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Publisher's Summary

In this stunning sequel to The Golden Compass, the intrepid Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld, Cittagazze, where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky. But she is not without allies: 12-year-old Will Parry, fleeing for his life after taking another's, has also stumbled into this strange new realm.

On a perilous journey from world to world, Lyra and Will uncover a deadly secret: an object of extraordinary and devastating power. And with every step, they move closer to an even greater threat, and the shattering truth of their own destiny.

Listen to the rest of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
©1997 Philip Pullman; (P)Random House, Inc., Listening Library, A Division Of Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"The superb production of this fascinating fantasy epic makes it a heart-thumping listening adventure." (AudioFile)
"The story gallops with ferocious momentum [and] Pullman is devilishly inventive. (The New York Times Book Review)
"More than fulfilling the promise of The Golden Compass, this second volume starts off at a heart-thumping pace and never slows down." (Publishers Weekly)
"A resoundingly successful sequel." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall

Best Book of The Trilogy

In my opinion, this was the best book of the Dark Materials Trilogy. The first book was really hard for me to get into and dragged at times. And the third book was just too long and seems to contradict itself several times. The second book was the only one that seems to have a good pace throughout and wasn't bogged down with too many characters and unnecessary plot points. If only the other books in the series were written as well as this one...

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Skeph
  • Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • 11-23-11

Full Cast, upsides and downsides.

Phillip Pullman has created a rich and engaging multiverse with the "His Dark Materials" series. It's an epic trilogy with characters you can love, worry for, and rejoice with. In these full-cast recordings of the trilogy you get the added aspect of an ensemble cast of voice performers bringing many different backgrounds and talents together to create a richer world. Sometimes described as "An Atheist Narnia," the series stands out in its approach to fantasy that moves in an exciting adventure with a solid three-book arc. And Pullman himself, as the narrator, has a deep, soft narrator's voice, putting one in mind of a grandfather reading them a story. I might draw a vague parallel to a British Garrison Keillor.

However, it has its drawbacks. I recommend listening to the book first before reading these so you can enjoy it more without being on the lookout for them:

Pullman is a talented writer, but he does write as though he's being paid by the word. There are stretches of dialogue and description added that don't benefit the story and tend to slow it down. Some might argue that he gets a bit preachy and didactic (if I'm using that word correctly). The book, like too many fantasy series somewhat lacks a sense of whimsey, taking itself a bit too seriously for what it is. As an intermediate-level read, that can be forgiven, but one would hope for some joviality, especially in a universe (multiverse?) with talking animals. I'm not saying they all need to be voiced by Eddie Murphy, but please lighten up a bit.

As for the full cast, while I can't express enough how much it enhanced the story, it too had its drawbacks. Some of the actors went into total maudlin melodrama overdrive in their performances that made repeat listens a bit of a chore. Some find the main character of Lyra a bit annoying to begin with, but when you actually hear her whine instead of modulating it with your mind's ear, it gets a bit more trying.

All in all, three or four stars depending on your mood and age. I recommend the series at least once. Worth your credits.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Mende
  • Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 03-28-08

Pullman doesn't pull punches

The reading is exceptional. The story is one that everyone should hear at least once. It addresses the core of many peoples' problems with organized religion (or religion in general) and presents them in an exciting fantastic view of our universe.
In Ontario certain regions of the catholic school board have banned this books. Although he is quite critical of organized religion the book does appear to leave room for spirituality (in my opinion).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Carolyn
  • 03-21-08

Not as good as Golden Compass

I liked the first book much better. This one didn't have the same mood at all. The dark parts were not balanced with lighter parts as in the first book. I am not religious, but even I was getting a bit annoyed with the obvious church bashing. I think the author sacrificed his story in order make a stand on his personal political beliefs. I decided not to even read the last book and moved on to other authors. Too many good books to waste time on mediocre ones. I am very disappointed, I really loved the Golden Compass and looked forward to finishing the series.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Deseree
  • Eatonville, WA, United States
  • 09-29-07

Be aware.

Read/listen to this book before you give it to your children.

There are warnings about religion in the reviews for this book but, that aside, there are other factors to consider. The book is not too long to listen and make up your mind about your own children.

I enjoyed the book and believe sci-fi lovers will love this book.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Couldn't pull it out of my ear

I adored this second book. It introduced a new character which added more flavor and dimensions to the already inviting plot. It made me want more. The similarities to Bible stories was a little nervy and might be disturbing for younger readers,in my opinion. Still, an excellent and involving story that appealed to this adult reader tremendously. I reccomend that parents read it first if concerned about Biblical aspects.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Caroline
  • Seattle, WA, United States
  • 12-25-07

absolutely fantastic

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.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Overtly against the church

The first story was excellent. I thought The Golden Compass was fascinating and the characters were well developed. I couldn’t stop listening. This story is so clearly against the church that I couldn’t enjoy it. I’m not going to bother with listening to the third one.

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what what

this book is amazing and has all you look.for In a good book to listen to.. I spent many a night sipping my fine single malt whiskey in my wooden living room surrounded by the entertaining story and delightful characters with the intoxicating smell of leather and rich mahogany.

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this book went so many cool places

lots of fun and buying the whole serise such s fun novel. well worth the time and money on to book 3!!!!