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His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
10,345164278 (4.29)269
  1. 131
    The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (guurtjesboekenkast, BrileyOC)
    BrileyOC: Both series provide excellent fantastical escapism as well as profound (though different) religious viewpoints.
  2. 62
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (guurtjesboekenkast)
  3. 52
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (guurtjesboekenkast)
  4. 20
    Paradise Lost by John Milton (Jannes)
    Jannes: Not for your average young reader of Pullman, I would imagine, but Milton is a great read if you want to get to the stuff that inspired His Dark Materials. It's not as difficult a read as you would imagine, either, if you just give yourself some time to adjust to the style.… (more)
  5. 10
    Foundling by D. M. Cornish (Bitter_Grace)
  6. 00
    Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (thenothing)
    thenothing: Hollow City could easy be fan fiction of His Dark Materials
  7. 00
    The Gormenghast Novels : Titus Groan / Gormenghast / Titus Alone by Mervyn Peake (Lirmac)
    Lirmac: The gothic world of Lyra's Oxford shares a certain similarity with the miles of mouldering masonry that is Gormenghast.
  8. 00
    Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (kaledrina)
  9. 00
    The Wind on Fire Trilogy by William Nicholson (Pigletto)
  10. 01
    Nation by Terry Pratchett (JonTheNiceGuy)

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Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
I got the three volume paperback set in a simple slipcase with The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

After you have read the books, you will see just how silly the critics are regarding Pullman's so-called attack against religion. This three volume set explores the adventures of Lyra and Will as she attempts to thwart her uncle, Lord Asrael's vision of a world without a Heaven. But not the heaven as we know it, but of a heaven that is run by a bad guy. But I digress.


The Golden Compass introduces us to Lyra, the girl who is a bit of a brat, who lives in a pampered existence with her uncle. She overhears rumors of Dust and an experiment in the Arctic. Soon, her playmates start disappearing! Mrs. Coulter takes Lyra under her wing, but she is much more than she seems. The book is much better than the movie, Golden Compass, so don't confuse the two!

The Subtle Knife: Great characterization in Lyra, the little girl lost, who meets a boy and a gang in a very unlikely dimensional hole in search of her uncle and discovering more about Dust and what it has to do with life.

The Subtle Knife is an instrument that can cut between dimensions. However, there has been a lot of "cutting" in the last century or two and this is having a destabilizing influence on the worlds affected.

I like Lyra in these stories. Phillip Pullman has been criticized for his apparent anti-Church themes, but I'm inclined to believe that those who accuse him of that have not read the book and are only reading the criticisms.

Pullman paints a dark Church in a dimension similar to ours, that's true. They are attempting to suppress the knowledge of other dimensions and those who can survive without daemons (animal familiars). Mrs. Coulter, unlike the first book, Golden Compass, plays a bit of a last minute heroine.

Overall, entertaining, moves at a good pace.


The Amber Spyglass: Will and Lyra continue their journey into the unknown. This book was fun because we have a spyglass that can spot Dust, we have the return of the Bear clan with kind Byrnison and we have Lyra's uncle on a quest to conquer God with his minions of angels and other armies.

At the risk of a spoiler, Lyra discovers a place where ghosts dwell, where a purgatory of sorts is, the draining of the spirit. And she finds love and that she's older and wiser because of it.

The subplots and the complexity of the story is what makes it fun.

**Check it out! ( )
  jmourgos | Sep 12, 2014 |
These books changed my life. I was a slightly embittered junior high kid that was having a hard time dealing with being Catholic and a weirdo. I found The Golden Compass while hiding from bullies and I skipped all my classes that day to read it (which I did read the whole thing in a day, but I mean a DAY as in I was up late into the night too).

It's rather mature reading, and wholly deserves the Young Adult designation. It almost seems like an adult book hidden inside a child's point of view. The characters are all interesting and the ending is heart-breaking. No "they all died" like Narnia and no "they all lived happily ever after" like some other recent series. It trends the line between the mundane and the fantastical.

I'd describe it all, but I'd be doing it a disservice. ( )
1 vote cendri | May 30, 2014 |
Tears..... ( )
  rampart_movie | May 30, 2014 |
Warning: This is not for people who get offended when someone makes up a story about the Christian Church.

Phillip Pullman weaves a beautiful story about growing up. Lyra Belacqua, a young girl who has grown up as an orphan in the care of her uncle and the master of Jordan College of Oxford, is tossed into the middle of a theological war where the Church is frightened of human nature and others are working to destroy the Authority. These three stories examine the nature of human consciousness, reinterprets the concept of sin, and retells, the old Adam and Eve story in stunning images and adrenaline -inducing action scenes. Pullman was clearly influenced by Paradise Lost and William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience in the way he offers a new perspective as well as in the images he creates.

