The thrilling second book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, read by the author and a full cast.
In this stunning sequel to Northern Lights, the intrepid Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon, Pantalaimon, find themselves in a shimmering, haunted other world – Cittagazze where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky.
Here she meets twelve-year-old Will Parry, a fugitive from a third universe. Will has found a small window between Cittagazze and Oxford that brings him into this strange new realm.
Will's father, an explorer, disappeared years ago, but recently some odd characters have started asking questions about him, and now, having accidentally killed one of them, Will is wanted by the police.
Armed with the subtle knife, a tool that cuts any material (including that which separates universes) and Lyra's alethiometer, the children set out to find John Parry, with adults of various stripes in desperate pursuit.
©1997 Philip Pullman; (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman is a subtle brilliant listen. Lyra meets Will Parry in an alternate Oxford. They join forces together and discover a world where Spectres attack adults and do not bother children. In this world, Will fights to win the subtle knife, a knife capable of cutting through every bond. Will and Lyra then journey together to find Will's father. Once again narrated by Philip Pullman and a brilliant cast of actors, that brings even more life to a great story.
"Great book... but why the changes?"
I've read 'His Dark Materials' trilogy in print and bought the audiobooks so I could listen and knit at the same time. It's great to hear Pullman's narration and the voice actors playing the characters are really good.
Just one complaint: why the Americanisations? Pullman did not write 'sidewalk' and 'traffic circle', he wrote 'pavement' and 'roundabout'. A minor but very annoying point.
Having watched and enjoyed the movie 'The Golden Compass' I heard many friends who had read the original books and expressed how much better they were than the film. I didn't realise how right they were! Fantastically written and brilliantly read by Mr Pullman himself this audiobook was truly a joy. The actors were all of the highest standard and the whole thing left me enraptured from start to finish. Top notch.
"Not a Let Down!"
This is the second book in Philip Pullmans 'His Dark Materials' trilogy. I was worried that this couldn't in any way compare with the first book 'Northern Lights' which i throughly enjoyed. How wrong was i, this had me enthralled even more so!
Once again Pullman and the rest of the cast manage to draw you into the adventure so that you could actually be a daemon yourself!
The story spans a new world with new & old friends and enemies for Lyra, you are taken on a rollercoaster of an adventure which manages to shake your emotions on all levels.
The only downfall i can see is that i only have the last book now left to listen to, once i've listened to that i'll miss Lyra and her friends as it's a priviledge to be allowed on such an adventure.
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (Unabridged)
Summary & Review by Frances Darwin (Age 10 ?)
In this story William Parry leaves his mother to try and find his father, but he does not know that in a few weeks he will meet Lyra Silvertongue. Lyra and Will, with the help of the witches will set out on a perilous journey which will be blighted by Mrs. Coulter and her dangerous allies. In a world parallel to Will?s, called Cittagazze, he finds Lyra and they start their adventures. In Cittagazze there is a man who is holding the Subtle Knife Bearer hostage. Will and Lyra have to fight their way through to save the knife bearer, but Will does not know that the knife is waiting to be held by him. Will does not know that this knife will save him and Lyra numerous times in the near future. Lyra and Will set out to find Will?s father but they meet many dangers along the way. Along the way Lee Scoresby and Dr. Grumman are in the middle of a raging battle and only Grumman survives. Grumman just so happens to be the man Will was looking for. Soon the angels persuade him to abandon Lyra to go and bring Lord Asriel exactly what he needs to overthrow the authority. Meanwhile Lyra has been captured and taken to Mrs. Coulter?s camp a little way ahead of them??
The actors did very well with the emotions of the characters. The actress playing Lyra sounds a little younger than I imagined her.
The story was very well narrated by Philip Pullman.
Philip Pullman was very good at describing what was happening, all the action!
Some of the sound was slightly muffled but it did not stop me from enjoying the audio book.
"In love with the story and the ideas"
The music is overdramatic between acts and the witches always sound winded.
But I love the story and Will's voice actor especially.
"Superb narration to a great sequel"
The Subtle Knife is a great sequel to The Northern Lights. If you liked the first, you will love this one just as much, if not more. This book expands on Lyra’s world from the first book, and introduces several others and the possibility of infinite worlds. It concentrates mainly on our human world though which is parallel to Lyra’s.
Story – 4/5
This is probably my favourite of the 3 books. My only criticism relative to the first book was that it was too short. It doesn’t take away from the story at all; it just didn’t last very long and left me wanting a lot more (a bit picky really I know)
Although the world expands into something more complex, Phil still writes in a way that makes it very simple to understand and follow
It takes you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster; there are funny moments, sad moments and some very heart-warming ones. Very unusual for a YA book but I prefer it this way. This just shows how good the character development is, as we end up genuinely concerned for what happens to them.
Performance – 5/5
As with the first book, it is still Phil Pullman with a cast of voice actors – which is absolutely superb. If you are reading this review to see if all the books are good before delving in (I do the same), you will not be disappointed with the consistency and high production value of the performance.
All other audiobooks I have read have been with a single person acting all of the voices. Although a lot of them are excellent, nothing compares to have females doing females and males doing male voices. This contrast in each voice also allows you to relax more when enjoying the story and not worry about who is who in a conversation.
Overall – 4.5/5
Warning – If you are easily offended by little ‘digs’ at Christianity, you may want to not read these stories. They are subtle and mostly happen in the 3rd book, but I would consider this book to Paganism what Narnia is to Christianity. That aside, they are very good young adult fantasy books.
Definitely suitable for adults – I am a 27 yr old man
"Perfect for Car Journeys"
This dramastrised book is a fantastic story to listen to in the cars with the kids. Hand on heart I can say that the children are completely engrossed in the story and piece and quiet as soon as the story starts. My kids now ask for the story and also stay in the car till the chapter ends, so they don't miss anything .
Audible on the iPhone is a god send and would recommend everyone to download the app and enjoy the story and quiet while you drive. 150% fabulous
If you've listened to the Northern Lights and enjoyed it then you probably won't need this review because you'll be doing as I did and working through the three. Whilst not as long as the first, and possibly not featuring the same tension due to laying the ground work for what is it to come, this is still an essential listen.
"A fun and engaging story."
In this second installment Philip Pullman manages to answer a few questions from the The Northern Lights and also opens up new ones for The Amber Spyglass. He does so by expanding the worlds and revealing the extent of his imagination. And it's all tightly knit together by strong characters and a fun and engaging story.
Having taken a while to get used to the storytelling style of the previous book with Pullman as the narrator and other actors as the individual characters, I found I was now fully immersed and simply enjoyed the story with Pullman's reading as engaging as all the other actors.
The story is incredible, however I found some of the performances slightly overdramatised. My main problem with the audiobook is the music between chapters which was incredibly jarring and totally unnecessary in my view.
In spite of this it's still a great listen and I would overall recommend it- just be prepared for the weird musical interludes!
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