His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

There’s a couple of big statements I would make about these books.

  1. It’s a better series than Harry potter. Harry Potter is a classic tale of good and evil, of the power of friendship, of resilience and perseverance, of love triumphing over hate, of doing what’s right instead of what’s easy. I love Harry Potter, but these are still better.
  2. It’s one of the great literary tragedies with an ending so unfair you want to scream injustice at the top of your lungs and weep openly on Dublin Bus. Re-reading it opened old wounds I had entirely forgotten. Read The Amber Spyglass and you will be reminded of how art can can affect you.

In anticipation of the long awaited follow up to His Dark Materials I decided to re-read the original trilogy to refresh my memory. They’re even better books than I remember. A sprawling epic with a huge and wonderful cast of characters encompassing all of god’s creatures, and I don’t use that axiom lightly. The central antagonist in Pullman’s trilogy is never one figure, but rather one organistaion, the Catholic Church, renamed for the sake of Pullman’s legal liabilty as the Magisterium. But I don’t think the church or religion in the wider sense is Pullamn’s real targethere. It is zealotry, blind faith to an ideology, an authority figure, even a race of people, anything that would seek to impose its will on others and control them feels the full force of his ire and Pullman’s writin is absolutely superb. Against these forces, the unforgettable Lyra and Will will always earn the reader’s undying support. It’s a series of great intellect and compassion with an ardent message to its readers to cherish our time on this planet and to never deal in hatred or lies.

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You can reserve a copy online at South Dublin Libraries’ catalogue here.

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