The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)

by Philip Pullman

David Scutt (Illustrator)

3.81 of 5 stars 37 ratings • 6 reviews • 49 shelved
Book cover for The Amber Spyglass

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The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3)

by Philip Pullman

David Scutt (Illustrator)

3.81 of 5 stars 37 ratings • 6 reviews • 49 shelved

The unforgettable His Dark Materials trilogy that began with The Golden Compass—the modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an "All-Time Greatest Novel" and Newsweek hailed as a "Top 100 Book of All Time"—and continued with The Subtle Knife, reaches its astonishing conclusion in The Amber Spyglass.

Throughout the worlds, the forces of both heaven and hell are mustering to take part in Lord Asriel's audacious rebellion. Each player in this epic drama has a role to play—and a sacrifice to make. Witches, angels, spies, assassins, tempters, and pretenders, no one will remain unscathed.

Lyra and Will have the most dangerous task of all. They must journey to a gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone and from which there is no escape.

As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living—and the dead—comes to depend on Lyra and Will. On the choices they make in love, and for love, forevermore.

A #1 New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Whitbread Award
Winner of the British Book Award (Children's)
Published in 40 Countries
"Masterful.... This title confirms Pullman's inclusion in the company of C.S. Lewis and Tolkien." —Smithsonian Magazine

"Pullman has created the last great fantasy masterpiece of the twentieth century. An astounding achievement." —The Cincinnati Enquirer

"War, politics, magic, science, individual lives and cosmic destinies are all here . . . shaped and assembled into a narrative of tremendous pace by a man with a generous, precise intelligence. I am completely enchanted." —The New York Times Book Review

"Breathtaking adventure . . . a terrific story, eloquently told." The Boston Globe

Don't miss Philip Pullman's epic new trilogy set in the world of His Dark Materials!
La Belle Sauvage
The Secret Commonwealth
  • ISBN10 0590542443
  • ISBN13 9780590542449
  • Publish Date 12 February 2000
  • Publish Status Out of Print
  • Out of Print 26 February 2010
  • Publish Country GB
  • Publisher Scholastic
  • Imprint Scholastic Press
  • Format Hardcover
  • Pages 560
  • Language English


Avatar for clq

clq 4 of 5 stars
This book was a strange experience. I was thoroughly bored the first 100 pages. As with The Subtle Knife, I failed to immerse myself in the universe of the book enough to appreciate what was essentially an elaboration on the politics between, and within, the races established in the previous books. I put most of the blame for this on myself, and I should have seen it coming after The Subtle Knife. I knew that the book was probably giving me good stuff, I just didn't appreciate what the book was giving me.

Then, after 100 pages, The Amber Spyglass started getting really interesting to me as well. Once Death turned up, I found myself getting on board. It then turned into quite an exploration of what Death is and isn't, and takes elements of religion and, completely without respect (in a good way), tears them up and employs them in its own story-telling. I can imagine that much of the treatment of religion would probably be quite controversial, especially in a children's book, but it got really entertaining.

The story also ties up very nicely, and sometimes it becomes properly emotional. While the mythology of the book might be subtle in places, there is nothing subtle about the plot. The emotion, the love, and the hard choices the characters have to make are all used for all they are worth - and then a little more for good measure. This works well, and the over-the-top'ness of elements of the plot kind of works well with the ambiguity (for me at least) of the universe it takes place in.

The Amber Spyglass is undoubtedly a good book, and I can really see how someone could love The Dark Materials trilogy. I didn't love it, but I'm glad to have read it, and given the amount of people who absolutely love these books I think everyone should probably give them a try to see if they might be one of them.

Avatar for clementine

clementine 4 of 5 stars
I understand the criticisms of this book as the end of the series - it doesn't feel as cohesive as the previous two, there are a lot of characters to keep track of (some of whom don't necessarily add a lot to the narrative), it's quite a departure from the plot of The Golden Compass, some of the characters are taken to surprising and possibly unrealistic places, the idea of two twelve-year-old children achieving so much is in itself unrealistic...

