Hot Best Seller

La Belle Sauvage (Bụi Kí, #1) - LIMITED EDITION

Availability: Ready to download

22 năm sau ngày ra mắt tập đầu tiên bộ sách đình đám VẬT CHẤT TỐI CỦA NGÀI, nhà văn Philip Pullman đã trở lại với thế giới song song hùng tráng này bằng bộ tiểu thuyết mới đã được mong chờ từ rất lâu: BỤI KÍ. "Malcolm là con trai của ông chủ quán trọ, và là con một... Cậu cũng có khá nhiều bạn nhưng lại thấy thoải mái nhất khi ở một mình để chơi cùng linh thú Asta trong chi 22 năm sau ngày ra mắt tập đầu tiên bộ sách đình đám VẬT CHẤT TỐI CỦA NGÀI, nhà văn Philip Pullman đã trở lại với thế giới song song hùng tráng này bằng bộ tiểu thuyết mới đã được mong chờ từ rất lâu: BỤI KÍ. "Malcolm là con trai của ông chủ quán trọ, và là con một... Cậu cũng có khá nhiều bạn nhưng lại thấy thoải mái nhất khi ở một mình để chơi cùng linh thú Asta trong chiếc xuồng mà Malcolm đã sơn lên cái tên La Belle Sauvage." Cuộc sống của Malcolm Polstead trong quán trọ bên bờ sông Thames khá an toàn và hạnh phúc, nếu không có biến cố gì xảy ra. Nhưng vào một mùa đông với những cơn mưa không ngớt, các thế lực khoa học, tín ngưỡng và chính trị bắt đầu xung đột, rồi khi thời tiết đạt tới sự đỉnh điểm của sự cuồng nộ, tất cả những gì Malcolm tin tưởng vững chắc đều bị xé tan tành. Tình cờ gắn kết với một đứa bé sơ sinh mang tên Lyra, Malcolm buộc phải đảm nhận thử thách của cuộc đời mình, và thực hiện một cuộc hành trình hiểm nguy sẽ vĩnh viễn thay đổi bản thân cậu và Lyra... Phiên bản giới hạn tặng kèm hộp in công nghệ metalize! Một ấn phẩm của WINGS BOOKS - Thương hiệu sách trẻ của NXB Kim Đồng.


Compare

22 năm sau ngày ra mắt tập đầu tiên bộ sách đình đám VẬT CHẤT TỐI CỦA NGÀI, nhà văn Philip Pullman đã trở lại với thế giới song song hùng tráng này bằng bộ tiểu thuyết mới đã được mong chờ từ rất lâu: BỤI KÍ. "Malcolm là con trai của ông chủ quán trọ, và là con một... Cậu cũng có khá nhiều bạn nhưng lại thấy thoải mái nhất khi ở một mình để chơi cùng linh thú Asta trong chi 22 năm sau ngày ra mắt tập đầu tiên bộ sách đình đám VẬT CHẤT TỐI CỦA NGÀI, nhà văn Philip Pullman đã trở lại với thế giới song song hùng tráng này bằng bộ tiểu thuyết mới đã được mong chờ từ rất lâu: BỤI KÍ. "Malcolm là con trai của ông chủ quán trọ, và là con một... Cậu cũng có khá nhiều bạn nhưng lại thấy thoải mái nhất khi ở một mình để chơi cùng linh thú Asta trong chiếc xuồng mà Malcolm đã sơn lên cái tên La Belle Sauvage." Cuộc sống của Malcolm Polstead trong quán trọ bên bờ sông Thames khá an toàn và hạnh phúc, nếu không có biến cố gì xảy ra. Nhưng vào một mùa đông với những cơn mưa không ngớt, các thế lực khoa học, tín ngưỡng và chính trị bắt đầu xung đột, rồi khi thời tiết đạt tới sự đỉnh điểm của sự cuồng nộ, tất cả những gì Malcolm tin tưởng vững chắc đều bị xé tan tành. Tình cờ gắn kết với một đứa bé sơ sinh mang tên Lyra, Malcolm buộc phải đảm nhận thử thách của cuộc đời mình, và thực hiện một cuộc hành trình hiểm nguy sẽ vĩnh viễn thay đổi bản thân cậu và Lyra... Phiên bản giới hạn tặng kèm hộp in công nghệ metalize! Một ấn phẩm của WINGS BOOKS - Thương hiệu sách trẻ của NXB Kim Đồng.

