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The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Series #3)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Controversy: The Godless World of Pullman? And how this series ties not just its OWN ends together, but makes people everywhere listen...

This book is the third in the series 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman. So much controversy has surrounded this book, and this is why. In 'The Amber Spyglass', Lyra and Will, the heroine and hero of the story, learn about growing up, Dust finally settling, having t...
This book is the third in the series 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman. So much controversy has surrounded this book, and this is why. In 'The Amber Spyglass', Lyra and Will, the heroine and hero of the story, learn about growing up, Dust finally settling, having their daemons (spirit in animal form) find their permanent form, love, and the existence of God. now Pullman was a devout atheist when he was alive, so it shouldn't have been shocking what he said in his books about God and His angels, but many people thought it was. This book was ahead of its time, and although considered a 'children's' or 'young adults' book, it is just as easily adult literature. In his metaphorical ways, Pullman discusses the possibility of other worlds, evolution of these worlds, a young teenager's blooming sexuality, how politics AND religion can corrupt people's individual thinking, and how the interconnections between worlds, and the organisms in them can bring not just one species or world, but everything, falling down around our heads.
One of the main issues in this book was the way God, or the 'Authority' was described, not as an all-powerful being, but simply an archangel, dying of old age, and how the hapless Lyra, and her friend Will, only being thirteen or fourteen, don't realize that by setting the Authority free of His prison, they have killed Him. You see, only the Angels and witches of Lyra's world have free access to all of the adjoining worlds in the universe, and Will carries a knife (see The Subtle Knife, Book Two of His Dark Materials) that can rip holes from one world to another. And Lyra carries an alethiometer, or a golden compass (see The Golden Compass, Book One of His Dark Materials) that can answer any question asked of it.
After Lyra and her daemon, Pan, are kidnapped by Lyra's evil, theologian mother, Mrs. Coulter, Will and the polar bear king Iorek have to rescue her, as Lyra represents the rebirth of Eve, 'the temptress'. Also, Lyra's father, a scientist, is after her, to protect her from the Church, who believe they have to kill her, to stop the replay of the Fall from Grace described in the Book of Genesis in the Holy Bible. Will tears a whole in another world, where he and Lyra escape to, and they find themselves in the world of the dead, trying to find a way out, so the dead can be free to evaporate into the air.
The Amber Spyglass is not a book to read simply for leisure, for once you read it once, you will find yourself going back to pet its spine maybe a year afterwards, to open it to a favorite spot, and discover new meanings behind every metaphorical phrase in the book. It is a thing to mull over, and smile at your new discoveries.
One part that describes both evolution at its highest and Pullman's great ability to imagine things outside of our world, is the world in which no humans exist, but a certain Dr. Mary Malone stumbles upon, and discovers a completely, previously unheard of intelligent being, the mulefa. Their world evolved in a completely different way than out own, and theirs ties into both Mary's and Will's, and Lyra's worlds, in the way of Dust, or the beginning of the original Fall.
It may seem like a lot of information, but Pullman's writing pull you in from the first page and you are stuck until you hear Lyra's last words, 'Build the Republic of Heaven', and the book spits you out, jumbled and ready to try and find the next in the series, but of course, as in all great endings, there is n

posted by JayInBloom on January 30, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Bad

I didnt like how pull.an was suggesting the thought that god himself could somehow be defeated. It was very suspenseful

posted by 8692746 on December 21, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2013

    A disappointing end to a spectacular series

    Both "The Golden Compass" and its sequel were beautiful novels, with a wonderful plot, believable characters, and a plot twist here and ther, so I expected the third book would also be great. However, I didn't even get past the fifth chapter: The book was both boring and offensive. I am Christian and I am usually not bothered by other religious opinions, so I was surprised with myself when I realized how irritated I was by the idea that God can be destroyed and the claim that there is no heaven. The homosexuality theme did not bother me, but Balthamos and Baruch were highly unlikable to me. They were confusing and I thought them very unnecessary. Ama was a completely random character and Lyra's dream about Roger kept getting interrupted, which I absolutely hated. Also, it has come to my attention that there may have some sexual activity between children, which shocked me. Overall, an awful book (PS. RIP to Lee and Hester) :(

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Ok

    Still feels like the Golden Compass shouldn't have been continued

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2014

    Stop with all the god crap

    ITS JUST A BOOK!!! GODS OKAY WITH YOU READING IT JUST DONT LET IT LOWER YOUR FAITH!

