Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

His Dark Materials: Book Three - The Amber Spyglass

His Dark Materials: Book Three - The Amber Spyglass

Philip Pullman
Fiction  Series
For ages 12 and up
Random House, 2003   ISBN: 978-0440418566

When several of his fingers were cut off by the subtle knife, Will experienced great pain and suffering , but somehow what is happening to him now is much worse. Lyra has been kidnapped by her mother, Mrs. Coulter, and Will's father is dead. Just at the moment when Will and his father realized that they were father and son, a witch killed the missing explorer. It is all too much, and yet Will does not give up. Instead, he gets an angel to agree to help him find Lyra. With the angel grumbling all the while, Will sets off, going he knows not where.

Meanwhile, Lyra is trapped in a drugged sleep. Every time she tries to waken, her mother, the evil and conniving Mrs. Coulter, puts her back under. As she sleeps, Lyra dreams. She dreams that her dead friend Roger is asking for her help. He is in a terrible place, the land of the dead, and he wants Lyra to help him.

Though the odds as stacked against him, Will is able, with the help of friends, to rescue Lyra, and he quickly agrees to go with her to the land of the dead. He understands that she needs to see Roger. She needs to do what she can for her old friend.

It is a hard journey, and once they get to their destination things get even harder. Lyra and Will find that the land of the dead is full of ghosts, sorry creatures who are persecuted by their guards, the harpies. Surely there must be something that Will and Lyra can do to help these poor creatures.

Meanwhile, far away, Lyra's father, Lord Asriel, prepares to go to war with the Authority and his Regent, the Metatron. Lord Asriel does not really understand what Lyra is up to and he is impatient with her. However, when he hears that she has gone to the land of the dead, he realizes that his headstrong daughter is special and that everything depends on her succeeding in her quest.

This final book in the His Dark Materials series is rich and full of surprises. It is, at times, quite painful. Good friends and allies die for the cause as Lyra and Will do their best to do what they feel is right. Several stories unfold at the same time until they, and the characters, finally come together for the stunning finale.

With this series Philip Pullman has created, without a doubt, a work of fiction that will enthrall and tantalize readers for years to come. The books can be enjoyed by both young adults and adults, and they offer up ideas that are both powerful and thought provoking.