8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Classic children's fantasy,
This review is from: His Dark Materials Slipcase (Paperback)
I read these books several years ago, when I was perhaps still young enough to be called a child and I found them enthralling. I would say that the basic test for children's fantasy is whether the Author manages to paint a world that you can actually lose yourself in and I think Pullman rivals C.S Lewis in this regard. The first book is admittedly the most enjoyable I think simply because it's the one in which we are introduced to the parallel universe which Lyra inhabits. However they're all well written, and the others are no less imaginative.
Some people are put off by Pullman's clear atheism. The books see Lyra battling against first the Magisterium (which seems suspiciously like the catholic church) and the series climaxes with an all out war against God. However I don't think that the clear Christian theme of C.S Lewis' work has detracted from any childs enjoyment of the Narnia series and I don't see why Pullman's atheism should from this. Furthermore what comes through above anything else is the value of freedom of thought and compassion and I don't think those are values anyone could complain about teaching to kids. The book also addresses themes which some might consider 'adult', theres a fair old sprinkling of death and a couple of gay angels for instance, but I've never seen the value of closeting children away from that kind of stuff anyway. All in all a worthy gift for children, young adults and adults alike.