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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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As someone who has recently finished reading His Dark Materials and considers it one of the best series of novels ever written, I eagerly bought both this and Once Upon A Time In The North together from Amazon and - considering them both together - I am glad I did. I love miscellanies and companion books and both of these books are both great for the serious fan, containing snippets of information deliberately out of context - the idea being to make you think and fill in the gaps with your own imagination.

But if you have only read the first book (or seen the film), I would advise buying Once Upon A Time In The North - as that is a great standalone story of reasonable length - and not this one until you have read your way to the end of the His Dark Materials trilogy.

The story in Lyra's Oxford - Lyra and the Birds - is great if you want to find out more about Lyra Silvertongue's life after the end of The Amber Spyglass, but as a standalone story it is - I have to sadly admit - a bit boring. I think Philip Pullman definitely learned a lesson from this though, because the next short story - Once Upon A Time In The North (out now) - sees him return to form with a genuinely exciting short story that requires no prior knowledge of the series to enjoy.
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VINE VOICEon 15 June 2006
Firstly, I've really wanted to review this book. I recieved it earlier today and I thought I'd share my input.

It must be said that this book is very small, it's smaller than a normal novel, and it has far less pages, in total I think there may be around 70 pages to the book, though I have not officially counted. The book itself is presented very well, and Pullman's writing is on top form once more.

The story is set 2 years after the end of 'The Amber Spyglass', and so it is best that you have read the first three books, although not necessary, however if you haven't, then it will be very confusing. Having being said, this book seemingly has nothing to do with the previous three, however a new character - in the form of an alchemist with a secret - has been introduced, and a likely new plot could unfold as the book does end with a cliffhanger.

Previous reviews have slated this book as being 'confusing' and 'pointless', I would strongly disagree, I may be wrong but this book seems a very likely 'starting point' for the next novel, if indeed there ever will be another. I myself very much enjoyed Pullman's His Dark Materials set, and I hope this review aids anyone in the choice of buying, and I shall be eagerly anticipating the film-adaptation next year. Thank you.
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on 5 November 2003
Oh, how is it possible to be so pleased and yet so dissappointed in a book? Readers left wanting more after His Dark Materials will find that there is not much more on offer, as the major content of Lyra's Oxford is a short (note that word - the entire book is only 50 pages long), intriguing story set 2 years after the end of the trilogy. But what a beautiful book: it's binding and presentation make it a item to treasure and Pullman's way of dropping significant, and often seemingly unrelated pieces of information in front of the readers' eyes allows you to walk away with thoughts, possibilities and perhaps's developing in your own mind. A tonic to the imagination and a perhaps an appertiser for the promised Book of Dust?
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on 5 November 2003
With the earlier publication of The Amber Spyglass, it seemed that Philip Pullman had finished his involvement with Lyra and the other characters of His Dark Materials. Thankfully, Lyra's Oxford shows that is not the case, and far from being just a tacked-on addition to that series, it's a full story in it's own right and also possibly a tantalising teaser for The Book of Dust, whenever it finally arrives.
The story within the book ('Lyra And The Birds') is an interesting tale of itself, excitingly detailing Lyra and Pantalaimon's dangerous trip across Oxford to help a witch's daemon. It's similar to the early chapters of Northern Lights, with Lyra front and centre, surrounded by fascinated descriptions of Pullman's strange alternate Oxford.
However, it's the other ephemera that really make the book a must-read and turn it from being just a story into a true mystery. Children and adults alike will have lots of fun looking over the map and the other items, looking for little clues that cast new light on both the story and His Dark Materials, making this book into a bridge between His Dark Materials and The Book Of Dust.
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on 11 June 2006
i got this book after reading the dark materials trilogy. i decided to look at some of the reviews people had wrote about it on here and all i can say is that i disagree with quite a few. i enjoyed this book and thought that it was a great little short read which i can see myself picking up and reading again and again. yes the book is short but that only adds to its appeal as a book you can take anywhere and ease boredom. the fold out map and other little pieces in the book were interesting and fun to look at. all in all this is a nice little book to read but dont buy it if you are after a book that you can sit and read for hours or days.
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on 19 December 2003
I feel you must take care when deciding to purchase this book. Having been totally absorbed by the trilogy, I was very eager to read Lyra's Oxford, but, after completing the book, in less than half an hour, I was left feeling that Lyra's Oxford's main success was in making money. The introduction promised so much, however, the plot and development of Lyra as a character that we all believed in, was sadly lacking in this book. Do not expect to be enveloped by her Oxford, with writing that inspires your imagination, on this occasion they are just not there. So take care, if you want to keep your memories of Lyra and Will untarnished, I would perhaps give this episode a miss.
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VINE VOICEon 15 March 2004
That is all Lyra's Oxford is, really: a taster for Pullman's next forage into the world (or rather 'worlds' - Ha!) of His Dark Materials. It raises more questions than it answers and is only a very short chapter.
After the dizzying excitement of the climax of His Dark Materials, it is difficult not to be disappointed with the shortness of this little book. At the same time, however, the delightfully ambiguous foreword and the lovely extras (a postcard from Mary Malone, a map of Lyra's Oxford and a leaflet detailing a cruise to the Lavant) have the usual Pullman attention to detail.
And, as the foreword says, who knows what little seemingly insignificant details could, at some later date become suddenly very relevant? This, and the way the story ends, do make me want to read the story again and absorb every little detail. It is by Philip Pullman after all.
So, basically, it made me want more, but did more to increase my thirst than quench it.
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on 4 August 2008
If you have read "His Dark Materials Trilogy" and enjoyed them you might be asking yourself the very question my title asks; where are they now?
Well... If you take a chance to read this book you will get some idea.
Here we look in on Lyra about two years after the end of the book "The Amber Spyglass".
Some people might describe this as a cheap money making ploy, but I think true fans (like myself) that were left at the end of the last book sobbing into their tissues, would enjoy this.
Yes, it might be a bit pricely, let us not forget that this short story is about the same length as a long chapter. But, we get the cool map and other paraphernalia that have fallen out between worlds into ours.

If the trilogy was nothing more than a story to you, you probably won't be all that excited about this, nor will you be very happy at paying a regular book price for a chapter long story. But, if it was more; if you fell in love with Lyra and Pan and all her friends then you should check this book out as it gives you that little bit more of a connection to that world and its magic.
It shows you that even though the trilogy is finished and all's right with the world(s), Lyra may be dealing with the aftermath for years to come!
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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 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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