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3.7 out of 5 stars86
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 4 January 2004
Well......what can I say. I read and enjoyed the tilogy of His Dark Materials more than any other series of books in a very long time.
This short story is poor, badly written and most inconclusive. I feel that I have been sadly ripped off, by this the smallest of volumes.
I would not recommend this book to anyone, it is a pointless piece of commercialism and is not worthy of having the author even associated with, that is assuming he actually wrote it!
Very bad show indeed!
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on 24 December 2003
I love His Dark Materials, and yearn to know more about Pullman's magical parallel universe but this is more a short story than a proper book. The map of Oxford is very beautiful, but not really worth the price.
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on 18 December 2003
You basically get three things with this beautifully designed little book;
1. Answers to some questions in the trilogy, such as the name of Jordan college in our world, and also the location of Cittigazze (this location needs a little detective work with a good atlas).
2. Hints about the future direction of Pullman's follow-up books. Pullman himself refers to this little book as a stepping stone to the future works.
3. The narrative itself is little more than a chapter in length. It is a short and interesting read but nothing more.
Also, I enjoyed the wood block illustrations.
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on 2 March 2011
I found this little delight in a charity shop the other day and read it on my commute today (it's quite short). I loved the Dark Materials trilogy, and have a special affinity with Northern Lights because I bought it after quitting my job at British Gas (I walked out and didn't go back) before taking it to the roof garden café of David Morgans where I stayed reading it until 8 o'clock at night.

I started reading this story and it didn't take me long to remember how magical the first books were. I read the originals over ten years ago now and the memories flooded back. It was great to be back in Lyra and Pan's company, if only briefly. Future story ideas are alluded to, though if Pullman wants to create a universe mythos in the H.P. Lovecraft/Neil Gaiman style then he'll have to write faster! The Book Of Dust sounds awesome, but when will it come out?

This episode, though, deals with Lyra. The main story in the book is entitled Lyra and the Birds. It starts with Lyra watching a flock of birds from which emerges someone's daemon. The daemon tells Lyra that it needs to find a local alchemist and Lyra decides to help. It's a very short story so I can't really say much more without giving away plot points but it is very rich. As usual there is the mix of old magics and new sciences that worked so well in the trilogy and, as I said earlier, the hints at future stories are tantalising.

Added to all this is the beautiful presentation of the book. Bound in red cloth, it comes with a foldout map, postcards and adverts from Lyra's universe; this is more an experience than a book. Lovely.
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on 5 May 2010
This is set after The Amber Spyglass wherein not much happens. This is a book in search of a plot; it has a feel of the writer's preliminary notes and an air of vanity publishing. Cynics may sniff that it has been published to capitalise on the success of the incredible His Dark Materials trilogy. Perhaps it would have been better to have published it posthumously like the Tolkien material. Recommended for the committed fan and even then only worth having for completion purposes rather than for any literary merit or narrative satisfaction.
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VINE VOICEon 19 April 2010
"This book contains a story in several other things. The other things might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven't appeared yet. It's not easy to tell."

It has now been a couple of years since Lyra had her adventures in the dark materials. She is now settled in the Oxford of her world. Lying on the roof with her daemon, Pantalaimon (From: Pine marten) Lyra speculates on the meaning of the random movements of birds. Little did Lyra realize that this would soon bring her to a new adventure in the search for a well known alchemist; and a new understanding of witches, and life in general.

This story can easily be a trial balloon for a new book.

------------------------------------------------------------

The unabridged production on one compact disk may be a tad more expensive. However it is performed by the author and a full cast on top of this is not a well-designed case and a pamphlet tells a little bit about the beginning of the book also includes some of the materials that he describes the beginning it might've been lost between worlds. There are some pictures of Oxford that might be the real one might not. And a foldout map of Lyra's Oxford.

Bill Pullman sounds awful lot like Jim Dale as he begins his story with a quote from Oskar Baedecker's "The Coast of Bohemia."
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VINE VOICEon 30 January 2008
"This book contains a story in several other things. The other things might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven't appeared yet. It's not easy to tell."

It has now been a couple of years since Lyra had her adventures in the dark materials. She is now settled in the Oxford of her world. Lying on the roof with her daemon, Pantalaimon (From: Pine marten) Lyra speculates on the meaning of the random movements of birds. Little did Lyra realize that this would soon bring her to a new adventure in the search for a well known alchemist; and a new understanding of witches, and life in general.

This story can easily be a trial balloon for a new book.

------------------------------------------------------------

The unabridged production on one compact disk may be a tad more expensive. However it is performed by the author and a full cast on top of this is not a well-designed case and a pamphlet tells a little bit about the beginning of the book also includes some of the materials that he describes the beginning it might've been lost between worlds. There are some pictures of Oxford that might be the real one might not. And a foldout map of Lyra's Oxford.

Bill Pullman sounds awful lot like Jim Dale as he begins his story with a quote from Oskar Baedecker's "The Coast of Bohemia."
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on 11 November 2003
This is an interesting addition to the trilogy that gives a small insight to Lyra's life after she leaves Will. Unfortunately it's a very short story that doesn't explain itself. The map and postcards are also very good insights to other parts of the story that were only touched upon as insidentals in the trilogy.
I hope that if the rumered new book comes out, it will carry on this short story and explain it in more detail.
I agree that you must read the trilogy before reading this book or you will not understand what is going on.
Otherwise a really good short story that 'His Dark Materials' fans should read.
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on 9 June 2015
There is nothing wrong with Philip Pullman's Lyra's Oxford - it is a competent little side story about Lyra a little older than we see her in His Dark Materials, and her discovery about the misbehaviour of some birds. It was delightful to read some of her character in a more mature frame of mind, albeit the rebelliousness is still evidently, thankfully.

The addition of a beautiful map of Lyra's Oxford, as well as a postcard from Mary is a nice touch. Although I'm not quite sure what the brochure is all about.

My main qualm with the book, is perhaps, more of a personal thing than an actual problem. I wanted more - so much more. Short stories are exactly that - short, but this episode seems a little too far removed from the main trilogy to have sort of impact. I was left with more questions, as well as questions with what had happened since we last saw her.

Lyra's Oxford should be taken as a singular episode and nothing more. Fans will delight in a new little titbit of sorts.
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on 15 April 2008
I totally agree with Professor Paradox's review, except that it took me only 15 minutes to read!
I loved the trilogy but somehow this book has altered my view of His Dark Materials. Probably because I feel like I've been ripped off - this book offers nothing to extend the trilogy, rather it annoyed me that it is clearly a quickly-written, no-depth-to-it, money-making venture. Disgraceful!
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