The main and secondary characters are unforgettable with intense development. Many of the characters grow and change while the ones who don't are often guides for the young Lyra and Will. The development in their character is flawlessly developed and feels natural as well as familiar to the general human experience.

Besides describing the internal battle we all face as we wrestle with "human nature," what society says about it, and our own thoughts, this is also a story of many kinds of love - friendship, sisterhood, love that could have been, fatherly and motherly love, and the first love. The intensity that each kind of love holds drives many of the characters in a true reflection of ourselves.

I could go on for days about this series and it will never be enough to explain how much love I feel fr these books. For me, they are absolutely breathtaking. ( )
  est-lm | May 3, 2014 |
I really wanted to love this trilogy. I loved the thought of all this ridiculous controversy with religious nutpeople. While Northern Lights showed some glimpses of everything this story could have been, the rest was just a struggle to read through. Maybe those high hopes just ruined it. Made me hate all those plot holes and that mediocre writing. Although I cannot recommend this book to anyone, I guess all this crazytalk about banning it will just attract all the more people to it, and maybe that in itself IS the best thing this book has going for it. A crappy book inviting some people to think about freedom of choice. ( )
  MartinEdasi | Feb 13, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
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Has the adaptation

Was inspired by

Has as a reference guide/companion

Has as a study

The Science of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials by Mary Gribbin

The Magical Worlds of Philip Pullman: A Treasury of Fascinating Facts by David Colbert

The World of the Golden Compass: The Otherworldly Ride Continues by Scott Westerfeld

Navigating the Golden Compass: Religion, Science and Daemonology in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials (Smart Pop serie by Glenn Yeffeth

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For The Golden Compass:

Into this wild abyss,
The womb of nature and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, nor shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the almighty maker them ordain
His dark materials to create more worlds,
Into this wild abyss the wary fiend
Stood on the brink of hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage...

--John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II

For The Amber Spyglass:

The morning comes, the night decays, the watchmen leave their stations;
The grave is burst, the spices shed, the linen wrapped up;
The bones of death, the cov'ring clay, the sinews shrunk & dry'd
Reviving shake, inspiring move, breathing, awakening,
Spring like redeemed captives when their bonds & bars are burst,
Let the slave grinding at the mill run out into the field,
Let him look up into the heavens & laugh in the bright air;
Let the inchained soul, shut up in darkness and in sighing,
Whose face has never seen a smile in thirty weary years,
Rise and look out; his chains are loose, his dungeon doors are open;
And let his wife and children return from the oppressor's scourge.
They look behind at every step & believe it is a dream,
Singing: "The Sun has left his blackness & has found a fresher morning,
And the fair Moon rejoices in the clear & cloudless night;
For Empire is no more, and now the Lion & Wolf shall cease."

--from "America: A Prophecy" by William Blake

O stars,
isn't it from you that the lover's desire for the face
of his beloved arises? Doesn't his secret insight
into her pure features come from the pure constellations?

--from "The Third Elegy" by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell

Fine vapors escape from whatever is doing the living.
The night is cold and delicate and full of angels
Pounding down the living. The factories are all lit up,
The chime goes unheard.
We are together at last, though far apart.

--from "The Ecclesiast" by John Ashbery
First words
Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen. (Northern lights)
Will tugged at his mother's hand and said, "Come on, come on..." (The subtle knife)
In a valley shaded with rhododendrons, close to the snow line, where a stream milky with melt-water splashed and where doves and linnets flew among the immense pines, lay a cave, half-hidden by the crag above and the stiff heavy leaves that clustered below. (The amber spyglass)
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
This work is all three books (Northern Lights aka The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass) in one volume.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440238609, Mass Market Paperback)

In the epic trilogy His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman unlocks the door to worlds parallel to our own. Dæmons and winged creatures live side by side with humans, and a mysterious entity called Dust just might have the power to unite the universes--if it isn't destroyed first. The three books in Pullman's heroic fantasy series, published as mass-market paperbacks with new covers, are united here in one boxed set that includes The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. Join Lyra, Pantalaimon, Will, and the rest as they embark on the most breathtaking, heartbreaking adventure of their lives. The fate of the universe is in their hands. (Ages 13 and older)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:53:14 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The complete trilogy of His dark materials by Philip Pullman combined in one volume telling the story of witch clans, armored bears and haunted otherworlds.

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