Monday, December 21, 2015

His Dark Materials Reread: Joint Review of The Amber Spyglass by Phillip Pullman

It's the last joint review of out His Dark Materials Reread with me and Britt from Please Feed the Bookworm. (but not the last of the fun!)  If you didn't get a chance to see our review of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, you can check it here. Britt and I decided we wanted to do a reread of the series because it had been awhile since we had read the books after we heard that BBC is making a TV show out them. So the reread was born!

Britt and I both decided to listen to the audiobook again because we liked it so much the first time. And because the joint review went so well the first time with the conversational format we decide to do that again instead of a traditional review. Hope you enjoyed them. We definitely had a lot of fun reading them together and doing the posts together. So much fun in fact that we're thinking about doing something like this again. Here is our joint review of The Amber Spyglass....

Title: The Amber Spyglass
Series: His Dark Materials #3
Written By: Phillip Pullman 
Published: July, 1998 by Knopf (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads / Audible)

Synopsis: Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures begin in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone. 

All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent amber spyglass. An assassin hunts her down. And Lord Asriel, with troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, a battle of strange allies and shocking sacrifice. 

As war rages and dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living, and the dead, finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story. The Amber Spyglass reveals that story, bringing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials to an astonishing conclusion.

First things first, how do you feel? 

B: Feel?! My feel is broken and crying in the corner.

C: DON’T LOOK AT ME! No I mean I’m definitely feeling the book hangover kicking in and I’m a little devastated by the way it all ended but I love this series so much and rereading it was so fantastic that I’m also really happy. I just have a lot of feelings!

So how long has it been since you first read the book? 

B: 2010? I don't know but I was majorly pregnant and this whole thing and raging emotions is not a cocktail you want to try.

C: Seven year ago. I marathoned the whole series then.

What did you think about the book when you read it the first time? 

C: I absolutely loved it. This is my favorite book in the series. It’s so intense and with all these complex plot points and themes.

B: I was very mad at myself for thinking this to be a childish series, it is really anything but.

Do you like it more or less than the first two books in the series? 

C: More. Like I said, this is my favorite book in the series.

B: Agreed absolutely more...there is just soooo much.

What’s your favorite part? 


C: This is a totally impossible question for this book. Because I have so many bittersweet feelings for this book a lot of my favorite moments also have really positive feelings around. Like I really like the part in the Land of the Dead but I also sob during that part. And the end after Lyra and Will meet Mary Malone again but as much as I love their interaction and ship it so hard we all all know how that ends.

Do you have a least favorite part? 

C: Maybe some stuff with Mary Malone and the mulefa. I see how they come in at the end but there’s a bit too much exposition in a final book for me to really like them. There are also some stuff with Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter in the middle of the book that I don’t like. Just in general I think, the parts where we cut away from Lyra and Will in the Land of the Dead. I posted on Goodreads how I was annoyed that there were two chapters in a row without them because I needed to know what happened to them and I didn’t care about mulefa or intention crafts.

B: Ughhh yes! I mean I really enjoyed the whole “this world evolution went this way” but there was just a bit much. And yes Cassi I think I began to skim at first cause I was ahh Will and Lyra where are you?!

Speaking of the Land of the Dead, in this book the characters go to speak to loved ones. If you could go there and speak to some who would it be? 

C: I have a few relatives who passed away suddenly. If I could talk to them to say goodbye I would probably do it.

B: Ughhh this kills me. I would absolutely speak to my mother since she was gone suddenly and while we were fighting no less. Also my grandfather I said goodbye to him it that doesn't stop me from missing him terribly.

Did you like the way it ended? 

B: I do of course there are some thing I wanted…...more of but all in all this was a perfect ending. Not too happy and not too sad. Cassi actually explains it perfectly!

C: I did. I do. Of course it wrecks me every single time, it’s so bittersweet and I wish it were happy but I think it works. I like when the final book in a series has a really intricate plot. Like how stuff from the first few books that seemed small now have big affects on the plot. I think that happens here. It all ends in a perfect way but with things that I want to happen not happening. Like I said, bittersweet

What about the characters? Still love them? 

