2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So ambitious
In the final volume of his excellent "His Dark Materials" trilogy Pullman's narrative opens on to sweeping vistas of his imagination which dwarf all that went before. This is both the main strength and the principal weakness of "The Amber Spyglass". Whereas the previous books were tightly controlled and focused with many unanswered questions this book, in attempting to...
Published on 23 Jan 2003 by Tom
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A competent end to a wonderful story.
I enjoyed 'The Amber Spyglass', having come to love the story, the characters and the author's audacious imagination over the previous two volumes, but for me it's the weakest of the trilogy. I think Pullman has tried to take the story to another level with a broader canvas and deeper scientific and theological implications, but at times it ends up feeling diffuse rather...
Published on 5 Aug 2002 by drjohndee
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9 of 35 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Silly,
This is a book which calls into question the value of the Whitbread awards (Book of the Year) and I'm perplexed by the number of five star reviews for this rambling piece.
It's too lofty. After all Lord of the Rings has been done. It's too wordy. Dickens got there first and did it well. It uses big words to no good effect. The rambling plot with ridiculous 'science' in it would annoy all but the most illiterate. There are too many mistakes. For example, a dragon fly on the wing in freezing temperatures with a little man on its back. The little man is carrying telecommunications equipment...
The prose is clumsy and belies the acclaim given it in the blurb. I reckon the comments amount to misleading advertising. Poetic? Have you seen any other novelist put a character’s attributes in brackets! Where the writing is not flowery it’s plodding or ugly.
The reader cannot connect emotionally with any character. We find the inhabitants of the book positioned in elaborately described scenes like insignificant cardboard cut-outs and don’t they do the silliest things? Pullman’s characters are more real than those in Harry Potter but it’s marginal. Woe betide any author who sinks to that level of character abuse. The sympathy for Lyra built in the first two books is lost as she drowns in excessive detail and a cast of thousands. I'm the most fastidious of readers but I'm having to skip whole sections of this boring and pretentious book. I did have an interest in philosophy until I started The Amber Spyglass - now I don't care why we're here.
Still all those five star reviews… and they’re so wordy…reminds me of…Oh Mr Pullman, really!
16 of 60 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible,
By A Customer
This book was a bewildering and confused muddle, pervaded by toxic intent. Northern Lights was good, the Subtle Knife lacked the appeal of the original, but was O.K. The Amber Spyglass was abysmal. Instead of ending decisively it simply fizzled out with no climax. Its concept shows an arrogant and loathesome attack on the fundamental sublime themes of Christianity, whilst promoting especially bizarre and prescriptive ideals of his own invention. If Pullman's doctrine was put in a philosophy book, you would laugh and move onto the next chapter, but the insidious thing is that there must be some suspension of disbelief for fantasy. Pullman attacks the church for being arrogant and closed-minded and shows himself to be just that. His view is that God, the Creator, is NOT the Creator, but a fraud! Wow, what a riot! So Pullman says that angels DO exist! As if that were more plausible than God. He says that God is simply an angel who grew weaker over time, gave what remained of his strength to Metatron to become nothing! Pullman says that everything is comprised merely of spooky dust, and that when we die, we have to go to the Ancient Greek pagan underworld (Asphodel/Tartarus only) and have to tell some harpies(!) a story so we can fall to dust forever and trickle into the abyss to become nothing whatever! Pullman is promoting a narcissistic and
nihilistic view to life. Also, the plot is rubbish. Not a thing comes together. What happened to Scoresby's vengeance on the shaman? And that is the least point. Where is Will's mother. And the Mrs Coulter thread has the plot consistency of an episode of the Simpsons. The zombies have just vanished and the Spectres reverted to their original position for no reason at all. What happened to the idea of parallel universes. Pullman forgets this when he reaches the underworld. His views are sort of like a weird muddle of plain secularism and the bad parts of Ancient Greek mythology. It was also very boring. Don't read it if you don't like feeling nauseated. The twist at the end (if you can call it a twist) is puppy love! Pullman asserted once on the radio "There ain't no God..." This arrogance is very obvious throughout The Amber Spyglass! I only wish that I good give it no stars at all! Or minus infinity stars! Get this, the War in Heaven turns out to be a cat fight between Metatron, Lord Azriel and Mrs Coulter! Pullman's views are just a joke and his attack on the Church bewildering and cowardly. They were not going to kill him for it, so he babbles the most horrendous things about them. His attacks on Lewis were absurd too. Nothing, but a load of dirt words and drivel. Talking of which, how will Pullman be viewed in fifty years?
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars book,
part of a set, I couldnt get in to it by hubby said it was brilliant.
7 of 41 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not a Good Book,
By A Customer
I enjoyed the first book in the "His Dark Materials" trilogy, but the trilogy went downhill from there.
