March 29, 2008

The Subtle Knife

The Subtle Knife
Phillip Pullman


(March 29, 2008)

As I'm burning through audiobooks at a ferocious clip, I thought I'd reread this middle novel of Pullman's great trilogy. I still agree that it's stronger than the first book — itself a remarkable achievement, since middle books have intrinsic problems that I have always thought intractable. I'm not quite as sure that the usual consensus, that holds this to be stronger than The Amber Spyglass, is correct; if we didn't know the marvels that were coming, would this book be quite so fine?

The sly, slow disclosure that life here is not entirely fun and adventure is literally wonderful.