Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Book of Dust Volume One: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman (2017)

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it, certainly not like I loved  The Golden Compass.  The first time I read The Golden Compass,  I was astounded on just how original and good it was; one of the best books I had ever read.  The Subtle Knife I thought was almost but not quite as good; The Amber Spyglass, I thought was slightly less better than the first two.  As the books get farther away from The Golden Compass, the quality of the books remain the same (they are all exquisitely written, but the plots aren’t as interesting.  As much as I enjoyed La Belle Sauvage, I did keep wondering exactly why it was written - what was the point?  I would have loved even better a story set in this amazing world Philip Pullman created that didn’t continue the story of the people we’d already met; I don’t remember ever being interested in Lyra’s life before OR after the first series took place.  Obviously, Philip Pullman had more to tell, but I’m not sure I’m interested in any more books after this.  Or perhaps not - the fairies did intrigue me.

La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The farther away Philip Pullman gets from The Golden Compass, the less potent the stories become. He’s a great writer, and this book in particular is exquisitely written. But, and I’m loath to write this - parts of this book are sort of dull. I don’t recall ever thinking that about The Golden Compass, but I remember The Subtle Knife being a little bit less interesting than The Golden Compass, and The Amber Spyglass being a little bit less interesting than the other two. La Belle Sauvage is a little bit less interesating times three now, and it shows. I’m curious enough in some of what Pullman introduced in this book to read the next in the series - but I sort of wish other characters and storylines from Lyra’s world had been explored rather than a prequel of The Golden Compass. There is a creepy character that could go head to head with Mrs. Coulter though; if that eventually happens, there will be a literary cage match like no other.

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