30 review for La Belle Sauvage (Bụi Kí, #1) - LIMITED EDITION

  1. 5 out of 5

    Emily May

    Malcolm tried to remember the fairy tales he knew. Could you bargain with fairies? Did they keep their promises? It's hard to believe, but I was ten years old when I first read Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Along with Harry Potter, it is one of the standout reads of my childhood and, perhaps, my entire life. So, obviously, when I heard about La Belle Sauvage, I simply had to bury my skepticism and read it. And I think this book digs up the past pretty well. I’ve had mixed feelings abou Malcolm tried to remember the fairy tales he knew. Could you bargain with fairies? Did they keep their promises? It's hard to believe, but I was ten years old when I first read Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. Along with Harry Potter, it is one of the standout reads of my childhood and, perhaps, my entire life. So, obviously, when I heard about La Belle Sauvage, I simply had to bury my skepticism and read it. And I think this book digs up the past pretty well. I’ve had mixed feelings about this trend of revisiting old series and retelling everything from classic fairy tales to Wonder Woman. When the publishers dug down to the 1950s and pulled out Go Set a Watchman, when Stephen King published a sequel to The Shining almost 40 years after the original, every time Stephenie Meyer and E.L.James tell the same story from yet another point of view… I am reminded that we live in a world where marketability is far more powerful than just a good story. Why work on building a new brand and creating a new audience when there is already one right there for you? That being said, I think La Belle Sauvage does it right. Pullman captures the feel of the original trilogy but, at least so far, I don't feel like you need to read His Dark Materials to understand this book (though, why wouldn't you? ^_^). However, it does feel very much like part of a series. This book is clearly called "Volume 1" for a good reason, as it reads like the first section of a full novel, not as a standalone. Here we are taken back in time to when Lyra was a baby. We meet her parents and her spirited dæmon, Pantalaimon, through the eyes of the curious and adventurous, Malcolm Polstead, who finds himself forced to protect infant Lyra from the many threats she faces. Floods, disgusting villains, and scathing critiques of organized religion abound! But I should advise that it is a slow-burning tale. Though tantalising tidbits of magic and secrets are hinted at throughout the book, the action doesn’t really get going until over halfway through. To me, though, this is classic Pullman, and I wasn't bored for a second. La Belle Sauvage climbs, slowly at first and then faster, towards a dark and brutal climax. Readers may wish to be aware of a potentially triggering (view spoiler)[rape scene (hide spoiler)] . I can't deny that it was an absolute pleasure to find myself once more in this world of dæmons, alethiometers and mystery. Only time and further volumes will tell if this trilogy really needed to be reopened, but I'm definitely coming along for the ride. Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs

    Phillip Pullman is clearly capable of great things. He achieves an absolute mastery of tone, style and plot in The Golden Compass. However, I found none of that mastery in this book. Admittedly, I had major reservations going into it; yet, for all that, I did approach it with an open mind. I tried to appreciate it for what it was, though sadly that really isn’t much to get excited about. The writing is average, the plot slow and the new characters rather bland and ordinary. For me, the biggest p Phillip Pullman is clearly capable of great things. He achieves an absolute mastery of tone, style and plot in The Golden Compass. However, I found none of that mastery in this book. Admittedly, I had major reservations going into it; yet, for all that, I did approach it with an open mind. I tried to appreciate it for what it was, though sadly that really isn’t much to get excited about. The writing is average, the plot slow and the new characters rather bland and ordinary. For me, the biggest problem this book has is its lack of autonomy. The most exciting episodes of the plot were when characters from His Dark Materials were mentioned or even appeared in the flesh. Granted, this is a companion trilogy and, certainly, this was clearly meant to be read with the other trilogy in mind, but it still needs enough strength to stand on its own to an extent. And sadly it just doesn’t possess that strength. The plot was exceedingly underdeveloped in the first half and the second half only served to usher Lyra’s arrival in Oxford. Is that all we’re getting Mr Pullman? The new characters Pullman has written aren’t exactly remarkable or interesting. Malcolm, the protagonist, is a very typical leading man with his heroic traits and natural intelligence that has yet to find a proper channel. All in all, he’s a pretty standard person whose only real passion seems to be his boat named La Belle Sauvage. His friend, and possible love interest, Alice is angry with Malcolm because he doesn’t notice her. She kicks him, shouts at him and wishes for his attention. Her feelings were firmly established early on yet were majorly underworked through the rest of the novel. In terms of narrative progression, I feel like the story barely moved forward. Again, for the first half it stayed in the same place with Malcom running errands, spying on people, checking on a six month old Lyra and reading a few books. In the second half he spent most of it on a boat arguing with Alice and looking for Lord Asriel. It lacked a certain sense of purpose and urgency. I never felt like the important characters were really in danger, obviously because we know where they’re going to end up from reading the previous trilogy. Whist this book is far from being dreadful, it is completely unengaging. There’s so much in The Golden Compass worthy of literary criticism, but absolutely nothing here. I have no reason to actually read the rest of the series. At this point I have to ask myself the essential question: why did he even write this? ___________________________________ You can connect with me on social media via My Linktree. __________________________________

