Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I finally finished a trilogy of books by Philip Pullman called His Dark Materials. What an awesome trilogy (despite how terrible the North American covers are--by far, the first two books win the lamest, gayest jacket art ever, hands down--who commissioned these and worse, who approved these disasters?!?!?!). Book 1, The Golden Compass and Book 2, The Subtle Knife are incredible. Book 3, The Amber Spyglass started off good and has some really cool things in it but I hated it two-thirds of the way through and it started up a whole new arc that was completely stupid. Pullman really blew it with the final book but the first two books are soooo fucking good that you'll just have to finish the trilogy off.

8.5 out of 10 for the gayest book cover ever

11 out of 10 for the gayest book cover ever!
Look at it! It's terrible!!!!

1 out of 10 for the gayest book cover ever.
At least this cover actually relates to what
awaits the reader.

These books are for younger kids; tween-agers and up, but Pullman doesn't really hold anything back. If you like Harry Potter, but want something a bit edgier and more daring, then these books are perfect. The main hero, Lyra, a tom-boyish scamp, smokes, drinks wine and pukes. There's tons of blood and death. Fighting, magic (but not Wizard-like hokus-pokus magic), fierce armoured bears, and best of all it's extremely anti-religion (Christian/Catholic). The Christians and the vatican have been boo-hooing, pissing their diapers and screaming BLASPHEMY! about these books, the theatrical production and now the movies.

The characters are incredibly well-rounded and varied, with each class of character and his/her society having a rich cultural and political background. The book's characters come from all walks of life--literally, and due to the nature of the story, all band together to destroy God. How cool is that in a "kid's book?" One of the characters, Lee Scoresby, a Texan, , is just an aeronaut, who has been hired to fly his hot-air balloon up into the arctic and in doing so, becomes a great neutral character who slowly grows to love the girl-heroine and fights for her life and cause. At the end of the 2nd-last chapter of The Subtle Knife, a chapter that's pretty much all Scoresby, I was shaking with tension and disbelief. Let's just say it's a perfect scene in a western. Pullman's incredibly descriptive passages have you right there in the thick of it and I had to have a time-out/breather at the end of that chapter.

The official website is incredibly detailed and there are tons of unofficial fansites that are just as massive such as this one. The movies are now in production and they're going to have to have a HUGE budget to pull this off right. The first movie, for example, EVERY human character will need a CGI/real-life animal counter-part (daemon) for every single scene (and Lyra's daemon changes into about 60 different animals alone). The books also take place in a number of different worlds and landscapes so there'll be lots of world-traveling and huge studio set designs. This isn't just Hogwarts and owls.

Again, Book 3 on the whole, sucked compared to the first two, but there are awesome elements and is still incredible. I actually started reading Book 2 about a year ago but put it down near the beginning because I didn't really like some of the dialogue exchange between Lyra and a new character; it seemed contrived and too "kiddie-like." I got over that little hang-up and found that I liked Book 2 more than Book 1. In my opinion, any book, let alone a "kid's book" that says religion is bad for the world has got to be a great book. Like I always say, "Go to hell Christians."

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