By the end of this book, I was really tired of Philip Pullman speaking so strongly against God; it became more and more blatant as the trilogy progressed. He used his books to proclaim a view that I (and others) very strongly disagree with. This last book was the worst of the three. These books could have been very interesting books without the obvious prejudice inserted into the plot.
Aside from this, I didn't see how Lyra symbolized Eve. I thought the ending was sad; I can understand how some would like it, but I personally don't like sad endings at all.
"His Dark Materials" was interesting at first, but by the end, it was just a waste of time to read.
1 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Shocking,
This review is from: The Amber Spyglass: Complete & Unabridged (Cover to Cover): Film Tie-In, Unabridged (Audio CD)
This is a terrible audio book i have ever listened to. Very bad quality
2 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely dissapointing - don't believe the hype,
This review is from: The Amber Spyglass. (His Dark Materials): Adult Edition (Paperback)
My wife bought me the trilogy for Christmas and I was looking forward to reading them. I'm usually a fast reader but it is now the middle of March and I still haven't managed to slog my way to the end. There's a very good concept in these books somewhere but the writing is poorly executed and there nothing in them that grips the reader. In fact, I have found myself in bookshops and on amazon already searching for my next read even though I've still got half the third novel to go. I didn't particularly care for the two main characters, Will and Lyra, finding them dull and hard to sympathise with (especially Lyra) and found the story arc of Mary Malone and the mulefa the most....er....interesting.
I'm an adult and I got bored with them, so I'm amazed that any kids might stick with it.
Be warned - don't believe the hype
6 of 45 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible,
By A Customer
I very much enjoyed reading the first two books although I felt that the author was slightly anti-christian. However, I assumed that since the story is set in an old fashioned-world, he was criticising the Church for past mistakes. I was wrong. In the third book we see how fanatically anti-christian Philip Pullman is. Most disturbingly is that God dies in the book and that the world is apparantly a better place without him. Philip Pullman writes about the devil being good and God being bad. And this is supposed to be a childrens book. One word for this book: Terrible
8 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting,
By A Customer
This review is from: The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials 10th Anniversary Editions) (Hardcover)
There are numerous reviews of this book on Amazon, so although I found it interesting, I would prefer to say a couple of things about an interview I read between a journalist and the author.
Firstly, I want to say how much I agree with Pullman, who, in the interview, said how dangerous America is becoming because of its Religious Right Fundamentalist fantatics. I wholeheartedly agree with this. They are a huge power for evil, particularly as many of their top leaders (eg Pat Robertson) are pals of George Bush.
Most Christian Fundamentalists are gullible and braindead, and will believe practically anything - dreams, visions, prophecies etc, if their leaders just say 'God has revealed such and such a thing to me.' Keep well away from this mob - they are prepared to KILL to Christianise the whole world, as they believe their 'role' is to prepare everyone for Christ's Second Coming. They are dangerous, deluded weirdos.
However, I also object to some of Pullman's own beliefs. He says,
'We shouldn't live as though [heaven] mattered more than life in this world, because where we are is always the most important place.'
He has no right to make this sweeping, generalised statement, which is TOTALLY UNTRUE. For people starving in Africa, or living in war-torn countries or for the numerous sick, lonely or old people all over the world, the most important place is NOT where they are at the moment. How dare he tell, say, a ninety year old woman with Alzheimer's or Parkinson's Disease, incarcerated in a nursing home, doubly incontinent, unable to speak, or to feed or wash or dress herself, that where she is is the most important place to be??
I myself suffer from multiple sclerosis and chronic kidney disease, my husband cheated on me with another woman, my father died last year, my mother is bedridden, (also a victim of MS) and my precious daughter has recently left home for University. I am excrutiatingly lonely; in constant pain, and a totally housebound cripple who hasn't left my home for nearly two years. I am deeply unhappy, and I always will be. So I strongly object to the author's statement that life is so wonderful. Sure, his might be. But mine, and those of millions of suffering people, isn't. And I find Fundamentalist humanists like him to be as bigotted in their idealistic, positive thinking mindset, as are Fundamentalists of the Religious Right in theirs.
Just bear his attitudes in mind when reading this book - ie his CORRECT attitude, that the Religious Right are so dangerous, but also his completely WRONG one that 'where we are is the most important place'. For billions of people the world over, it isn't, and they need for their own sanity, to believe in another.
'Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.'
7 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Anti-Christian,
Pullman has employed his considerable literary talents for an attack on Christianity. Readers who have a personal relationship with God will not have their faith shaken, for who can argue with their experience? Rather than angry, I felt saddened that all the author looks forward to after this life is being dissolved into the ocean of being and losing for ever his personality. Promoting such a dreary prospect is strange, and one wonders why he does it. Contrast this with the hope of future wonder, joy and beauty presented in the Chronicles of Narnia, so detested by Pullman.
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His Dark Materials, Book III: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (Audio CD - 30 Sep 2004)