I found that listening to this book was very difficult to endure. If I started reading this, I doubt I would have finished. Xenocide was not very good, but this final chapter is even worse.
All the building blocks of a good novel: character development, plot twists, likeable protagonists, connected storylines all went by the wayside. Instead, this novel was a 12 hour tale of ... nothing happening. A love story with no love, a plot based on character relationships that made no sense (you wonder.. how did these characters even fall in love?), and an ending that held no surprises.
There is absolutely NO action in this novel and the theories on life and the universe postulated by the author are just plain weird even for science fiction. By the way, this barely passes for science fiction because it plays like 3 very long soap-opera-like discussions that never seem to end.
Anyway, Speaker for the dead was a good novel, but after that.. forget it.. the character development (or lack of) is what really got to me. These characters are NOT likeable, and I did not care one iota about them.
I was one of those that gave up on WoT after trying to read Crossroads. I never finished. Several years later, and I gave WoT another chance. I bought every RJ audiobook and listened to the over again. I have to admit, Crossroads made more sense, even though not a whole lot still happened. It is indeed a book that's purpose is simply to build up the rest of the overall story. That is probably the biggest problem with the book - it is SUPPOSE to create more questions and answer none. But being able to continue on to Knife of Dreams immediately after finishing Crossroads, I gained a deeper understanding for the purpose of the book. I still think its the worst of the series, but I think most people were so horrified with the book that when it ended, there was great disappointment. KoD and Crossroads should have been a single book, but if you read the series over again, I don't think you'll find Crossroads so bad.
For the first quarter or the book, I had a sick feeling in my stomach - nothing seemed to be happening, I was losing interest. I realize that some of what was happening now was build-up for the rest of the book, but much of it still seemed overstated and contrived. (e.g. Aviendha's rise to wise one, Ituralde's part, and of course anything to do with Cadsuane - ok maybe thats too harsh but who likes Cadsuane???)
But, then the book rapidly began "happening". From Egwene's fight to survive, to Mat's battles with the pattern, and Rand's struggle to hold onto sanity, it was certainly a ride to the end. The sheer amount of action and events that were initiated AND resolved is certainly much more than any other RJ book in a long while. Though I still think RJ is the better writer (believe it or not, I am one of the few who like how he describes every detail of the world he creates), BS is obviously a passionate and deserving author to finish this series. Highly recommended, as long as you are patient at the start.
This is a review for the 3 book series as a whole not just the golden compass. I would give the golden compass 3 stars, the subtle knife 2 stars, and the amber spyglass 1 star.
The book starts off well with many imaginative and fresh ideas. However, pullman has problems developing characters. This is a huge issue, because the characters are dull, not likeable OR unlikeable, and underdeveloped. I felt like everyone was a stranger to everyone no matter if they were friend or enemy. I neither cared for nor hated any character in any of the 3 books. Sorry if you can't make likeable heroes or dispicable villains your book fails. Not recommended.
A simple story, but sometimes its enjoyable reading about the simple elements that make stories great. Definitely focussed to younger audiences, but still has some fun to it.
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