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Review by Page from One Book At A Time

    I wish I could say that this was one of the best series I had ever read. Sadly it isn't. And I had such high hopes for it. I watched the movie of The Golden Compass first and it intrigued me. So I looked into the book and discovered it was a triology. I really like that first book, but it's been downhill since then. First and foremost, The Amber Spyglass was long. And the funny part is I'm not really talking about the number of pages, because I've obviously read much longer. There just seemed to be too much of everything in this book. Too many characters to keep track of along with too many worlds that seemed to be interacting. And the story was too complex even for me. I've noticed that people seem to love or hate this book, but I'm firmly in the middle. I don't dislike it for the reasons that most people do. I don't think it's anti-god or anti-religion. I just found some of the ideas presented in the final novel to be way out of the realm of reasonable thought. And, I would love to talk to a preteen who has read these and understood them. These books don't present the same way the say The Harry Potter Series does.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2008

    Amber Spyglass

    The story gets a '4'. The ending gets a '2'. Which averages out to a '3'. I wanted to read young adult fiction, not a Russian novel. But instead I was so irritated with the resolution that it soured the entire book for me. In addition, while most elements were cunningly woven into the story, there were to my mind holes in the plot that could have been better filled. At the end of the book I was still waiting for the 'Tempter' to do anything remotely close to tempting. It seems to me that should have been the pivotal moment of the entire series. If it even happened then I blinked and missed it, or didn't find it nearly as tempting as it was supposed to have been. In the end, I was not particularly satisfied.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2007

    Good.........until the end......

    This book had a great set-up. We don't no Lyra's fate and Will has just witnessed his father's death. That makes for an ultra smooth transition into 'Spyglass'. From the beginning we find out that Lyra has been taken by Mrs. Coulter and has been druged to sleep. Meanwhile, will has met up with two angles who help him out tremendously, but they seemed to slow down the story. Their little sub-plot was meaningless. Lord Asriel returns 'obviously' and assumes a huge role as the leader of this large rebellion against the Authority'god'. He has built a fortress and has amassed huge number to take on Metatron and his Angels. I never felt like the Authority or Metatron were established as huge threats like Mrs. Coulter and the Magisterium were in Books 1 and 2. Granted there were slow parts 'like the beginning and ending', but after that it got exciting as Will and Lyra begin a Journy into the Land of the Dead. This takes up a Majority of the book which is a mistake in my opinion. However, mistake or not because it weves between the Lyra/Will storyline and Asriel/Coulter storyline it makes the middle of the book very strong. It sets up the final battle so that Lyra and will get there after it start. Now, the Battle. We get all this set up, emotion, adventure and drama for.........nothing. The battle takes up like 10 pages of Lyra and Will doing notihng. It shows the battle form Lyra and Will's perspective and it isn't very exciting. I won't give away the ending, but I can tell you it is very Anti-climatic. It destroys any momentum left from the battle. It is sappy, corny and very unfitting. I was very disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2006

    AN INTERESTING STORY

    In The Amber Spyglass the struggle between the Church and lord Asriel comes to a close. Will and Lyra release the dead from their world and they also discover where Dust is going. Although they get separated from their daemons, they help Mary restore dust and end the war. Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter show their true character in the end giving Lyra more time to end the battle. I gave this book 3 stars because of the characters. I never learned much about Mrs. Coulter or Lord Asriel and some of the things about them are very strange. I was never sure whose side Mrs. Coulter was on either. Also the Angel Balthamos acted very demented about Baruchs death. He wailed and cried and said he could no longer survive without Baruch. I liked Mary. She was very interested in the Mulefa¿s world. The characters are very unusual. The Amber Spyglass is interesting but still very different. It is a very good ending to the trilogy and has a great storyline.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2006

