The Amber Spyglass

His Dark Materials, Book 3
Narrated by: Philip Pullman, full cast
Series: His Dark Materials, Book 3
Length: 14 hrs and 53 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9,014 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures begin in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone.

All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent amber spyglass. An assassin hunts her down. And Lord Asriel, with troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, a battle of strange allies and shocking sacrifice.

As war rages and dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living, and the dead, finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story. The Amber Spyglass reveals that story, bringing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials to an astonishing conclusion.

Listen to the rest of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
©2000 Philip Pullman (P)2001 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Absorbing...Like Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, [Pullman] invents a world filled with strange divinations and wordplays." (Newsweek)
"A literary masterpiece...[that] caps the most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings and puts Harry Potter to shame...A page-turning story that builds to a powerful finish." (Oregonian)
"As the rich tale unfolds, Pullman's voice, elegant with a hint of both whisper and rasp, thoroughly enthralls, sounding by turns forceful and tender. The talented, extensive cast gives a dynamic, nearly flawless performance." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say
Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sophisticated and Thought Provoking!

Just when you thought this series of books couldn't get any more fantastic, the author steps up to an entirely new level, introducing characters and concepts that are admittedly pretty advanced for youngsters (although my 7 and 11 year olds absolutely love these books). For early teens, it is a perfect introduction to philosophical and ethical ideas that require some serious thought. The nature of religion versus dogma, the concept of self, the idea of power of self-sacrifice, the portrayal of multiple realities, all are explored in new and fascinating ways.

The audio production of the entire series is top-notch and riveting, and has resulted in my driving around the block many times just to get to the end of the next chapter.

Contrary to claims that this book is anti-religion - it is more a criticism of political authority, ignorance, and power. This is not the God of our world - this is an alternate universe. The church in this story is a repressive political entity that relies on fear and intimidation.

It is frightening to see how many people fear these books and wish to ban them rather than to see them as a starting point for discussion of ideas (do not underestimate your children and their ability to comprehend these ideas). These books do not challenge anyone's faith - it really points out the the pitfalls of blind faith versus the true power of actual deeds. Pulling these books out of libraries as some wish to do would be a tragedy, and it seems to reflect more of a lack of faith in one's own beliefs than anything else.

40 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

an exceptional story that's had bad press

Forget the political reviews of this series as an atheist anthem. This is simply a wonderful story with rich characters, fantastic worlds and heartwarming themes about friendship and loyalty. The full cast reading is worth every penny-a must listen!

28 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

A worthwhile but somewhat disappointing end

Pullman continues to add complex twists and turns to his final novel in this trilogy, do not miss the first two before you listen to this one! I enjoyed this final novel, but there were MANY more characters than usual, and though I enjoyed the complexities of them, there seemed like too many to all be properly developed. The religious (or arguably anti-religious) overtones become much more of a focus here, which I did not like even though I am not religious. Though it is still very suspenseful and full of adventure, twists and unpredictable turns like the other two novels I walked away feeling a little disappointed. Perhaps that is because this believable fantasy trilogy is now done.

8 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Imaginatioon People

Since when did imagination go by the way of a fallen leaf from the big tree? I have heard so much of how bad this series seems to be but as a Pastor I have heard nothing but happiness and excitement from what comes out of this story. Nobody says anywhere in these books that you have to beleive what you hear. The fun of these types of books is to bring you out of such a hard way of living and go into a world that just takes your mind off your own worries. Love the books and gosh - there are only three in the series. I look forward to more.

17 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great finish to a fabulous trilogy!

His Dark Materials ends with this book (although there is a follow-up, _Lyra's Oxford_, which includes a short story, a map of Lyra's Oxford, and some other materials), the longest of the three.

The various storylines are tied up nicely, though some may not care for how things are left with the two main characters. Despite this, I loved it - this book and the series - and would love for additional stories from Pullman about the characters and places he's brought to life in these books (as he did with the above-mentioned book).

Great books for children or adults of all ages!

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

More of the same

I found Golden Compass to be very fresh and interesting writing. It got a bit boring in Subtle Knife, although still bearable. I could not manage to find energy to listen for the second part of The Amber Spyglass. The story kept spreading far and wide and countless new characters, monsters, worlds and magic items kept popping up, whilst very little space for story and characters were left. If you enjoy authors flow of fantasy there is plenty of it. If you want to know who are Will and Lyra, what they think and feel and how they change, there is very little to look for.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing End

After the first two books, I was a little disappointed with the third. The ending was somewhat anti-climatic and a little too theological for my taste. It would have been more appropriate if this book ended three-quarters of the way through.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

great

after the first two books its hard not to fall in love with the ending of this one, even though its sad, you know it has to happen.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Pretty Disappointing

The story just doesn't hold together. The creativity and imagination, which was high in the fist book of the trilogy, disappears.

The characters and story lines are inconsistent and at times downright boring. The story line involving the Amber Spyglass itself is painfully boring and seems to be more of an Orson Scott Card ripoff of the Piggies from Card's Ender series.

Lastly, the ending is a total let down when the anticipated temptation is not played up as it was built up throughout the story.

At times I just wanted to turn it off, but hung in there only because I listened to the first two and wanted to see how it ended.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing after the first two

I loved the first two books of the series. I couldn't put them down, in fact. I felt the same way with the third book until about halfway through, when it began to drag. The ending was completely anticlimactic and smarmy. Towards the end, the story became disjointed, and several questions were left unanswered. It seemed as though the author was scrambling to make things up at the last minute to make the story cohesive, but failed miserably. Such a disappointment.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Becci Johnston
  • 10-25-15

Magical

I wouldn't have guessed the ending in a million years; what an amazingly beautiful story this is!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • "ddowns27"
  • 06-18-15

Fanastic

I think there it could have Gina less lovey dovey towards the end but that aside, fantastic trilogy. Would recommend to anyone into fantasy, Harry Potter, LoTR, and terry pratchett type books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • 04-13-13

Completes the set

Really excellent narration of all three books by Pullman and this brilliant cast. You need to listen to the first two first but I can't think of any reason why you would not then go on and download this one. They should probably be reviewed altogether but as a set well worth the five stars.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AGGELOS IOAKIMIDES
  • 06-07-18

Book just wouldn’t finish

Even though the story all in a more elaborate way, turned into to dimensionals romance. There were some aspects of the book that showed potential, and yet gave me The overall impression that there was a need to hurry up and finish it no matter what the story would say. I guess the performances work as the director ordered, quite good, but very little made the original sense that the first two books made. Overall it was a little bit of a letdown compared to the other two books even though it gave around conclusion albeit unsatisfying.