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The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
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The Subtle Knife (1997)

by Philip Pullman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: His Dark Materials (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
19,975295115 (4.06)373
  1. 73
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
    Leishai: Also a story about fantasy with another world
  2. 52
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    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
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    Lycidas by Christoph Marzi (Leishai)
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» See also 373 mentions

English (283)  French (2)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  Dutch (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (294)
Showing 1-5 of 283 (next | show all)
I suffered my way through this trilogy as it was "The greatest thing" and concluded that it was only deemed such as the Literati never deign to read Sci-Fi and so thought he dreamt up all the stuff he just re-hashed. ( )
  expatscot | Jun 5, 2019 |
The second book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, The Subtle Knife starts off on our world, with Will trying to find a place to keep his mother safe. Eventually Will meets up with Lyra, and learns that his destiny is linked with hers. They travel back and forth between his world and another parallel world, running from enemies everywhere. It ends in a cliffhanger, and I'm definitely interested in what happens to Will and Lyra. Knowing this has been marketed to a YA audience, I was a bit surprised with some of the disturbing imagery and plot turns. ( )
  LisaMorr | May 24, 2019 |
The second part of His Dark Materials introduces multiple universes, and Will, a boy from our world. He enters an alternate universe by accident and meets Lyra, and on the run from various enemies, they discover that their fates are intertwined. Here, Pullman's inspiration "Paradise Lost" becomes more obvious as the worlds are preparing for a war either for or against 'The Authority'. It has lots of action and deaths of important characters. Looking forward to the final book to see how it is all resolved. ( )
  Marse | Apr 27, 2019 |
The Subtle Knife continues the arc that the Golden Compass left off on with great success. This book uses great storytelling elements to keep the reader engaged. In the beginning of the book we don't even know whose perspective we are seeing, as the book goes on Lyra and the boy whose perspective we originally saw, Will, meet up and start exploring this unknown world that keeps the reader guessing. This books tone is much different from the golden compass, this world resembles hell and in turn there's a darker tone. This books message is about friendship and the bonds you create throughout life. Lyra meets an unlikely ally in Will and befriends him. Bonds like this aren't taken lightly, be there and protect your friends as Lyra does in this story. ( )
  SeanSullivan14 | Apr 25, 2019 |
I really like these! Especially, of course, the abundance of animals/daemons (Will and his love of cats! So adorable!). Can't wait to read the third one. Wish I had known about these when they came out; I would've loved them when I was in my teens.

I hear the movie of the first book sucks, so I won't be seeing it, but I think these books would make a really excellent Hayao Miyazaki anime. It's got the strong female protagonist, lots of cute animals, and just... the feel of a lot of his stories. Compare these books to, say, Nausicaa or Princess Mononoke.
( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 283 (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 (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pullman, Philipprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bailey, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peterson, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rohmann, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tutino, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedication
First words
Will tugged at his mother's hand and said, "Come on, come on..." But his mother hung back.
Quotations
“I’m only an ignorant aëronaut. I’m so damn ignorant I believed it when I was told that shamans had the gift of flight, for example. Yet here’s a shaman who hasn’t.”

“Oh, but I have.”

“How d’you make that out?”

The balloon was drifting lower, and the ground was rising. […]

“I needed to fly,” said Grumman, “so I summoned you, and here I am, flying.”
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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AR 6.2, Pts 16.0
Haiku summary

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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:31 -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.

» see all 20 descriptions

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