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The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass (2000)

by Philip Pullman (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: His Dark Materials (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
16,213280108 (4.02)97
  1. 42
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
    Leishai: Also a story about fantasy with another world
  2. 10
    Cold Fire by Kate Elliot (Jen448)
  3. 21
    The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers (Leishai)
  4. 10
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (thebookpile)
  5. 00
    The Once and Future King by T. H. White (themulhern)
    themulhern: This book follows a similar trajectory to the HDM trilogy, starting out fairly light and bright and growing gradually more somber, mature, and troubled.
  6. 11
    Lycidas by Christoph Marzi (Leishai)

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» See also 97 mentions

English (268)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Croatian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  All languages (279)
Showing 1-5 of 268 (next | show all)
A fitting end to the multifaceted, imaginative and gripping series. The fact that the story got extremely complicated and then resolved all the mysteries in the last couple of chapters only adds to its charm, really (they searched for the Authority for three books length, yet they dealt with him in, like, 5 minutes).

Lyra bugged me a little the first half of the book (a lot of which she kind of slept through), but she kept growing on me as she herself kept growing up. I liked the bit about Lyra and Will realizing how much they loved each other - and all the decisions they had to made were heartbreaking and too tough for twelve-year-olds.

Actually, there were so many moments that broke my heart that my admiration for Philip Pullman's storytelling has no limits. His characters, being not only humans, but also witches, and armored bears, and little people, and people who look like animals, and monsters and harpies, are all complicated in their own way and as real as they could possibly be in a fantasy novel.

In conclusion, I only have praise for this story, its plot and its characters, and I would recommend it to anyone who is hungry for some fantastic adventures, mystery, and heartbreak. ( )
1 vote v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
A bittersweet ending that couldn't have really gone differently. Overall, exceptionally enjoyable. ( )
  benuathanasia | Dec 22, 2014 |
Philip Pullman's writing is superb. This final book is exciting and does not disappoint the reader who is hoping for a complex ending. ( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
Philip Pullman's writing is superb. This final book is exciting and does not disappoint the reader who is hoping for a complex ending. ( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
A mash-up of genres - young adult, fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, conspiracy, etc -, the last book of the Dark Materials series satisfyingly wraps up Lyra and Will's medley of dangerous journeys across multiple universes in order to save (or destroy, depends on whether you have the fanaticism of Gomez et al) everything.

Things I enjoyed:
- Iorek rolling around or lying on his stomach in the snow is my favourite imagery in the whole book. Its cuteness stood out especially after Iorek finds Lee's body and since they were such great friends, he must honour Lee's (unstated) last wishes, which unexpectedly was to eat his corpse. I am a terrible friend!
- the chapter heading for the reappearance of Mary, "Mary, Alone" and also, the symbolism of Mary being the tempter, the ex-nun defeats the church.
- the complexity of Coulter and Asriel's characterisation. It is interesting for a children's book to have such morally-ambiguous characters, even if Coulter mostly gets her way via seduction.
- random Russian priest whom Will meets keeps his heaviest book, an atlas, on the bottom shelf. Little details.
- the scene between Pan and Lyra in the underworld river.
- the way the multiple plot points dovetailed in regards to Spectres, knife, windows, Dust, etc.

Things I imagine Pullman must have enjoyed writing:
- the idea of pre-emptive penance and absolution. Is that even a real thing that any major religion does?
- Balthamos and his sassiness, his love for Baruch and him an angel killing a priest.
- the Gallivespians!
- the ending interjecting spiel about studying and learning and being polite to people. I like the idea of kids reading this book and being encouraged to think, Yes! That's the stuff for me!.

Things I don't know how to feel about
- I Ching being used as an alethiometer-substitute for Mary. Why not use Nostradamus' book of predictions in place of the alethiometer then? Yes, yes, it would be more difficult for Lyra to carry and conceal, etc.
- Lyra and Will's respective "special" skills, lying and being inconspicuous. Especially the latter case, Will challenges Iorek to a fight and wins by default and the whole village was amazed but the moment he turns on his invisibility dull-eyed pose, the whole village lose interest that a thirteen-year-old boy just challenged an armoured bear to a fight and won?
- mulefa and tualapi. I suppose they hint at all the other types of worlds?
-Lyra's insistence on finding Roger just so she can apologise to him. I hope this does not make little kids think that if they accidentally do something of that magnitude to a friend, all they have to do is apologise!
- Lyra and Will's incipient sexualities and romance, and all the related events e.g. putting the bloodmoss on each other when it could really be done by themselves leading up to it. Why? So Dust will return? How did they do that anyway, just the two of them was enough to cause it? Probably.

However, the ending more than made up for the eyerolling interactions between Lyra and Will.

Questions for thought: Can dæmons take the shape of extinct animals, say, a dinosaur? Was Mary's Spectre-repelling abilities ever explained? Is it because she is an ex-nun and Pullman was making the joke that she has no soul? Did Will hold a pistol with the three-fingered hand and how? When Lyra could sporadically see the Spectres, was she having her first period? Terribly inconvenient timing is all I can say. How did Will and Mary sort out the troubles they were in in their own world? ( )
1 vote kitzyl | Nov 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 268 (next | show all)
And as the bumpy journey among these dark materials comes to an end, there is the most moving of scenes: all fantasy subdued and only human frailty revealed in the real world of Oxford's Botanic Garden.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pullman, PhilipAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bruno, FrancescoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pullman, PhilipNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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O tell of His might, O sing of His grace,
Whose robe is the light, whose canopy space,
His chariots of wrath the deep thunderclouds form,
And dark is His path on the wings of the storm.

    Robert Grant, from Hymns Ancient and Modern.
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 pure constellations?

    Ranier Maria Rilke, The Third Elegy.
    From The Selected Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke (transl. Stephen Michell)
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.

    John Ashbery, The Ecclesiast.
    From River and Mountains.
First words
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.
I used to be a nun, you see. I thought physics could be done to the glory of God, till I saw there wasn't any God at all and that physics was more interesting anyway. The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake, that's all.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The unabridged audio recording is narrated by a full cast, so there are a large number of narrators.
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In the astonishing finale to the His Dark Materials trilogy, Lyra and Will are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone. All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent Amber Spyglass. An assassin hunts her down, and Lord Asriel, with a troop of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, in a battle of strange allies—and shocking sacrifice.

As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living—and the dead—finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story.
Haiku summary
Heroine suffers.
But in the end it's only

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Lyra and Will find themselves at the center of a battle between the forces of the Authority and those gathered by Lyra's father, Lord Asriel.

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