Friday, March 24, 2017

[Book Review] The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman


The Subtle Knife is the second installment of the His Dark Materials series written by Philip Pullman. His Dark Materials is a fantasy series which follows our main character Lyra Belacqua, a feisty little girl who starts her story with trying to save her friend from this evil group and ending up on a much bigger adventure. Because The Subtle Knife is a sequel I won't get into too many specifics of the events that happen in this book but know that I definitely think it's worth picking up.

The first book, The Golden Compass, was a five star book for me and I was completely blown away by it. However, I definitely think that The Subtle Knife wasn't as good. I am not sure if it's because I didn't listen to the audiobook or because the book was smaller with less things going on. Or if the book just suffers from the infamous "second book syndrome" where second books in series don't live up to the hype surrounding the first ones. The first book had so much going on and so much buildup that by the end I felt like I had gone on this epic journey. The second had me feeling "is that it?"

For me, the story seemed so short. I know the book is about 300 pages, which isn't bad, but the first book felt so much longer. In reality, the books only had about 70 pages difference, but the amount of stuff that is jam packed into the first book made it seem so much longer, in the best way possible. Maybe that is because I listened to it on the audiobook, I am not sure, but when I read the second one I felt like I was missing the other half of the story, even if I know there is a third book.

Like last time, I absolutely loved Lyra. Her determination and her bravery is something I admire but I also love the idea of younger readers looking up to her. I would have absolutely loved her if I read this book a kid, she would have been up there with Hermione for me. However, I wasn't sold on Will as a character. I was definitely interested in his part to play in the story but I didn't really connect with him as a character. I think not connecting in general is a problem I have as a whole with this book. I didn't feel as edge of my seat invested as I was with The Golden Compass, which definitely was a let down because I loved how invested I was with the first book. There were chapters that I found myself skimming because I wasn't as interested, and other times where it picked up, but not to the extent as book one.

The writing, as it was in the first one, was amazing. I think Pullman is such a masterful story teller and I love this story so much. I plan on picking up The Amber Spyglass in the next month after I get through some of the books I have lined up to read and review currently. I recommend this series to anyone who wants a great fantastical read. I am hoping The Amber Spyglass gets me back in love with the story as I was with The Golden Compass. I am both excited and a little terrified that it's the last book in the trilogy.

Thanks for reading!

Have you read this series? Do you agree that This Subtle Knife is not as wonderful as The Golden Compass or did I have a totally different experience?


  1. I never even knew that there was a series to the Golden Compass! SO out of the loop! haha

    1. It's so good so far!! I think you'd like it!