I’m writing this review having finished this book nearly 2 months ago, so I’m struggling to remember exactly what happened within it. However, I do remember that I liked the book, and overall I have liked the series. It is a very satisfying series, with a satisfying (and sad) conclusion.
Balthamos and Baruch, what a pair! I adored them. And I also loved Will and how focused he was on getting to Lyra, and just ignoring them. In fact, Will and Lyra is a beautiful story, it can’t be denied.
Mary (oh the religious reference) going to that different world, now that was cool. Those different creatures were really interesting, and the integration of her into their world was really nice to read.
And the ending, just so perfect. It’s not a happily ever after and walk off into the sunset. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, as possibilities leave themselves open, but then Pullman goes around slamming doors in your face, killing off your hopes. It’s not quite on the level of Patrick Ness, so I didn’t get that emotional about it, but it’s just a really neat conclusion.
So is it really “atheism for kids”? I feel like that is literally the opposite of the series. It has God in the book, it has angels. If it were to be atheist, then it would deny the existence of such beings. Yes, the book challenges religion, and discusses evolution and science, but I hardly think it is such a big deal (but then again, people attack books and other things on a whim without actually having any knowledge of content – e.g. Harry Potter). Perhaps challenging religion is so sacrilegious, but from my perspective, that is a brilliant thing to instil in children. You should want them to ask questions and explore things for themselves. I also feel that the book blends science and religion, in what can be seen as a ‘bridging the gap’ between the two fields. They can exist side by side, and in Lyra’s case, they are one and the same.
It’s a series that is definitely worth reading, and one of those series which a child and an adult will take away completely different things. It’s also one where revisiting it will definitely bring out a greater depth.