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The Secret Commonwealth

by Philip Pullman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Book of Dust (2)

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1,836608,806 (3.94)62
Twenty-year-old college undergraduate Lyra is once again thrown together with Malcom Polstead, now a professor, after Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, receive secrets from a dying man about a daemon-haunted city and the origins of Dust.

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» See also 62 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
This is enjoyable but ultimately is the middle of a trilogy so feels a bit incomplete. It jumps forward significantly (from La Belle Sauvage) to Lyra as an adult student at Oxford, slowly finding out more about the events of that book. We learn a lot more about daemons and their connection to humans, and the action moves across Europe and Asia, but it goes on too long and ends a bit abruptly. Looking forward to the final section though. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Sep 30, 2023 |
I am returning this half-read to the library. It’s unpleasant and feels rushed and pointless. I don’t buy a single plot point. And eewwwww to the love interest, nope nope.
Loved the trilogy, and actually La Belle Sauvage was the first Pullman I ever read, inspiring me to read more. I’m glad I didn’t start with this one, or I’d have missed those. ( )
  emilymcmc | Jun 24, 2023 |
The first word that left my mouth when I finished reading this book was DAMN!! 600 pages only to reach ...what? Not a conclusion, but a pause, kind of like when the power fails 5 minutes before the end of a show. But once again, Pullman has developed a world of suspense and philosophy that is dense and compulsively readable. Three characters’ lives are inextricably intertwined: Malcolm Polstead, the scholar who had rescued Lyra when she was a baby, in events described in “La Belle Sauvage,” the first book in this second His Dark Materials trilogy; Lyra’s daemon Pantalaimon, from whom she is now able to separate; and Lyra herself, who is finding her way across Europe and Asia, to seek what she has lost and to face what is likely her destiny. It has always been clear, in the original trilogy and in these two volumes, that Lyra has some monumental purpose, the power to break open all that the religious authority holds sacred, to bring about a spiritual revolution, but that purpose has not been defined, not in 5 thick volumes. Her mission is always endangered, always precarious, but she is always protected, always finds a way to overcome these obstacles. It is a familiar story, but no less gripping in this iteration. It has been a long time since I read the original trilogy, and just as I did before “La Belle Sauvage,” I re-read some synopses to remind me of where it left off. But, where “Sauvage” was a prequel, this is a sequel, taking place almost 10 years after “The Subtle Knife” ended. It was a frustrating place for this book to end, just as some things are on the verge of resolution, but in the same moment it introduces the next layer of complication for Lyra’s quest. So, I shall settle in for another long wait! ( )
  karenchase | Jun 14, 2023 |
This is the second book in Pullman's Book of Dust trilogy, and takes place twenty years after the first book, and most of a decade after the action of The Amber Spyglass, the final book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. Lyra is now 20 and still living in Jordan College, Oxford. Sadly she and her beloved daemon Pantaleimon have fallen out and can hardly stand each other; Lyra seems to have fallen under the influence of two rationalist thinkers and authors who deny the existence of daemons. Things come to a head and Pantaleimon runs away. The plot essentially involves Lyra travelling a path east across Europe, the Middle East and Asia to find him, following legends of communities of other people lacking daemons, and dodging through perilous local political and religious turmoil, at the centre of which is a character Marcel Delamare, who is the brother of Mrs Coulter, and hence Lyra's uncle (though this fact is given no significance in this book). The story is grim and gritty and while a good story in itself I missed the atmosphere of magical exuberance that pervades the other books set in Lyra's universe. I also thought it was rather too long and my enjoyment of this one is rather qualified. I wonder how the story will be resolved in the final part which is apparently to be published later this year. ( )
  john257hopper | May 19, 2023 |
Avvincente, coinvolgente.
Letto in tre giorni ( )
  mirocami | Mar 17, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 58 (next | show all)
The Secret Commonwealth is a book whose political signification is much closer to the surface than in earlier work: both the refugee crisis and the current state of democracy are repeatedly referenced. There's something really interesting going on here: by interjecting familiar real-world concerns into a well-loved fiction universe, Pullman gives them added urgency, powerful resonance. A scene in which a ferry capsizes a boat of refugees is almost unreadably tragic; doubly so when we see it through the eyes of Lyra, with whom many of us have grown up. [...]

It's darker and more dangerous than much YA fiction, but there was nothing here that my 11-year-old couldn't handle – indeed he raced through it quicker than I did; loved it, if possible, even more. [...] That Pullman is our best children's author is clear; The Secret Commonwealth establishes him as one of our greatest writers, full stop.
added by Cynfelyn | editThe Guardian, Alex Preston (Oct 20, 2019)

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pullman, Philipprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sheen, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wormell, ChristopherIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wormell, ChristopherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Every thing possible to be believ'd is an image of truth. —William Blake
To Nick Messenger, fine poet and indomitable friend
First words
Pantalaimon, the dæmon of Lyra Belacqua, now called Lyra Silvertongue, lay along the windowsill of Lyra's little study-bedroom in St. Sophia's College in a state far from thought as he could get.
Everything possible to be believ'd is an image of truth

- William Blake
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Twenty-year-old college undergraduate Lyra is once again thrown together with Malcom Polstead, now a professor, after Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, receive secrets from a dying man about a daemon-haunted city and the origins of Dust.

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Average: (3.94)
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2 12
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3 50
3.5 32
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