THE AMBER SPYGLASS by Philip Pullman
Kirkus Star

THE AMBER SPYGLASS

From the "His Dark Materials" series, volume 3
Age Range: 12 & up

KIRKUS REVIEW

The longed-for third volume in this trilogy (The Golden Compass, 1996; The Subtle Knife, 1997) satisfies deeply: full of grand set pieces, resplendent language, and glorious storytelling. Lyra Silvertongue at 12, from a world like but unlike this one, is keeper of the alethiometer—the golden compass. She can read its ways to find the truth, but it has been taken from her. Will Parry, of this world, injured by the subtle knife that can cut windows between worlds, will bring it back to her. And in yet another place, an Oxford researcher makes a spyglass that enables her to see the golden patterns of Dust, stuff of the universe. All of the splendid characters of the earlier books make a return, like Pan, Lyra’s daemon, part of her very self; Iorek Byrnison the bear king; and Lyra’s bewitching parents, Lord Asriel and the terrifying Mrs. Coulter. Whole new races appear: a panoply of angels; the mulefa, whose triangulated legs use the wheel in a new way; the brave and dashing Gallivespians, who live but a decade and are small enough to ride dragonflies. Across this brilliant and vivid canvas, the largest of themes play out: life and death, goodness and evil, self and other, the redemptive power of love. Lyra and Will’s quest is hard and heartbreaking: they can only rely on themselves and each other to save their worlds, and the cost is great. There are roaring battles and moments of great tenderness; there are unforgettable scenes—Lyra and Will leading ghosts through the land of the dead, for example—and not a few echoes of Paradise Lost with some deeply unconventional theological implications. What matters at the last are the stories, and the truth of their telling. Readers will be chastened—and warmed—and sorry to see the last page. (Fiction. 12+)

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2000
ISBN: 0-679-87926-9
Page count: 544pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15th, 2000




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