And yet none of this significantly detracts from my enjoyment of the book and the series as a whole. I don't mind that these are extraordinary children, because the point is that they're the fulfilment of a prophecy - they're not normal kids thrust into a wild situation, they are incredible and that's why they exist. They're still believably children - afraid, stubborn, idealistic, naïve. Pullman captures childhood incredibly accurately; he doesn't underestimate or overestimate their capacity for intelligence, resourcefulness, affect.

Once again, Pullman manages to invoke such strong emotions. The longing I had to experience the languid, gentle world of the mulefa, the sorrow at the world of the dead, the absolute devastation of Lyra and Pan's separation, the alethiometer's sudden illegibility, the revelation that Will and Lyra must part ways. The pain of growing up is explored so beautifully here.

If anything, there are so many different locales explored in this book that I wish I'd had more time in each world. Though this is a long book at over 500 pages, I wanted more development of certain aspects. I'd remembered Will and Lyra's time in the world of the dead as much longer and more drawn out, and though it was painful and dark and scary and sad, it was perhaps too brief for such a fascinating and complex place. And I wanted to know more about Mary, who is such a compelling secondary character.

That said, Pullman's writing is simply beautiful and so evocative that it's hard not to be pulled in to the story, wherever he takes it. This ending is perfect to me - satisfying in some ways, heartbreaking beyond belief in others. That's exactly as it should be.

Avatar for purplemoonmyst

Hillary 5 of 5 stars

This is the third book in His Dark Materials trilogy. I read the first two during Banned Book Week but never got around to reading this one until I got my Nook for Christmas and downloaded it from my library.
From Good Reads:The Amber Spyglass brings the intrigue of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife to a heartstopping close, marking the third and final volume as the most powerful of the trilogy. Along with the return of Lyra, Will, Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, Dr. Mary Malone, and Iorek Byrnison the armored bear, The Amber Spyglass introduces a host of new characters: the Mulefa, mysterious wheeled creatures with the power to see Dust; Gallivespian Lord Roke, a hand-high spy-master to Lord Asriel; and Metatron, a fierce and mighty angel. And this final volume brings startling revelations, too: the painful price Lyra must pay to walk through the land of the dead, the haunting power of Dr. Malone's amber spyglass, and the names of who will live—and who will die—for love. And all the while, war rages with the Kingdom of Heaven, a brutal battle that—in its shocking outcome—will reveal the secret of Dust.
My Review: This book is just as good as the previous two in the trilogy.  The story continues with Will trying to find Lyra and the angel’s who want him to give the Subtle Knife to Lord Asriel in the fight against the authority.
Lyra and Will want to travel to the Land of the Dead but will they be willing to pay the price to do so?
This book covers a multitude of feelings. The lengths people will go to for love. The price people must pay for things they feel they must do among other things. This book will cause one to think about how in real life we must do these things too.This review was originally posted on Adventures in Never Never Land

