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231 Reviews
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars by a mile
I'm normally reluctant to give 5 stars as overusage makes truly classic books difficult to differentiate, particularly when the book is part of an all-too-common trilogy. However I had no qualms about doing it here.
The Subtle Knife develops the main character Lyra from her adventures and early path to maturity in the Northern Lights and introduces her key...
Published on 7 Dec 2005 by I. D. Miller

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars disappointing
I'd read this series as a teenager and loved it. In fact, Subtle Knife was by far my favourite because I adored Will. Having forgotten nearly everything about the stories, I decided to reread it. I've just finished Northern Lights, and it was pretty good, so I was looking forward to the second book, esp as I remember it to be my favourite.

Now, with clearer,...
Published 16 months ago by I. Ng


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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacking, 20 Aug 2010
Just to be clear, I loved the Northern Lights and as soon as I finished it I jumped into The Subtle Knife. It simply wasn't in the same class at all. If you haven't read this book there are a few spoilers ahead. The first book started and finished with Lyra as the main character, and I never warmed to the introduction of Will. He was an altogether more sombre character, less fun, less exciting , less entertaining, just plain less. This book takes a darker turn than NL with the seeming greatest desire of Will to meet his father and then to have ended with a silly death and the sillier line "you wouldn't understand". Indeed I don't. And by the time I had finished reading I was so disappointed, I won't be reading the third in this trilogy. The author didn't seem to know what to do once the knife was found and Lyra and Will were wandering, waiting for the plot to move on. There were a few hints about a war and it was fuzzy what it was about and who it was with. If this had been made clearer it could have carried the story more. All in all, a disappointing sequel. If you are thinking of reading it, don't bother.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay, 27 Oct 2012
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The summary as written on line prepared one for this book. No great surprises. Enjoyable to read if this is your taste in literature
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the subtle knife, 5 Jun 2009
By 
I was very pleased with this, it arrived when expected and was in perfect condition and safely packaged. I have no complaints
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Amazing, 1 Sep 2007
By 
J. Mullin "sunrise" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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If you have read the first book in this series then you MUST read the next and the next ............... fabulous.
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4 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why am I the only person who didn't like this book?, 28 Jun 2000
By A Customer
I loved, loved, loved Northern Lights and bought copies wholesale for all my friends and family of whatever age, but, The Subtle Knife left me completely cold. I didn't relate to the boy and didn't like the mixing up of reality and the world of Northern Lights. in fact, I'm afraid I didn't even finish it.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Rather boring., 9 Dec 2009
By 
People aren't going to like me for not liking this series, but though I normally really love big thick books, this trilogy has more problems than I can list here, the main one being how boring it is, first one is 0k, second one takes forever and a lot of the plot points don't make a great deal of sense when you think about it, why is she explicitly attracted to murderers, for example (that's a little creepy to be honest).

In this book her original friend, who she travelled half way round the world for, is discarded with hardly a thought for her new, and more-or-less identical, companion (I noticed that an awful lot of the characters feel copy-pasted, most of the white bears are paper-thin and all the antagonists seem to run on bile with no convincing motive or personality).

First book is 0k action-wise, but highly prejudiced and ever-ready to caricature, the second and third are the same, but overlong, very slow, and very boring with very little in the way of good action, to the point that I barely finished them, I'm not sure what the hype is about really, controversy couldn't make Dan Brown a good author, but he's still better than Pullman, who seems to hate rather a lot of people in a way I can only describe as xenophobic.
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1 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars What happened?, 27 Feb 2009
By 
S. D. Knight (England) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoyed the first book, but the second is really bad. The introduction of Will takes the attention away from Lyra, a great central character. Put simply, good characters are wasted, a plot is hard to find, and all the good will built up in the first is betrayed in this novel. Which in fact is nothing more than an extended prologue for the third book.
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6 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The worst book I ever nearly read, 29 Dec 2008
You may feel that having not read the whole book I am not in a position to review it - I can appreciate that, but I simply couldn't. I got lost, I got confused, I got frustrated, I gave up. Okay, books have heroes or heroines and, especially in children's books, they are amazing, do remarkable stuff and win, but Lyra just seems to do random stuff that always works. One question you daren't ask is "Why did she do that?" because most often there is no answer, at least not one explored more deeply than simply being inspired or lucky. After a while that just won't do, but it's all you get. Running on from Northern Lights - which did at least have some sort of recognisible plot - it just started badly and headed down hill. Quite, quite awful. I gave it a star as nil won't work, real honesty would have had me well into the negative numbers.
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12 of 57 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars POORLY WRITTEN AND NOT FOR CHILDREN, 6 Sep 2007
By 
Trail Runner (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
Having enjoyed The Golden Compass to the point of calling it the single greatest adventure story I've ever read, I was severely disappointed by The Subtle Knife. While I am from the generation that was supposedly desensitized to violence, I found the depictions of violence and sexual innuendo to be in poor taste and unnecessary to the plot, which was almost nonexistent. This book is completely inappropriate for children (and some squeamish adults) and parents should be aware of the content before handing it to anyone under 17. The richness and wonder of the first novel in the His Dark Materials trilogy was not present here, and even favorite characters became annoying and one-dimensional. The entire book was just poorly written. I found myself reading the plot summary on Wikipedia just so I could avoid wasting any more time reading The Subtle Knife and move on to The Amber Spyglass. At this point, I do not trust Mr. Pullman with his own characters and am hopeful that Book 3 redeems him.
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0 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars maybe this is just for kids..., 21 April 2001
By 
simon gurney (london United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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having read these reviews im astounded that i read the same book. What a dreadful insult to compare this to Tolkein, in no possible way does this have anything to do with those books. Pullmans imagination is forced and illogical, i hadnt read the first book, and so had no idea what was going on, there wasnt one idea here which hadnt been ripped almost entirely from earlier works, the narrative is very confused and badly structured, there are occasional breaks of lucidity and good writing hence the two stars, i almost gave one just for the very wrong comparisons to tolkein. try reading those books before making coparisons with them.
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