The Book of Dust ★★★☆☆

The Book of Dust (La Belle Sauvage: Volume 1) ★★★☆☆
Philip Pullman

Genre(s) | Fantasy, Young Adult
Goodreads Rating | 4.34
Humpo Show Rating | 3.4
Published: 2017
Publisher: Penguin Random House

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them, a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua. He is thrust into the position of protector for Lyra following a biblical flood. Accompanied by headstrong Alice, they both do their best to protect her from the all-powerful Magesterium- who see her as dangerous and important- to navigate the flood and deliver Lyra to her father in London. Continue reading

The Ruby in the Smoke

The Ruby in the Smoke Book Review
Phillip Pullman
4 / 5

Genre | Young Adult Mystery
Published: 1985
Goodreads | 3.8 

This was a book I read when I was 12 or 13 and it was a book I remember enjoying immensely, yet I haven’t reread it…until now.

This Young-Adult mystery is centred around the suspicious death of Sally Lockhart’s father in the South China Sea which has left her a teenage orphan alone in the smoky fog of Victorian London. Her father’s death and dying note to her triggers a series of events that place her in terrible danger. The danger and mystery deepen, and at the heart of this fascinating tale lies the deadly secret of the ruby in the smoke..

The mystery begins when Sally endeavours to uncover the significance of her father’s last warning to her – ‘Beware the Seven Blessing.’ She intends to pursue this lead and find out the identity of his killer and bring the villain to justice. Shortly after her arrival at her father’s trading office, she becomes embroiled in another murder, the vagaries of the opium trade, and the mystery of the disappearance of the fabled Ruby of Agrapur. During her adventures in London, she encounters a few associates who become true friends, including a young errand boy named Jim, an amiable photographer by the name of Frederick Garland and his friendly actress of a sister Rosa. Before the game is played out, she will need her new-found friends in her race against the clock to make sense of her convoluted past and discover just who is behind the strange web of betrayal and deceit that has taken over her life.  Continue reading

Subtle Knife Is A Cut Above The Rest

The Subtle Knife Review

4.5 / 5

Subtle Knife is a sharp, exhilarating and a thoroughly gripping adventure novel.

This novel has plenty of cutting edge, with stimulating robberies, fights and chases that all contribute to an incredible adventure fantasy novel that is in the higher realms of the genre. You could say it is a cut above the rest. The novel deals with the objection to a higher authority that has ruled worlds without challenge or question until Lord Asriel’s controversial actions at the end of Northern Lights that reverberated in many worlds, his rebellion against The Authority is a belief shared by many and his actions are on point. The sharpness of this novel is evident in the rotation of perspectives to keep the reader on the edge of their seat by throwing up chapter cliffhangers and diving into another character’s own problems or plans. The cut-throat nature of no characters being safe or certain of being a hero in the finale of Amber Spyglass also adds a sense that this novel is determined to be hard-fought, thrilling and an incredible journey for everyone concerned. I’ll take a stab and say you’re already sick of the knife puns? I’ll stop now, just please don’t leave any cutting remarks in the comment section…

Subtle Knife

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Northern Lights Review

Northern Lights

4.25 / 5

Imaginative, tantalising and spell-binding.

We delve into Pullman’s fantastical world of armoured bears, witches, dæmons and Dust, through Lyra’s incredible journey that could change the world as they know it.    

In a universe parallel to our own, the Magisterium/Church dominates this world as a theocratic international organisation, suppressing any heretical views that deviate from those preached by the Church. In this world, humans have dæmons, which is where a human’s soul naturally exists; dæmons are animals that have the ability to instantaneously change their appearance into another animal. However, after reaching puberty, a human’s dæmon settles permanently into one animal form. Dæmons constantly accompany, help and comfort their human and they are unable to be too far apart from each other.

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