Review – The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials #3) by Philip Pullman


Have you ever finished a book with the feeling “I have no idea what I think of this”?  Well, that was me at the end of The Amber Spyglass.  I cannot decide if I think it is brilliant or an overall bloody hot mess.

A book that tackles…

  • Spirituality vs. religious fanaticism
  • Fate / destiny
  • Parental love and abuse
  • Mental illness
  • Sacrifice for the greater good
  • Environmental awareness (or lack thereof which can lead to catastrophe)
  • What happens after we die?
  • Is there such a thing as a soul?
  • Love in all its’ forms
  • And so much more including everything except the kitchen sink.

…can go either way.  The problem that I had with The Amber Spyglass is that it felt, well, all over the place from about 10%-75%.  That’s a lot of pages of “huh”?  Don’t get me wrong.  I love it when an author surprises me but the story here wasn’t at all what I expected and, for the most part, that wasn’t a good thing.

However, the ending.  The ending.  I loved it with all the feels my tiny and now-broken heart can muster.  It was flipping fantastic.

I’m going to leave this as 3/5 stars for now.  My plan is to re-read this series in a few years to see if I further appreciate this installment once I know the end-game.

P.S. I know I’ve harped on this series being categorized as ‘children’s books’ so I can’t just ignore that in this review.  I firmly believe children should read books that challenge them both intellectually and emotionally.  However, there are some heavy themes in this series and specifically in this installment.  If your child is reading this, be sure to read it yourself and talk to them about it.  And, if you are very particular about sexual innuendo in what your child reads, just be aware.  It wasn’t over the top but there is definitely a sexual undertone in several scenes.  You might need to have “the talk” with your child after they read about Ms. Coulter and Metatron.

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