The Subtle Knife left me feeling unsatisfied. The story is told very well, and the atmosphere created by the storytelling is wonderful, but the story itself didn't do it for me. It's meant to be disjointed - the narrative skips around from place to place - but it skipped around just often enough that I never managed to immerse myself as much in the book as the storytelling called for. The lack of immersion might be my fault. I read the book in quite a lot of sittings, and this is a book that might not lend itself very well to that.
For a book this short, The Subtle Knife felt surprisingly long. There were sections which, while the existence of them did add to the story, felt much longer than they needed to be. There is a sense of many threads being laid out which will eventually come together to make up the final story, but as a standalone books there were a few too many threads in this one, and not enough attention paid to each of them.
I'm sure my problems with this book will all be justified by the last book in the series. At least I truly hope so.