The Amber Spyglass is the conclusion of His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, the first two books being The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. Pullman’s story-telling ability continued to keep me intrigued and glued to the series. We had left Will and Lyra in two seperate lurches at the end of The Subtle Knife. So it was real hard to wait on My Main Man to finish The Amber Spyglass so I could start it. I carried this audiobook around with me – in the car, by the couch while I knitted, on the front porch while I shelled beans, in the kitchen while I cooked, and in the bedroom while I ……folded laundry, of course.
At the begining of the book, we still have several mysteries from the first two books to sort out. We also have to rescue Lyra, defeat, or at least evade, Mrs. Coulter, determine all the uses of the Subtle Knife, decide what to do about Dust, and save the Universe. Hey – it’s not really all that much for two kids, is it? So in order to help us dense readers to understand what Pullman is trying to get across with the metaphor of Dust, he brings in another world with another set of beings in the third book. Mary Malone gets to interact with this peaceful society of wheeled, symbiotic creatures. At first, I felt like we all ready had so much to cover to wrap up the trilogy, that I wasn’t too sure we needed another whole set of new, intriguing beings added in, but the segments of The Amber Spyglass spent in this high-treed, non-spinal population world were very enjoyable.
So here I try to convince you how much fun this book was, without giving away too much. Lyra and Will have to conquer some fears and then have to make a heart-wrenching choice – leave a part of themselves behind in order to visit the dead. It was one of the most poignant scenes of the entire trilogy. With that said, one of my favorite characters who died in the second book returns in the third and fights to protect Lyra. There is also the whole battle of Lord Asriel to overthrow The Authority. Until I started reading this series and chatting with people about it, I wasn’t aware that many felt this trilogy was against the Christian Church. Having completed the series, as a reader, I could take the ‘Fight Against The Authority’ to be any struggle against mass control – any organized religion, cult, philospical institution, government, etc. Independent thinking and choices are important in a society. Oddly enough, those who were concerned that this trilogy was against the Christian Church were the ones who had not read the series. I only snickered a little when I realized that trend.
OK – so enough on the politics of the trilogy. It’s an excellent Young Adult series with lots of good tidbits about growing up. The third book sees Lyra and Will having to mature quick in order to save the Universe. I won’t tell you how or if they pull it off, because quite frankly, I wasn’t so sure how this was going to end. I will say that I feel like A LOT was squished into this last book. I have to wonder if Pullman originally planned to have perhaps 5 books instead of 3 and the publisher made him squish it all into a trilogy.
The audio performance was excellent throughout the series. Dozens of voice actors participated, including the author himself.