The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman


The final installment in the 'His Dark Material' trilogy brings together religion: original sin, the afterlife, God; and science: quantum physics, chaos theory; together with theology: man is the maker of his own destiny and ultimately therefore his destruction, in a cataclysmic finale that is as gripping as it is heart-wrenching. Lyra must travel to the Land of the Dead to once again rescue her friend Roger, whilst Will must first rescue her from the clutches of Mrs Coulter. It is during this rescue attempt that the subtle knife is broken and it is Iorek Byrnison that must repair it, but at what price? Lord Asriel continues to wage war on The Authority who it now appears is a senile old man, over thrown by his right hand angel Metatron. A great war is brewing and it is upon her arrest by the Magisterium, who have lost all faith in Mrs Coulter, that she aligns herself with with Lyra's father in the battle to overthrow the church and preserve the true purpose of Dust. Whilst these events unfold it is the character of Mary Malone, a scientist from Will's world that Lyra enlists to help in her continuing search for the meaning of Dust, who travels through the original window Will found in The Subtle Knife, and after a long journey finds herself in the land of the Mulefa.

It is here that she fashions a basic telescope from tree resin and bark and the Amber Spyglass is borne and she learns the Dust, which can be clearly seen though it, seems to be leaving not only the Mulefa's dying world, but all worlds.

"But a complex web of thoughts was weaving itself in the bear king's mind, with more strands in it than hunger and satisfaction. There was the memory of the little girl Lyra, whom he had named Silvertongue, and whom he had last seen crossing the fragile snow bridge across a crevasse in his own island of Svalbard. Then there was the agitation among the witches, the rumors of pacts and alliances and war; and then there was the surpassingly strange fact of this new world itself, and the witch's insistence that there were many more such worlds, and that the fate of them all hung somehow on the fate of the child."
Iorek Byrnison: The Amber Spyglass

A brilliant conclusion to the 'His Dark Materials' trilogy that kept me entertained throughout, except possibly I read it so greedily I missed the answer to some questions I felt certain would be given in this final book. What was the metallic smell emanating from Marissa Coulter whenever she was displeased? Was this Dust? Why was she able to be parted from her Daemon over longer than normal distances? Was she a witch? Is this why she looked so young for her years? Oh some of us are never happy. Please don't let my preoccupation with one character put you off, this is an excellent book and a worthy winner of the 2002 Whitbread Prize. The Land of the Dead makes for an extremely exciting story line as does the final battle with Metatron .I also love that Will gets to meet is own daemon and therefore it makes this a possibility that we all can. I did find it hard to click with the Mary Malone character and the Mulefa and must admit I read these chapters with a small degree of annoyance as I felt it took me away from the real action but as Mary Malone does actually create the Amber Spyglass I suppose her part is rather important, she just came across a little....well...wet. I must remember though that I am an adult reading a children's book and therefore my character assassination may be a tad unfair and again, I don't want to dwell on what are overall minor things on what was an altogether enjoyable read. The ending of the book, was bittersweet but so sensitive and true to the characters that it brought a tear to my eye. Wonderfully engrossing and so packed full of of explosive plot lines that you'll find it difficult to put down.

Review by

1 positive reader review(s) for The Amber Spyglass


All reviews for Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series

Once Upon A Time In The North

by Philip Pullman

When Lyra is studying at Oxford University, she comes across the story of Lee Scoresby and Iorek Byrnisson's first meeting, many years ago, along with much evidence of [...]

Series: His Dark Materials
Published: 0000

Score: 85

Our rating: 8.5 | positive reader reviews


Northern Lights

by Philip Pullman

Lyra Belacqua lives half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon, Pantalaimon, always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lo [...]

Series: His Dark Materials: Book 1
Published: 1995

Score: 119

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews


The Subtle Knife

by Philip Pullman

Lyra finds herself in a shimmering, haunted otherworld – Cittàgazze, where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against [...]

Series: His Dark Materials: Book 2
Published: 1997

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews


The Amber Spyglass

by Philip Pullman

Will is the knife-bearer and his instructions from his father are clear: find Lord Asriel. But Will and Lyra have been separated and Lyra is the sleeping prisoner of Mrs Co [...]

Series: His Dark Materials: Book 3
Published: 2000

Score: 96

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews


The Amber Spyglass reader reviews

from From

I agree with Bill from Canada, but it is still a wonderful, well-written tale. However, the ending was so sad I almost regretted starting the series in the first place. You grow so attached to the characters that when something doesn't go the way you want, it can break your heart. Nevertheless, a stunning conclusion to this masterpiece!

from Vancouver, Canada

Disappointing. This book was one of the most negative of surprises I've ever read. The Golden Compass, or Northern Lights, was an absolute classic. The Subtle Knife was a step down, but still a great book. The Amber Spyglass, despite interesting ideas and intrigue in politics, religion, and science, turns out to be a slow paced plot that never seems to accelerate, and before you know it, the ending arrives. Sure, it has some excellent bits, but the plot is weak. Plus, it becomes a melodrama... ugh

8.5/10 from 3 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe

by CS Lewis

Four adventurous siblings―Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie― step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslave [...]

Series: The Chronicles of Narnia: Book 2
Published: 1950

Score: 113

Our rating: 9.8 | 10 positive reader reviews


The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L Frank Baum

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are in for the ride of their lives when a tornado drops them off in the Land of Oz. Can Dorothy and her new friends survive the perils [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1901

Score: 107

Our rating: 9.4 | 13 positive reader reviews


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

by Lewis Carroll

A hot summer’s day on the riverbank, and young Alice is bored. Bored, that is, until a white rabbit in a checked jacket scurries past in a great hurry, examining a po [...]

Series: NA
Published: 1965

Score: 108

Our rating: 9.2 | 16 positive reader reviews


Return To Allapatria

by Shelley E Parker

Daniel's school holidays are interrupted when, via a ley-line that passes through the goldfish tank in his bedroom, he is transported to a parallel world - in which he [...]

Series: NA
Published: 0000

Score: 89

Our rating: 8.7 | 2 positive reader reviews