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The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials Vol. 2)…

The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials Vol. 2) (original 1997; edition 1997)

by Philip Pullman

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17,201246100 (4.07)326
Title:The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials Vol. 2)
Authors:Philip Pullman
Info:Scholastic Point (1998), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fantasy, steampunk, YA

Work details

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (1997)

  1. 73
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
    Leishai: Also a story about fantasy with another world
  2. 31
    Wizard and Glass by Stephen King (levasssp)
    levasssp: or any of the Dark Tower series...similarities include an ability to travel between different, but closely related, worlds through portals or doors. Additionally, there are themes of religion, good/bad and questions about "essence" that are similar in both series.… (more)
  3. 21
    The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (Leishai)
  4. 11
    Lycidas by Christoph Marzi (Leishai)

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» See also 326 mentions

English (237)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (245)
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
Not a review:
I just found out that these books caused some kind of stir in religious people. Something about anti-Christianity. I wanted to find a quote about this particular book and, instead, I found some ridiculous page speaking of brainwashing. That made me feel disgusted.

I wonder if they even realize the meaning of fantasy. I mean, there is so much media around that is based in things that other cultures might regard as important, or deserving a greater respect than the one given in the stories that use them. Most of the times it doesn't become this sort of witch hunt. Sigh. I don't know if I am making any sense here. I just think that fantasy is supposed to make you question reality or view it in a different angle. Which is actually good. Sort of the opposite of brainwashing or following sheep-like.


( )
  aka_no_joou | May 19, 2015 |
Compulsively readable. I did it in one setting when I should have been doing my maths homework. I liked the way the witches make themselves invisible; similar to the method used by Pratchett's witches. You find out a lot more about what's going on. I'm looking forward to the final volume and hope it doesn't descend into silliness. ( )
  Lukerik | May 17, 2015 |
Even after reading numerous reviews saying that the killing God theme is silly, stupid etc., I still loved the idea, and, especially, the subtle way we get introduced to it.

The Subtle Knife read even faster than The Golden Compass, even though there was much more action and adventures in the first book. Even though The Subtle Knife deals with three universes, it does not get confusing at all, because everything seems structured and logical, which is something I have grown to truly admire about Philip Pullman's writing.

In the second book we also get introduced to a number of new characters, the most important of which is Will, of course. I loved him at once - he is clever, resourceful and quick-witted, just like Lyra. They learned a lot from eachother and become friends, which I find sad at the moment, because I have a feeling they will need to fight each other at some point.

Overall, the second installment of His Dark Materials is a wonderful read! ( )
  v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
Not as good as the first. The addition of Will and our world does nothing for this book. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 12, 2014 |
This story picks up after Lyra’s father, Lord Asriel, has betrayed Lyra and utilized Roger’s connection with his dæmon as the power source to reveal the bridges between the worlds. Overcome with grief, Lyra nonetheless chooses to follow the path to another world, to see what else is out there and to search for the truth about Dust, the mysterious particle who’s political ramifications is motivating the secretive actions of the adults. In another world away, Will Parry discovers a nearly invisible window in the air that leads to another world and the city of Cittàgazze, which has been inexplicably abandoned. Will encounters Lyra and Pan, who he believes to be a half-feral child who owns a leopard, but soon learns that they come from another world. Figuring out that they’re both from a parallel Oxford, they decide to ban together to learn more, and guided by Lyra’s atheliometer start off on a journey to both find Will’s missing father and the secret to Dust. Throughout their adventures, they get further caught up in the political maneuvering of the adults, and the problems that come from traveling between worlds. Will becomes the true bearer of the Subtle Knife in a fight that leaves him with a loss of two of his fingers, but the gained ability to cut the fabric between worlds. The readers, through perspectives of side characters like Serafina Pekkala, a witch, and Lee Scoresby, a friend of Lyra’s, the narrative explains further the significance of Lyra and Will, and how they play into the idea of Dust. In this sequel, Pullman masterfully weaves new storylines and half-known plots into a masterful narrative dripping with tension and adventure. It becomes clearer that Lyra is more important than she realizes, and somehow her friendship and growing connection to Will is influencing the course of events. The addition of new worlds instills an atmospheric sense of wonder to the saga that encourages readers to fully engage with the narrative. Recommended for purchase. Ages 12 and up. ( )
  kornelas1 | Dec 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
J. R. R. Tolkien, the granddaddy of modern high fantasy, asserted that the best fantasy writing is marked by ''arresting strangeness.'' Philip Pullman measures up; his work is devilishly inventive. His worlds teem with angels, witches, humans, animal familiars, talking bears and Specters, creatures resembling deadly airborne jellyfish... Put Philip Pullman on the shelf with Ursula K. Le Guin, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, at least until we get to see Volume 3.

