Book Review: The Book of Dust, The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman

Overall Impressions

This book wasn't a long read, even though it was ~600 pages. I think I finished it off in less than two weeks of mostly reading it before I went to bed. I found myself near the end getting a bit excited because there were lots of things that seemed to be coming together and I had assumed that they'd get tied off before the end similarly to part 1 - but I was sadly mistaken - and likewise left hanging for the as-yet-unavailable part 3.

The Good

I enjoy the universe that Pullman created, and this is more of the same.

The writing style is not complicated and so it reads easily.

I like how most of the characters in this book are already somewhat familiar, though there's a jump in ages due to the amount of time after His Dark Materials took place.

The Bad

Warning: Plot spoilers ahead!

I don't like how apparently it's really not an uncommon thing that people in Lyra's universe can be separated from their daemons. It was supposed to be something that witches could do, and that Lyra at great cost when she literally crossed into Hell. Now we find out that it's not that uncommon. What?

I also didn't like the lack of magic and otherwise fantastic occurrences. Granted, that's actually what The Secret Commonwealth means, but Lyra more than anyone else in this universe has been exposed to so much crazy stuff that there's just no way she could be convinced it wasn't real. Other than the guy that turned into fire, there just isn't much in this book of that sort of thing.

I went along with it because that's how the story went, but it didn't make much sense to me that Pan decices to run away from Lyra and didn't really know what he was doing. Rather than trying to pursue him, Lyra goes off on her own set of adventures and just assumes she'll meet up with Pan on practically the other side of the world at a place that neither she nor Pan knows whether it actually exists...

Final Thoughts

I didn't hate this book, but it's probably my least favorite of the 5 that I've read so far. I still rate it a 3 out of 5 which is to say that I was fairly neutral to it. I definitely will read the next book once it's available.