Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Much better than 'Lyra's Oxford'
on 2 November 2016
Much better than 'Lyra's Oxford', this little book is actually a full story (a kind of short prequel story about how Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnison met) and can stand up on its own two feet and not feel like a waste of money. It's longer, fleshed-out and well written, and felt much more like a return to the world I have missed so much. Now reading with adult eyes and knowledge, I also noticed more things that connected Lyra and Lee's world with ours, especially in terms of industrialisation and technology, and this story with its much more frank look at the world made me wonder how different this world really is, apart from where it's slightly diverged because of the existence of Daemons. 'Once Upon a Time in the North' has a much less fantasy feel to it than the original series, with more focus on community politics, industrial developments, and good old-fashioned gunfights. Lee's a wonderful character and I'm pleased to have got to know him a little better, but I did want to see more of Iorek, and learn more about his past and see something of him develop. The reason this dropped a star, for me, was down to this-- both Iorek and Lee, while over twenty years younger than we see them in His Dark Materials, seem very much the same. Neither of them felt as young as they're stated to be, and I'd have preferred to have seen differences in them and grow an understanding of how they came to be the people they did when they're older. The writing style was typical of this series, concise but ever so visual, with that nice touch of the old-fashioned. The linked documents and game at the end also actually linked to the story and made more sense to include than those that were included with 'Lyra's Oxford'. So overall, I recommend this one way more than 'Lyra's Oxford', as at least it's a satisfying read in and of itself.