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His Dark Materials

by Philip Pullman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: His Dark Materials (1-3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,270202405 (4.28)1 / 318
Lyra Belacqua tries to prevent kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments, helps Will Parry search for his father, and finds that she and Will are caught in a battle between the forces of the Authority and those gathered by her uncle, Lord Asriel.
  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. 73
    Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling (guurtjesboekenkast)
  3. 63
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling (guurtjesboekenkast)
  4. 10
    Foundling by D. M. Cornish (Bitter_Grace)
  5. 21
    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)
  6. 11
    Nation by Terry Pratchett (JonTheNiceGuy)
  7. 00
    Dust City by Robert Paul Weston (kaledrina)
  8. 00
    Hollow City by Ransom Riggs (thenothing)
    thenothing: Hollow City could easy be fan fiction of His Dark Materials
  9. 00
    The Gormenghast Trilogy 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.
  10. 00
    Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace (wosret)
    wosret: Take a journey through through the underworld; there's more to reality than you know.
  11. 00
    The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (vwinsloe)
    vwinsloe: Both critique religion as a tool of power

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Group TopicMessagesLast Message 
 Folio Society Devotees: His Dark Materials12 unread / 12antinous_in_london, December 2022

» See also 318 mentions

English (194)  German (3)  French (3)  Italian (1)  Vietnamese (1)  All languages (202)
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
This trilogy is marketed to younger readers, I suppose because it's a fantasy book and the protagonists are a boy and girl on the cusp of being teenagers. The themes of free will, the nature of the soul, and corruption of faith and power are rarely explored so thoroughly in any book, let alone in books for "children." Despite the more mature themes, the books are enjoyable because of strong characters, great villians, amazing alternative world building, thrilling action, and many moments that invoke real emotion. If you read this as a kid, I strongly suggest reading it as an adult.

One of Pullman's many incredible inventions here is that characters have an animal companion that represents their conscience and perhaps their soul. Not only does a particular animal give us a hint about a character, but the animals talk and the relationship one has with their "soul" can be tremendously affecting.

I'm not going to summarize the story except to say it starts out as a relatively simple fantasy adventure and eventually our heroes find themselves with crucial parts to play in an actual war between creation and it's creators. Along the way are magical items, wise witches, talking bear-kings, bad parents, soul-sucking specters, scientists who communicate with angels, and all manner of fantastic creatures. This is truly an incredible work of the imagination. ( )
  RobertOK | Aug 18, 2023 |
Fighting a war with Heaven is always going to be epic. I don't feel like there were any slow parts. Lyra was awesome. I'd recommend to anybody, teen to adult. ( )
  misterysun | Feb 27, 2023 |
Added because the BBC book list has lumped them all in together. Easily one of my favourite series ever. Date I finished it was a total guess. ( )
  theBookDevourer211 | Jan 27, 2023 |
Great fantasy trilogy. The anti-God's purpose slam at the end bothered me a bit, but it's still a good story with great characters. ( )
  kslade | Dec 8, 2022 |
Loved this trilogy - first book was the best. Especially liked portrayal of young heroine as smart and cunning.
( )
  SofiaKlatzker | Sep 30, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Pullmanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hughes-Hallett, LucyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mullen, DouglasCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targete, Jean PierreCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Alternative titles
Information from the German Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
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Related movies
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.
Publisher's editors
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Lyra Belacqua tries to prevent kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments, helps Will Parry search for his father, and finds that she and Will are caught in a battle between the forces of the Authority and those gathered by her uncle, Lord Asriel.

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Vydavateľstvo Ikar po prvý raz predstavuje slovenskému čitateľovi súborné vydanie Pullmanovej fantasy ságy pod názvom Temné hmoty. Svetoznáma trilógia, ktorá pozostáva z kníh Zlatý kompas, Magický nôž a Jantárový ďalekohľad, získala významné ocenenia, predovšetkým cenu Nibbie a Whitbreadovu cenu za najlepšiu britskú knihu roka.
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