Review: The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

The Subtle Knife  - Philip Pullman

I've said it before and I'll say it again ... I heart Lyra.


She's brave, she's stubborn, she's passionate, she's determined. She's everything a good heroine should be with none of this pathetic hair-flicking, woe-is-me, life sucks because my boyfriend is a hot angel/vampire/jerk crap that seems to make up the personality of so many heroines/dumb-as-fuck cardboard cutouts featuring in so many books of a similar genre more recently .... Urgh.


Lyra kicks ass. The Subtle Knife follows on directly from the previous book, Northern Lights. Basically Lyra has followed her father, Lord Asriel through the hole he tore in the sky into another world, where she meets Will, who is from our world and is hiding out in this new one on the run from the police while searching for his long-lost father, who he knows has a mission for him. And a whole lotta shit goes down.

I wish everyone would can it regarding the fact that this series is anti-Christian. For a start, it's a children's story. If your faith can be shaken by a children's story then I think you need to take a long, hard look at your conviction to your beliefs and the way you are teaching these beliefs to young people. If they can be toppled in one fell swoop by a work of fiction then perhaps the fault does not lie with this series, but with the way religion is being presented to kids. Maybe more belief in the strength of your God is required. You're not giving him much credit if you think reading a story book will cause Christian children to turn their backs on him. Just a thought ....


Another thing that really bugs me about the ridiculous encouragement to boycott these books which some Christians received, is that they are only confirming Phillip Pullman's message that the church is controlling, rigid and discourages free-will. By shielding children from any hint of an alternative to Christianity, they are simply taking away their chance to make an informed decision about religion. By all means, give children Christian literature to read, but give them anti-Christian literature also, give them a balanced view of the world and allow them to exercise their right to choose what is right for them as individuals.


Rant over.


The Subtle Knife is a twisty, turny adventure full of twisty, turny goings on. There is an entire cast of vivid, lively characters each with their own agenda and alliances. The story moves between three worlds: our own world, Lyra's world and a world filled with those pesky Spectres, the world of Citagazze. It is a story of courage, friendship and doing the right thing, even if that flies in the face of possibility.


I could gush and rave all day about this book, but I won't. Just read it. Everything is so beautifully connected, truths are unravelled, secrets are revealed and battles are fought. The villains are fantastically villainous and some of the most hideously wicked I have ever had the pleasure to hate. Enjoy!