This is a review of the entire Dark Materials story. The first book, The Golden Compass, is actually pretty good. But since the plot doesn't wrap up at the end, readers have to continue into books 2 and 3, which are really awful. The stories are dull - instead of the mighty armored bears, mercenary aeronauts and fiery gypsies of the first, we get disenchanted scientists and angry orphans. The characters are weak, and their long-winded development typically has nothing to do with the main plot. The philosophical allegory drifts into a disjointed set of uninformed ramblings. Characters behave in contradictory ways, abandoning their nature as needed to serve the plot. In one case, an armored bear (characterized earlier as a proud, insurmountable warrior) surrenders without a fight to a boy with a knife.
Good writing feels like a glimpse into real, living world. "His Dark Materials" feels more like a puppet show, where characters are jiggled around to dish up a story.
The creativity waned, the characters inconsistent, their motives and actions don't hold water.
All in all, I was disappointed. The first book was pretty good and this one just didn't deliver to its standards.
I still went on to listen to the third book, which was even more of a let down. It's hard not to recommend the 2nd and 3rd installments when the 1st book was so good, so I'll leave it up to you. For me, I am about 50/50 on whether or not I wish I had finished the series.
I love the narrators on this book, they are doing a splendid job making this text come alive, I feel like on a theater, but with my eyes closed.
I do however find it very hard to hear what is being said when the background music is on.
In this book the music seemed to go on forever. I'd wish that the music would be before or after the narrators acting so I could relax and listen. Right now I have to really sit and concentrate on the voices to hear the story and that is to bad.
Cut away the music and it would be 5 stars.
Beautifully written, beautifully performed. While I would classify this series as 'young adult' instead of 'children' because of the violence and complicated plot and themes, I still recommend it highly. A warning... have tissues ready! There's a particularly heart-wrenching scene in this book.
This one not as good as the first but still great! Its always takes the middle book to pull things together for the ending. Still not a children's book, and yes, the author does have an agenda, about/against God, but that is okay, its his book and he can write what he wants. All said, its a book, read it, enjoy it for the story, which is simply wonderful. Parallel worlds! I hope! I will be looking for that little window.
All though this is the low point in "His Dark Materials" the three books togeather are a "6" out of 5. listen to it or read it ITS GREAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!
What a relief to be able to *read* a story that appeals to us athiests. Not only is this a wonderful series with amazing characters, and a fascinating new approach to childrens lit, it's not bogged down with the same ol' C.S. Lewis style religious drivel. I didn't feel the creepy sticky undertones of christianity trying to reach out from between the words and snatch me up. Instead it is blatantly obvious and a very nice change.
Plus the narrating team is amazing!!! Really, a good time for all.
And if the kids can't handle their faith being challanged a bit, then how can a parent feel safe even letting them leave the house.