    Kind of Boring but Good

    The previous books in the series, The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, were very good books, but when I picked up this book it bored me. It was very hard to pick up sometimes, but I kept reading because I wanted to finish the trilogy of His Dark Materials. The best part of this book, I would have to say, is when Will and Lyra had some steamy intercourse and Mr. Pullman wrote very suggestively. That was pretty hot and awesome. Overall it was an average book, but a thumbs up series. Lyra seemed pretty hot and Will must of been sizzling since his name is Will so it was a pretty cool book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2006

    Fantastic!

    Superb conclusion to a masterpiece. I loved every minute of it. There is a movie in the works based on the first book. I am interested in seeing how that plays out.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2004

    Sort of like Romeo and Juliett!!

    This book totally amazed me! I could never put it down it was so awesome! I love fantasy stories and Im kind of a picky reader... but this one really made me, WOW! You really got to know the characters, and you got to love the relationship Lyra and Will shared. I was really disappionted at the end though about how their relationship had to end up... it was really sad, and that is what impacted me the most!! The story needs to have a happy ending! Also, the relationship Pan and Lyra held twards the end of the book sort of made me uneasy... I REALLY REALLY REALLY think there should be a follow up book that says that Will gets to live with Lyra forever!!!! Overall, I enjoyed the book greatly, but the end was kind of depressing, and you never really found out what dust was. I finished the book like a week ago, and I still can't see how anyone would end a book like that!! So if anyone reads this and knows how to contact Philip Pullman, tell him he needs to write a happier ending!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2003

    Sorta-kinda-good

    This book has some cool concepts, and an interesting plot, but Pullman goes way beyond reality in portraying the Kingdom of Heaven being overthrown.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2003

    The Same

    I have read The Golden Compass, and The Subtle Knife, and then this book, but I never really finished this book. I mean, it was exactly the same (well, almost the same) as the other 2 books. Lyra presents a problem, she and Will have to try and fix it, they suffer through hardship, then surprise, surprise... Guess what happens? They live happily ever after!! It's the same old, same old... Good, but just like every other book to this trilogy, and a whole bunch of other books too.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2001

    Confusing but fastpaced and kinda exciting

    Well... I can see why some people thought it was so great, and the Will&Lyra thing was sweet. I also had no personal objection to the God and morals part of it... but I agree that the ending was incomplete. I didn't 'get' the plot and how did that go with the prophesy of temptation and Mary Malone and stuff? And really, at the end 20 pages, nothing conclusive happened. If you've read the other two books, you have to read this one, but don't get your hopes up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2001

    Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials Series #3)

    Well, it was okay, the end was wonderful, but the rest was not so great. Thus, The end averaged 5, and the rest was about a 1, thus making the book a 3. BUt just a hint, keep reading, even if you don't like most of the book, because the end is just so AWSOMELY COOL!!! I LOVED IT!! I cried, and all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2000

    A lot of poorly explained loose ends...

    After reading this book, I felt a little disappointed. The book had a lot of great ideas but it seemed to me that many loose ends were tied up rather abruptly. The Amber Spyglass really didn't serve any useful purpose besides being used to look at dust. It wasn't an item as important as the Golden Compass or Subtle Knife and wasn't really needed. Events in the book would've happened in spite of the Spyglass. There are thousands of other small inconsistensies in the book that a careful reader would've eventually noticed. The book is beautifully woven together but the web is weak compared to the first two in this trilogy. What Pullman could've done was drop the love theme and really focus on character developments such as the Asriel, Coulter, Bear, and Witch. And is this book rated R or what? Man, when I was 13, I didn't think of all those sexual explicit things like XOXO. Maybe Pullman is trying to bridge the gap between young adolescents and adulthood but one could interpret different. I felt rather disgusted when he described Mrs. Coulter in a lustful way. For God sake, that's what mushy love novels are here for. By, the way, is Mr. Pullman in the process of writing a love novel???

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2009

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    Posted July 1, 2011

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    Posted June 13, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2011

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