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)2000 BBC Audiobooks Ltd
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"A good listen but not as good as the first story"
I enjoyed the audio version of Northern Lights a great deal. The cast did just as good a job on this story, however, I didn't find the story nearly as engaging. I would still give it 5 stars except there wasn't even a semblance of an ending- clearly it was just the first half of the next story.
"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
I am a huge Phillip Pullman fan and would rate the 'his dark materials' trilogy as amongst the best books I have ever read. The audio book, which is read by Phillip Pullman himself (with a cast of wonderful actors as company), is every bit as magical and spell-binding as the reading experience. The sheer beguiling wonder of the story and it's characters (child heroine and hero most noteably) would suffice to satisfy alone, however the potent philosophical and theological commentary lift this story into another stratosphere - making it simultaneously accessible, entertaining, moving, thought provoking and educational....and never condescending. Phillip Pullman is an honest and courageous writer for children and does not shy away from painful and dark subject matter nor seek to comfort in any way other than to present an arguement for how we can seek to overcome our flaws and that it is this aspiration which should cause our hearts to sing.
"A Great Listen"
I read these books a few years ago so thought I would give the first book a try on Audible, this is so well put together like a stage production, with different voice actors for the characters really helped to draw you into the story and didnt make you grimace when some narrators try to do funny accents or different genders. Any way first book got me hooked books 2 and 3 were swiftly purchased. Although I swear the voice actor for Will changes in the final book which was a bit offputting for a few chapters. Still highly recommended.
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.
"An interesting read"
The subtle knife is a brilliant book. Though written as a children's book, it manages to tell the story while keeping complex and without talking down to the reader.
In this part of the Trilogy the rest of the main characters are introduced and the main worlds that story is set in, are addressed.
The narration is beautiful, both cast and pacing are perfect.
"If only you could stop listening here."
I love the way this stoy is told on audible - and the subtle knife sets the books up for a great finale - just a shame about the finale itself. The subtle knife is tense and action packed and well worth the read even if The Amber Spyglass is a massive disappointment.
"This man has a talent for blowing minds"
This is mind art from a man who knows how to tell a story, I could get lost in this detailed land of mind blowing adventure for hours if not days...if only it lasted longer....On a brighter note Pullman is a legend and I'm grateful I've had the opportunity to listen in. Thank you Audible from Scotland x
This is the best book I have read in ages. Philip Pullman is also an excellent narrator!
"Philip Pullman done it again!!!!"
i love the first book in the series and i love this one. We meet Will in this the second part of the series. He is looking for his father and Lyra is helping him. Lyra and Will goes into diffent worlds and that is how they meet. Lyra's mother finds a way into diffent worlds as well and that when all hell brakes out. 5 out of 5 because the cast is great yet again. I cant wait till i listen to the next and last part in the series.
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