» Add other authors (17 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Pullmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peterson, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tutino, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Will tugged at his mother's hand and said, "Come on, come on..." But his mother hung back.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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AR 6.2, Pts 16.0
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440238145, Mass Market Paperback)

With The Golden Compass Philip Pullman garnered every accolade under the sun. Critics lobbed around such superlatives as "elegant," "awe-inspiring," "grand," and "glittering," and used "magnificent" with gay abandon. Each reader had a favorite chapter--or, more likely, several--from the opening tour de force to Lyra's close call at Bolvangar to the great armored-bear battle. And Pullman was no less profligate when it came to intellectual firepower or singular characters. The dæmons alone grant him a place in world literature. Could the second installment of his trilogy keep up this pitch, or had his heroine and her too, too sullied parents consumed him? And what of the belief system that pervaded his alternate universe, not to mention the mystery of Dust? More revelations and an equal number of wonders and new players were definitely in order.

The Subtle Knife offers everything we could have wished for, and more. For a start, there's a young hero--from our world--who is a match for Lyra Silvertongue and whose destiny is every bit as shattering. Like Lyra, Will Parry has spent his childhood playing games. Unlike hers, though, his have been deadly serious. This 12-year-old long ago learned the art of invisibility: if he could erase himself, no one would discover his mother's increasing instability and separate them.

As the novel opens, Will's enemies will do anything for information about his missing father, a soldier and Arctic explorer who has been very much airbrushed from the official picture. Now Will must get his mother into safe seclusion and make his way toward Oxford, which may hold the key to John Parry's disappearance. But en route and on the lam from both the police and his family's tormentors, he comes upon a cat with more than a mouse on her mind: "She reached out a paw to pat something in the air in front of her, something quite invisible to Will." What seems to him a patch of everyday Oxford conceals far more: "The cat stepped forward and vanished." Will, too, scrambles through and into another oddly deserted landscape--one in which children rule and adults (and felines) are very much at risk. Here in this deathly silent city by the sea, he will soon have a dustup with a fierce, flinty little girl: "Her expression was a mixture of the very young--when she first tasted the cola--and a kind of deep, sad wariness." Soon Will and Lyra (and, of course, her dæmon, Pantalaimon) uneasily embark on a great adventure and head into greater tragedy.

As Pullman moves between his young warriors and the witch Serafina Pekkala, the magnetic, ever-manipulative Mrs. Coulter, and Lee Scoresby and his hare dæmon, Hester, there are clear signs of approaching war and earthly chaos. There are new faces as well. The author introduces Oxford dark-matter researcher Mary Malone; the Latvian witch queen Ruta Skadi, who "had trafficked with spirits, and it showed"; Stanislaus Grumman, a shaman in search of a weapon crucial to the cause of Lord Asriel, Lyra's father; and a serpentine old man whom Lyra and Pan can't quite place. Also on hand are the Specters, beings that make cliff-ghasts look like rank amateurs.

Throughout, Pullman is in absolute control of his several worlds, his plot and pace equal to his inspiration. Any number of astonishing scenes--small- and large-scale--will have readers on edge, and many are cause for tears. "You think things have to be possible," Will demands. "Things have to be true!" It is Philip Pullman's gift to turn what quotidian minds would term the impossible into a reality that is both heartbreaking and beautiful. --Kerry Fried

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:34:48 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

As the boundaries between worlds begin to dissolve, Lyra and her daemon help Will Parry in his search for his father and for a powerful, magical knife.

(summary from another edition)

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