The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2)

The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials #2) by Philip Pullman


Lost in a new world. Lyra finds Will—a boy on the run, a murderer—a worthy and welcome ally. For this is a world where soul-eating Specters stalk the streets and witches share the skies with troops of angels.
Each is searching—Lyra for the meaning of Dark Matter, Will for his missing father—but what they find instead is a deadly secret, a knife of untold power. And neither Lyra nor Will suspects how tightly their lives, their loves, and their destinies are bound together... until they are split apart.


She had asked: What is he? A friend or an enemy?
The alethiometer answered: He is a murderer.
When she saw the answer, she relaxed at once. He could find food, and show her how to reach Oxford, and those were powers that were useful, but he might still have been untrustworthy or cowardly. A murderer was a worthy companion. 

Admittedly, while I considered the first book of this series to be an a-okay book, I wasn't all too keen on continuing the story even though I had thought so at first. I simply wasn't all that interested in it but, frankly, rather bored by the prospect of starting it. And, honestly, I doubt that feeling will have changed once I pick up the third book.

Overall, the second book felt much like the first, even though a lot of things have changed: the focus of the story has shifted, a new sort-of antagonist is introduced, a new protagonist is introduced and, obviously, it takes place in (a) different world(s). All these changes make the story feel faster than the first instalment while less things actually happened, I felt. 

Nonetheless, the premise continues to be interesting and I am curious as to how all these different, and seemingly scattered, elements will play out together. So far the different plot elements seem like more of a mess than not (which isn't a bad thing) and I do wonder what the whole "rewriting history/religion"-thing is about (if that's how you could explain what's going on).

As to the whole "His Dark Materials is anti-religious" argument people seem to have over this series: I don't really think so. In the first book it was mostly about questioning authority which is, I think, a good message. Do not follow people blindly, do not let yourself be blinded by your own fear, etc. In this book it goes even deeper than that and criticises religious institutions as such and how much power they have over people, which, again, plays into the whole "think for yourself"-spiel and scorns what we made of religion instead of the existence of religion itself. 


Well, I gave The Golden Compass a 3.5/5 stars but seeing as this one interested me less (even after I started it), I'll go with 3/5 stars. Really, it isn't a bad book I'm simply not all that interested in the story.


Name: The Subtle Knife
Deutscher Titel: Das magische Messer
Series: His Dark Materials
Author: Philip Pullman
Previous Books in this Series: The Golden Compass (#1)
Publisher: Dell Yearling
Pages: 326
Where?: Amazon (English edition), Amazon (Deutsche Ausgabe)


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