21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
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?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
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!
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
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.
40 of 44 people found the following review helpful
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.
25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
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.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 January 2004
I borrowed this book to read from a friend and I am so glad I didn't buy it.
I really loved the His Dark Materials Trilogy and I thought this book was at least going to continue the story a little. What it actually has is a VERY short story about Lyra that just tells you some more details on what you already know happened to Lyra. And there's nothing about Will!
The book is WAY too expensive as well. This book is only for serious His Dark Material fans, who like lots of picky bits of background information on the story.
It gets three stars because I liked His Dark Materials and some of the extra bits inside were alright and the story did tell you SOME stuff that you didn't know before
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 15 November 2006
This book is an absolute must for any fan of the His Dark Materials Trilogy. The postcard that has images of known places from the book will delight the reader, as will the map of Oxford. The story itself is beautiful - tantalising and as magical as we have come to expect from Phillip Pullman, with all the depth and potential meaning of a fully fledged novel. Above all, it was a joy to rejoin my friends Lyra and Pantalaimon for their adventure, however small - the size of the story actually accentuates the precious nature of the narrative to me. The perfect small but meaningful gift or stocking filler.
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
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.