Avatar for cfiel25

KitsuneBae 4 of 5 stars
For the full review, please visit Thoughts and Pens

Yay. After days of poring over this series, I think the book fairy has finally let my soul found some peace. And what’s more beautiful is that, I can truly announce that this book is one of the most memorable must-read series for 2013. Yes, bookish addicts. After a year of hating this series, I’ve found myself falling inlove with it. How did that freakin’ happen? Find out!
The Amber Spyglass started days after where the second book left off. Will, who was separated from Lyra, was sought by two rebel angels who pledged their help to look for the latter in exchange for his help to Lord Asriel’s cause. Meanwhile, Lyra was put into an (almost) endless slumber by Mrs. Coulter for reasons that only her wickedness can answer. And this is where the fun had started since it wasn’t only Will who was looking for her but also Lord Asriel’s forces, the Magisterium (Church) and the Authority’s arsenal of angels headed by Metatron. In this battle of tactics and race against time, Philip Pullman allures us once again into a kaleidoscope of worlds where everything is overwhelmingly possible. The convergence of Pullman’s different worlds made a great setting for this story of such magnitude to unfold wonderfully and yet, it was sensible and compelling.
Interwoven with this setting was a story of two ordinary children whose lives will dictate the undoing or the continuance of the very pillars of humanity. The Amber Spyglass does not only talk about war to gain power over the worlds but it delves into the realm of metaphysics, a journey to search the truth about God, His existence and whether He solely created the world. Then it followed the first downfall of man when Eve took to the temptation of the serpent but in exchange for consciousness her descendants. Next, there was the mystery of death, does the paradise of heaven really existed or departed souls just go into an inescapable prison of void? Amidst all these, there was the subject of growing up, of being conscious of the world, of the surroundings, of the people around you, of yourself and of other discoveries; and whether being conscious should be suppressed or one should break free from the dictates of the Church? The Amber Spyglass is a story that puts our faith into another perspective and our religious beliefs into a series of questions. All these told through a fantastical journey of an epic battle brought about by armored bears, Gallivespians, witch clans, rebel angels, the forces of the Church, Spectres, Souls of the dead and ordinary people… all fighting to either destroy or save God and His Kingdom of Heaven.
To determine the outcome of that battle, Lyra, who had been prophesized as the reincarnation of Eve, must undertake the test—the one that had been the downfall of the Mother of All—in the form of Will Parry. And this is the part where I cried because I couldn’t bear the pain of seeing Lyra and Will deciding that they must part ways in order to create the Republic of Heaven. It was bittersweet because you can feel in your heart how they love each other and yet, they must set aside their feelings for the salvation of the world. Lyra succeeds in fighting the temptation at the cost of losing Will but it meant that consciousness or Dust will be saved. I take my hat off for these two heroic souls who had shown outstanding maturity and bravery despite their ages.
Furthermore, aside from the central plot, there were other bits and pieces that I loved about this book. First, the corruption and brutality of the Church was a controversial one and it did make me wonder whether Philip was trying to tell us something about the real Church? Second, Philip’s portrayal of the world of the dead really intrigued me because being a believer; it did open my mind to a lot of possibilities. And lastly, Mrs. Coulter’s and Asriel’s deed of bravery was just so unexpected that I was quite speechless. The power of redemptive love is just way tooo amazing.
I would have given this book a five if only:
Philip did not give lengthy descriptions about this and that. There were times that a page seemed to drag like forever.
The Amber Spyglass, for me, was not an apt title for the book since it didn’t really play a significant role as compared to the subtle knife or the alethiometer.
Philip failed to put a dramatic bit about Lyra’s feelings towards her parents’ death. I think that was a loose end because the book shouldn’t have ended without Lyra knowing the sacrifices her parents had made and whether she mourned or forgave them afterwards.
Philip took an effort to have the other significant characters play a more important role rather than appearing at the end of the book to fetch Lyra and Will. I am referring to the gyptians of course. The way they were mentioned in the book was like their presence was just inserted in an attempt to make us remember that they’re still alive and kicking. It wasn’t so subtle.
Philip found a way to give Lyra and Will the smallest chance of a happily ever after… like being together once in a while.
In an overall note, the Amber Spyglass is an enticing read that will challenge your faith and at the same time teaching a thing or two about the struggles of growing up. A must read for all fantasy lovers out there who wanted to explore an unrivaled story of fiction woven with realistic elements.

Avatar for adastra

adastra 2 of 5 stars
I like the message and the ideas behind these books, but the plot didn't really blow me off my feet. Especially the whole big battle is completely underdeveloped for something which was granted so much attention in the earlier books. The dusty conclusion doesn't really satisfy after 3 volumes of building up to... what exactly?!