The Amber Spyglass
5 / 5
Important, courageous and heart-wrenchingly brilliant.
Pullman’s Dark Materials trilogy ends with the sensationally imaginative Amber Spyglass, which has expertly managed to blend together adventure, captivating characters and a fearless quest to answer the biggest of questions. He executes his daring enterprise through skilfully sifting through the myriad of religion, myth and physics that builds to an intense climax that undoubtedly places Pullman’s Dark Materials as one of the most important books of our time.
Northern Lights provides the spell-binding introduction into Lyra’s world and her adventures that take her from Jordan College to the North, where she gets entangled with the chilling events at Bolvangar, the intense battle of the armoured bears and the pivotal moment engineered by Lord Asriel. The Subtle Knife brings in a plethora of new characters as well as immortalising those that appeared in Northern Lights. The multi-world universe and the battle against The Authority is pushed firmly in the spotlight of this novel as Lyra and Will further get involved in the prophecies surrounding themselves and the issue of Dust.
The Amber Spyglass is an extraordinary multi-layered masterpiece that is storytelling at its courageous and dangerous best. Pullman has created not only brilliant and loveable main characters but also supporting characters that also receive those same affections as the central heroes of the novel. Another component that adds to the creation of this great novel is the abundance of magnificent parallel worlds that offer different challenges and wonders to the characters. No other chapters encapsulate this more than the chapters on the world of the dead, where a kaleidoscope of emotions, knowledge and discovery is displayed. The world Mary Malone enters is utterly wondrous and as important to any other world entered by anybody in all three books. The world she has entered is beautiful and fascinating to Mary, as are the inhabitants, who are aware of the great changes and upheaval that are occurring to their world and others which concern the issue of Dust. Lord Asriel’s actions at the end of Northern Lights were because of his own aims to destroy The Authority himself, and by The Amber Spyglass he has managed to amass a colossal army with beings from many other worlds including rebelling Angels. Like most fantasy novelists like Lewis and Tolkien, Pullman also includes a huge battle between opposing sides, though this is demoted to a subplot in comparison to Lyra and Will’s storyline.
The last third of the book I read ferociously and as I ate up the pages and devoured the contents of it all, and once I had digested this great story I knew this book would become one I would treasure as if it was my very own daemon. Any writer that creates such absorbing characters, terrific adventures and inventive landscapes has no doubt created a good book, but a writer that infuses it with joyous love, heart-wrenching sacrifices and a breathtaking finale is a master of their craft. Pullman has managed to courageously create a masterpiece based on something that is described as; controversial, good and bad all at the same time, in order to produce a thrilling tale which has transgressed worlds, faith and science. He has achieved this brilliant feat through many adventures that Lyra and Will have been involved in that bring them closer and closer to fulfilling the prophecies concerning them both. Lyra and Will’s involvement is exhilarating and suspenseful when they both are confronting their next challenge but they are also present for some moments that cause the readers’ heart to ache. These moments are the crowning achievement for Pullman as this reinforces his ability to not only create a sensational story but also a strong affection between reader and characters, which essentially is what storytelling is all about.
Pullman’s Dark Materials is a book series that is unlike any other, it is an important must-read for children and adults, and The Amber Spyglass is one of the best books I have ever read and I would urge everyone to pick it up at least once in their life. The Amber Spyglass is an absolutely fearless book that has tackled an age-old tale and shone a new light on the subject in dazzling fashion too bright to ignore.