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3 of 3 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

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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Response to criticism, 17 Nov 2000
By A Customer
I won't just repeat what everyone else has said, although I'm glad to agree that the Amber Spyglass is the greatest book I've ever had the pleasure of reading. While doing so, I often had to pause and close my eyes to let the full genius of a specific moment sink in, or just to appreciate the awe-inspiring skill with which the story is assembled.
The point of this review, though, is to answer some of the criticisms I've read among the other reviews, namely from Christians accusing it of being a rally against Christianity. None of use are in the position to say whether or not it is meant to be such, but if you find yourself outraged while or after reading this book, try to think of it just as a story. Failing that, consider whether the God and heaven described in the book are anything like those in which you believe, and then just enjoy the book as the master work that it is.
I am not personally a Christian, but I fear that some people who are might miss the grace and beauty of this book, in which case it's not worth starting to read it, since you may just feel anger against it, instead of the joy and awe it clearly inspires in the rest of us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars vast ideas and an emotive personal story, 13 Aug 2003
By A Customer
This book, quite simply, challenges all ideas of love, hatred, and religion. It forces the young reader to rethink the most controversial and important issues in society - what happens after we die? do we have a soul? are there 'other worlds' than the one in which we live? The reader is presented with new ideas and concepts which will not be easily forgotten.
This background of such vast ideas is told behind a story of two children. The reader sees Lyra and Will grow up, find themselves and find love, only to have it torn away. The final chapters of their story are written with absolutely heart-rending emotion. I find it one of the most emotive, and true, pieces of prose available to children today.
'The Amber Spyglass' is a beautiful, thought-provoking, brilliantly well-written book. Although the book deals with immense ideas and presents radical concepts to the reader, it remains accessible to the younger reader through the personal accounts of Will and Lyra.
I am a great admirer of Philip Pullman's work, and I count 'The Amber Spyglass' as a phenomenal conclusion to the best trilogy he has thus produced - 'His Dark Materials'.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 3rd vol of the best trilogy ever written - Outstanding!, 11 Jan 2001
By A Customer
It somehow doesn't seem fair for a writer to publish a masterpiece like this trilogy in three parts - I was hooked from the first page of Northern Lights. Luckily, I discovered it only a year ago, so I could read The Subtle Knife without waiting. But the wait for the third volume seemed so, so long. It was worth it - Mr Pullman doesn't put a foot wrong through the three books. If this doesn't go into the annals of history marked as a masterpiece, then there's something very, very wrong. It's rich, rewarding, complex, subtle, revealing, enlightening and challenging all at once, and oh, it's so full of hope! Philip Pullman draws his characters with precision and manages to make them completely remarkable without producing caracatures. Every one of them is completely believable, and he also manages to make the impossible completely plausible. Lose yourself between the worlds that he has created, love and hate the characters that he has conjured up. It's a rich and heady mixture that is enchanting. It says a great deal of his books that my 10 year old son and I have read them with equal enjoyment. Mr Pullman, I salute you and thank you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnificent, 22 Oct 2000
By A Customer
It's been a long wait for The Amber Spyglass, but it has been so worth it... It's the sort of book that when you're halfway through you begin to resent yourself and the author because while you know you'll read it again many times, it will never again feel quite how it feels to read it for the first time. What a marvellous end to the trilogy. Inspiring and heartbreaking and quite simply magical, with images and scenes that will live with you forever. The storytelling is precise, the characterisations complex and deeply satisfying, and the scope and clarity of the plot are breathtaking. His Dark Materials is going to be read by children and parents (and everyone else!) for generations to come for its intellectual power and awesome imagination. It ties quantum mechanics to high theology; it provides the reader with visions of the alien alongside the familiar personality types and more than anything it celebrates a sense of adventure. The only recent book that attempts and achieves something similar to this is The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell. It sounds like an exaggeration, (but I don't think it is) - this series will become a valuable part of our culture in this new century and The Amber Spyglass is a thing to treasure. You won't forget how it makes you feel. Nor will you want to.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Touching End to a Wonderful Series, 9 Oct 2004
This book captivated me and kept me guessing the whole way through. The series (not excluding this book) encompasses a lot of different lierary elements-- philosophy, religion, and human nature all play key roles in unraveling the true meaning of the masterful web of emotions and impulses Pullman weaves for readers. You will constantly stop and think about how much and how differnent the author's own view of civilization compares to his or her own. Watching the characters grow and mature through the first two books comes to a seemingly wonderful climax at the end, only to tear out the heart of the reader in the finish. Concluding this this self-testing series is a heartwrenching event that comes like a blow to the stomach to anyone with even a minute amount of empathy (don't be ashamed to cry your eyes out as I did). This book will come to enlighten anyone wavering on what they belive and how the world works (or should work depending on your standing) and what the meaning of true love is-- not what you do with a lover, but what you sacrafice for one. Turly a must-read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful book, sensitively 'adapted', 21 Oct 2008
