Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials

Contrary to my girly (or at least i think i look girlish k) appearance, i do not like romance or even chick lit. Rather, my favourite has been and probably will always be fantasy. At age 12, my cousin forced me to read The Belgariad by David Eddings. I was turned off immediately by the dull cover and the silly title. But read the book i did, and hooked on it i became=)

Before i was done with the Os, I finshed the five books in the series, moved on to the Malloreon series and completed the LOTR trilogy. Then i got addicted to Raymond E Feist and Harry Potter (yeah ok, i shed a tear or two when the seventh book was published).

I am such a fan because for one, i never fail to be stunned by the creative prowess of fantasy writers. Gosh! That imagination! The magical worlds and terrifying creatures! The Ancient Times! I also love the language- simple but powerful and descriptive enough to evoke vivid imagery. It is easy to sound cheem but it’s a challenge to be comprehensive yet detailed. Dialogue is witty and humorous,  and the characters always three-dimensional. There are many themes- love, sex, friendship, loyalty, patriotism, greed, sin and the best thing is… good always triumphs over evil. Awww…

So when kz loaned the nerd His Dark Materials (a trilogy comprising Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass), i was gleeful!

A self-gratuituous shot :p

I didn’t catch The Golden Compass so i embarked on His Dark Materials from an entirely untainted perspective. My verdict? I love the first two books but i found the third stupid. Pullman’s ideas are innovative. After reading a couple of fantasy books, you would realise that some things are well, a little similar. Mythical characters (unicorns, centaurs), talking trees, dwarfs, elves, trolls, the Middle Kingdom and the like. Pullman introduced new characters (huge bears, daemons, spectres), new concepts (quantum physics and alternative universes) and lots of religion (the extraordinary power and the unyielding dogma of the Church).  It was altogether very refreshing. Staunch Catholics and Christians however, might take offence to the content of the books. I found Pullman’s take on religion reasonable though- if you read it with an open mind, i think you would realise he wasn’t trying to attack specific religions. He is however, very much against the suppression of people on religious grounds and the abuse of religion and its followers by leaders with ill intentions- something i am in total agreement with ( Religion, in my humble opinion, is best left to individual/small-scale/personal/simple pursuits. Institutionalised and grand forms of anything, charity included, under the hands of the wrong people, can lead to dreadful consequences.

The third book degenerated into a long love story…a love story that is wrong on so many levels. Am not gonna do a spoiler here…so no details.

These three books accompanied me through the long june hols. Grateful!


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