C: Of course. Lyra and Will are some of my all-time favorite characters. They show such strength and determination plus they’re really well rounded. They have strengths and weaknesses which is always my favorite. I also really like Mrs. Coulter in this book. And not like love to hate, like actually enjoy. I think she has really great character development and a redemptive arc which is my favorite. Can we still be friends?

B: I can't believe I am about to say this but Mrs. Coulter did end up okay in my book….I guess. Will and Lyra are of course my heart. Also Mr Scorsby!!

C: YES! I was so worried our friendship would be over when I said that. I know you are not a Mrs. Coulter fan but I'm glad you liked her arc too.

Any new characters that you like or want to talk about? 

C: Yes! The Gallivespians, especially Chevalier Tialys and the Lady Salmakia. I love them. They’re these tiny spies that ride around on hawks and dragonflies. They come from a different world and start out as antagonists towards Lyra and Will but end up helping them. I think they are so cool.

B: Oh yes definitely the Gallivespians! Don't forget the best part is that they have tiny Spurs on their shoes that the stab people which which is poison! There really are the perfect spies.

C: You're right! They're fantastic!

Can we talk about the relationships? Especially the romance between Lyra and Will. You ship it right? 

B: It is a brief romance but it is so sweet in first love that smacks you in the face kind of way. I think you could see how much they loved each other long before they realized it and long after as well. I mean you don't follow someone into the world of the dead if you're not like head over heels for them right?!

C: Totally true. It embodies first love. I ship it so hard. Like it’s next level OTP for me. One of my all-time favorites. The part at the end when they’re all couply, I love it so much. And like my followers and you know, I’m romancephobic. I usually could do without romance in my fantasies. But I think with this one it kind of has a connection with the plot and themes of the book, so it works. Plus the way it all ends just makes me want it to happen even more. *sobs*

What did you think about the audiobook? 

C: Amazing, seriously amazing. I keep saying how much I like the fact that it’s a full cast. That’s such a brilliant format and I really want to listen to more of them. I also mentioned to Britt that it sounded like Will’s voice changed like he went through puberty and it kind of fit perfectly for the story. And in the post for the first book I talked about how the narration from Philip Pullman didn’t always work, how I wanted him to talk fasting during the exciting parts. This time that was perfect. He sped up during the big scenes and it pulled me in and got the adrenaline flowing. It was so great and I’m glad I listened to the audio for the reread.

B: It was very well done. Thank goodness for Cassi urging me to get an audible membership. So worth it!

So this was a reread, did you get more out of the book? Notice things you missed the first time? 

B: Oh yes! I was constantly tweeting Cassi and saying “ oh my god I can't believe I forgot so and so”. They were some pretty huge plot points to but my memory is the worst so it's not surprising.

C: I did. I remembered most of what happened in this book but it was big picture stuff. I remembered the Land of the Dead, the fact that mulefas existed, and the stuff with the Clouded Mountain but the little details and how they got there I totally forgot about.

So now that it’s over, what comes next? 

B: I cry in the corner for a week and try to see my daemon.

C: I really want to reread all over again. But that will destroy my TBR more than it already has and I have 2016 ARCs side eyeing me. Instead I’m thinking that I will read all the short stories that are part of this world. There’s Lyra’s Oxford which takes place years in the future, Once Upon a Time in the North which is the prequel about Iorek and Lee Scorsby, and The Collectors which I think is about Mrs. Coulter and her daemon. Have you read any of these Britt?

B: You know, I haven't, but I always eye them. I think we should totes make this a holiday tradition. Those stories would be nice to read like mid year or perhaps before. Have you ever heard the name of Mrs. Coulter’s daemon? They always just call him the golden monkey. I'd like to find that out for sure!

That's it. Just like the ending of the book it's very bittersweet. It was so much we will have to do this and other joint posts and things again (we have some ideas so stay turned).

Have you read The Amber Spyglass? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. This has been so fun dear! I think we should totally make it a holiday tradition!! It is very bittersweet but glad to know we still adore this series. It is tried and true time and time again! Until next time! <3

  2. I so wish I had joined you ladies, but I'm not sure my feels could take this final book... it really destroyed me the first time!