By 
Mr. I. M. Davis (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The gut-wrenchlingly beautiful, exciting, vividly epic finale to the trilogy 'His Dark Materials', this is the most complicated book to cope with in terms with its philosophical/fantastical logic, but it does indeed draw together the threads of the previous books and answer their mysteries in a way that is satisfying, emotionally and intellectually. Whether you view this purely as fantasy or take on board Pullman's atheist views as well as his anti-religious ones, this audiobook works incredibly well. There are just enough recurring character voices to avoid monotony but not so many as to confuse, although this is as much to do with the technique of the book as the audioplay's 'adaptation'. The result allows the story to build to climax, and the aftermath of the action play with just as much intensity. One loses little of the book's meaning and so I heartily recommend this as a substitute or refresher, even with the minor complaints that character voices are occasionally muffled and the (thankfully rare) music links utterly ruinous to the atmosphere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great dramatisation, 21 Oct 2002
By 
kathryn "Kate" (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
IT's always nice to hear a writer reading his own work, but here there is the added bonus that PP is a great reader, and has a very listenable speaking-voice. The actors chosen for the characters are, on the whole, very fitting (I especially like Iorek) and the music isn't actually incomprahensibly bad like in The Subtle Knife, and there isn't so much of it. IT's quite disctracting when Archers characters keep popping up, but we can't have everything.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Book of the millenium, 10 Nov 2000
By A Customer
When reading the 1st 2 books of this trilogy i thought i would never read a better book in my entire life- that they could not be improved on in any way- but Phillip Pullman has just performed a miracle. This book is the most heart-wrenching, soul crushing book i have ever read and ever will read without a shadow of doubt. I experienced feelings so intense i never thought them possible- i had never imagined a love so passionate and all engulfing could possibly exist- its beyond anyones imagination and probably even pullmans before he wrote it. I would just like to say that whatever Phillip Pullman does with the rest of his life he should know that his life has definitely not been in vain- he has changed the life of many many people in this world- not least of all me. Since finishing this book i have become a much happier fulfilled person- although i was depressed and cried alot for a few days afterwards- the ending is so sad you can't imagine it until you have read it. It leaves you drained and all you can think is WHY? Why does life have to be so cruel- can life be so cruel? Can anyone love with that much might? Is it possible? Mind you the ending is totally different to what i expected. I don't think anyone could percieve it.If you have not read this book you are missing out on the book of your lifetime and the reading experience of a lifetime. It beats every book i have read, and thta includes Lord of the Rings and War and Peace, all the classics, not a patch on this. This comment does it no justice at all, its a masterpiece. All i can say is read it. The only flaw is any other book i ever read will seem like nothing in comparison, never will anything as good be written ever again. Its not possible. This book will still be the best book in history when the universe ends, and Phillip Pullmans name will go down in history as the greatest writer of all time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books i have ever read, 12 May 2005
By A Customer
I really can't recommend this book, and the rest of the trilogy, highly enough. Its an absolutely immense work of literary genius, and deserves all the awards it won. The story is thrilling, the characters are developed amazingly well, and the story is underlined by a deep philosophical commentary.
The fact that it criticises christianity, is probably the reason it wasn't more highly acclaimed. Looking at some other reviews, you can see some superstitious religious types are quite offended. I suppose the answer is, if offends you its probably not a good idea to read it. I certainly try and avoid reading material that equates aetheists to satanism etc, and theres a fair bit of it around.
anyway, for those who are prepared to ignore the philosophy, there is a thoroughly gripping and touching story that everyone can appreciate. The ending is truely touching, and caps off an amazing trilogy.
I would recommend this to anyone, with the exception of the easily offended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 19 Feb 2001
By A Customer
I finished this book less than 24 hours ago and I'm just wandering around in a daze. The pace and action leave you breathless and I fell in love with the characters so much that I was regularly frightened to turn the page for fear of what might happen to them. This is a tale in the grand tradition of cosmic good and evil but sufficiently ambiguous as to leave you wondering where you actually stand in the real world.
I am now seriously depressed because it feels that, in Will and Lyra, I have lost friends as I closed the book at the end. I toyed with the idea of starting Northern Lights again but opted for buying The Ruby in the Smoke - if Philip Pullman can write a trilogy like this I'm sure all his books are going to be wonderful.
This falls into the category of'young persons' book, but believe me, it's for everyone. If you don't like it you have my greatest sympathy for having been unable to enjoy one of the best books of the last century!
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The Amber Spyglass (BBC MP3 CD Audio)
The Amber Spyglass (BBC MP3 CD Audio) by Philip Pullman (Audio CD - 4 Nov 2003)
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