Review: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

Title: The Subtle Knife
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: October 16th 1998
Pages: 341
Read it in: You don’t want to know. 
Source: Borrowed, Andy


You can buy it on amazon.


Synopsis: Goodreads:


Here is the highly anticipated second installment of Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy trilogy, begun with the critically acclaimed Northern Lights. Lyra and Will, her new-found friend, tumble separately into the strange tropical otherworld of Cittàgazze, “the city of magpies,” where adults are curiously absent and children run wild. Here their lives become inextricably entwined when Lyra’s alethiometer gives her a simple command: find Will’s father. 


Their search is plagued with obstacles–some familiar and some horribly new and unfathomable–but it eventually brings them closer to Will’s father and to the Subtle Knife, a deadly, magical, ancient tool that cuts windows between worlds. Through it all, Will and Lyra find themselves hurtling toward the centre of a fierce battle against a force so awesome that leagues of mortals, witches, beasts, and spirits from every world are uniting in fear and anger against it. 


This breathtaking sequel will leave readers eager for the third and final volume of His Dark Materials. 


My Review:


Hmm… Where do I begin? I’ve had a lot of trouble with this book. And I mean a lot of trouble. I’ve been trying to read it since I finished Northern lights. Needless to say, that hasn’t gone well. I’ve got bored around page 100 and always stopped and given up. I’ve picked it up four times and tried to read it. But two days ago, I picked it up and decided to try again. And guess what? I finally finished it. 


I have to say, the final 60 odd pages of this book were amazing. Around page 200 things were great. But my question is, why Pullman? Why did it take so long for this book to get good? The first few chapters were great, then it got boring. And I mean REALLY boring. 


If it wasn’t for the fact that I enjoyed Northern Lights, and my boyfriend loves this series, I honestly wouldn’t have even bothered with The Subtle Knife. I’d have just left it and given up. Although I feel that way, what I enjoyed, I really enjoyed. So I guess I’m happy that I decided to trust Andy and read it. 


We meet Will Parry is this book, who is on the run after killing a man who was trying to steal some of his fathers things – some things that Will hopes will help him find his dad. When Will finds a window, things get interesting and he bumps into Lyra. Things from there go downhill for them, but they share a friendship that isn’t really established until the end when Will loses two of his fingers and Lyra really starts to show she cares for him.


We don’t hear anything about The Subtle Knife until (I think it was) about 130 pages into the book. But what the knife can do is pretty damn amazing. So I think I forgive Pullman for that. 


As much as I wanted to love this book, I just don’t… 


Rating: 3/5 

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