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His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden…

His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The… (edition 2007)

by Philip Pullman

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10,465164273 (4.29)276
Title:His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass)
Authors:Philip Pullman
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2007), Hardcover, 1312 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

  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 Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) 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
    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.
  7. 00
    Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace (wosret)
    wosret: Take a journey through through the underworld; there's more to reality than you know.
  8. 00
    Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (thenothing)
    thenothing: Hollow City could easy be fan fiction of His Dark Materials
  9. 00
    Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (kaledrina)
  10. 00
    The Wind on Fire Trilogy by William Nicholson (Pigletto)
  11. 01
    Nation by Terry Pratchett (JonTheNiceGuy)

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Showing 1-5 of 156 (next | show all)
Philip K. Pullman did not like CS Lewis' Chronicals of Narnia. He had issues with the romanticizing of childhood and the sexism. He also, as an atheist, struggled with the heavy "religious" message. All of which went over my head when I read Lewis' books in the 5th and 6th grade.

His Dark Materials is Pullman's answer to Lewis. And they are to a degree brilliant works. Satirical and layered, they act as a critique of organized religions, specifically Catholicism and religions with political heirarchy. The book also acts as a rigorous coming of age tale, featuring a feisty and sharp heroine at its center. And Pullman examines what it means to have a soul and a what soul is.

In some respects Pullman's books are better than Lewis' - because Pullman unlike Lewis, has more questions than he has answers. ( )
  cmlloyd67 | Jun 7, 2015 |
For a 1152 pages book I should have a thing or two to say about this trilogy. But hmm.. No, I don’t. I can’t! It would spoil the entire story, which I strongly believe should be kept hidden until you read it yourself. And most likely re-read it, like I did! There as many layers to this brilliant work, than there are worlds… -sigh-

What I’d love to add to those who have seen The Golden compass but haven’t read the book(s) yet… Whether you liked the movie or not: Read the book instead and be ready to get seduced to read the other 2 as well! (I know it’s a cliché, but it’s true.. this trilogy rules!) ( )
  NinaCaramelita | Feb 26, 2015 |
I gave this trilogy 3 stars because whilst the first two books are excellent the 3rd book is terrible. It is a morass of plot holes so large, ocean liners could get lost in it. It seemed that Pullman completely ignored writing a decent story just so he could get to his 'message'

1.In Ci'gazze we are told that spectres attack any adult, it happens to the witches hunting Lyra yet when Mrs Coulter turns up, they leave her alone and not just alone, they follow her orders. We are not told why this happens, except some allusion to Mrs Coulter's force of will. Then Mary Malone manages to walk from the spectre haunted city and up the mountains without being bothered once. So too does the assassin priest. If you are going to come up with a set up like this, use it or at least explain why it's suddenly not working.

2, Mrs Coulter sudden transformation into mother of the year. Why? No actual reason save that Pullman wanted her and Azriel to sacrifice themselves for Lyra.

3. Lyra and Will being told that sex is nice. Well forgive me if I'm wrong, but sex is part of human nature and no one needs to 'tell' you about sexual feelings. They just happen. The most you need to know is how babies are made. No one needs someone else to tell you to suddenly feel attracted to people. Given how much was made of Lyra's choice, I thought it'd be something ground shattering and not whether she should fall in love with Will. It also felt false and forced. Also for those who insist that it's about their first kiss and not sex, at one point it is mentioned that they are lovers. That's a phrase used to describe people who have had sex not just a snog.

4. Mary Malone's reasons for not being a christian. Sorry but given her words about how good a christian she was, it does not follow that she would lose her faith, simply because she wanted to have sex. She would have stopped being a nun, but why would she suddenly lose a deep faith just like that. Seemed lazy and unbelievable.

5. How does Azriel manage to build up this 'rebellion against god' in a matter of weeks. Because that's how long it feels. If it were supposed to be set over a year, then okay, but that's not the timeframe and it makes no sense.

6. So what was the effect of Azriel splitting open the heavens? None apparently apart from global devastation on Lyra's world. But if there were so many doorways to other worlds, why did he have to split open the heavens. Not explained, made no sense.

7. Will's father. How did he become a shaman? Not explained, he just is and we have to accept it. Yet Will and Lyra can't be full witches with magic, so how could his father have power?

These are just the glaring holes in the plot that I picked up and possibly why I hated the series the first time I read it. My advice, read the first two books and make up what happens next, it's bound to be better than the book on it's own ( )
  Claire.Warner | Feb 8, 2015 |
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 |
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Has the adaptation

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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:21 -0400)

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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.

(summary from another edition)

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