Malcolm is a well behaved boy, helps his parents in their tavern, helps out the nuns in the priory, happy to help anyone.
In his free time he plays with his daemon Asta and sailing his canoe.
Strange visitors to the tavern, witnessing a man being taking away by the CCD, later found drowned, the nuns given sanctuary to Lord Asriel's baby daughter Lyra pulls Malcolm into an adventure that will change his life.
 

Dave

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I liked this book. It is both a prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy and also the first of this new trilogy, but it can be read as a book on it's own too. It still has a beginning, middle and end. It brings new information, detail and new mythology into the Lyra universe. As you say, it is the story of Malcolm, a reluctant hero, who is drawn into a life-changing adventure. I thought the BBC should have made this story first when they recently dramatised the His Dark Materials.

I wasn't so keen on the Second Book of Dust trilogy, The Secret Commonwealth. It is a sequel to all the other books, but is only the first half of a story, and therefore leaves things hanging. It is much longer and is a journey/road story without ever reaching the journey's end. There was also much more of Pullman's philosophy clumsily shoe-horned into it. However, if you've got this far then you are going to read it anyway, as I will the final volume.
 

williamjm

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I really enjoyed La Belle Sauvage, I think Lyra's Oxford is probably the most interesting of the His Dark Materials settings and it was very nice to get another novel set there.
I wasn't so keen on the Second Book of Dust trilogy, The Secret Commonwealth. It is a sequel to all the other books, but is only the first half of a story, and therefore leaves things hanging. It is much longer and is a journey/road story without ever reaching the journey's end. There was also much more of Pullman's philosophy clumsily shoe-horned into it. However, if you've got this far then you are going to read it anyway, as I will the final volume.
I did have mixed feelings about this book. I agree that unlike La Belle Sauvage (which would work perfectly well as a standalone) it does end very abruptly and I think it's impossible to fully judge until we get the concluding volume. I feel that Pullman did try to do something more ambitious than just writing more adventures for Lyra and Pan and I think it does add some interesting new ideas into the world and explores some aspects of the relationship between human and daemons that were only hinted at before. However, the execution is a bit hit-and-miss.
 

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