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joey Woolfardis

    We delve back in to alternate-world Oxford, miles from armoured bears but surrounded yet again by daemons and the mysterious alethiometers, following a young boy named Malcolm who is stuck in a world where young working-class boys are mostly discouraged from learning beyond their schooling and are fervently taught that religion is the only truth. There is really no great ingenuity here that came previously with His Dark Materials and honestly, that is the only place to start with Philip Pullman. We delve back in to alternate-world Oxford, miles from armoured bears but surrounded yet again by daemons and the mysterious alethiometers, following a young boy named Malcolm who is stuck in a world where young working-class boys are mostly discouraged from learning beyond their schooling and are fervently taught that religion is the only truth. There is really no great ingenuity here that came previously with His Dark Materials and honestly, that is the only place to start with Philip Pullman. It begins idyllic and slow, building the story as the rain falls. Intrigue comes in to place in many parts, but it's quite often when you expect it. We meet characters we met in His Dark Materials and you are setting yourself up for some major spoilers if you read this book first, but truthfully it is the journey of a book not the ending that makes it. Once the magic of the alethiometers turns up and the rain starts to become incredible, the story begins in earnest. It felt more like setting the scene took too long, but this alternate-world Oxford (and England) was altogether comforting and peaceful that it was difficult not to care too much about that. Returning to a world that one likes rather a lot is paramount to forgiving mostly anything. Of course, it is written by Philip Pullman and so the writing is almost perfect. There is nothing particularly lacking, though because it is written for children you get the slightly condensed characters that usually come with that genre, where they are not wholly fleshed out but made "simple". It's difficult to defend prequels or even sequels-hey, authors have to make money, too-but the alternate history/worlds of His Dark Materials is such a vast, blindingly colourful world that there would be no end to the exploration of the place. The ideas, the daemons, the alethiometer, the dimensions and witches, armoured bears and gyptians, good versus evil and science versus religion is a ridiculously large field of such scope that even a trilogy, a double trilogy or a triply trilogy could never quite explore. My rating is mostly based on how much I enjoyed the writing (it's so nice to read books by people who can actually, factually write) and the story, along with nostalgia for His Dark Materials. Really it is a 2-3 star story, with 5+ star ideas and 5 star writing, some 1 star characters, some 4 star. It encompasses a lot of feelings and emotions, and yet the overall feeling was simply comfort. This book comforted me, like a freshly change duvet on a warm summer's day, smelling faintly of lavender.

  4. 4 out of 5

    mark monday

    A wonderful way to start off the new year, especially with the cold and the wet everywhere. I loved the slow pace of the first half, all of the details that brought life to sweet, curious Malcolm's world. I loved the thrill of the second half: its many surreal and threatening episodes, the rise of Malcolm's rage-dogs, the faerie queen and the witch queen, the bravery, and everything to do with grouchy Alice. The appalling villain Gerard Bonneville (and his three-legged hyena daemon) was fascinat A wonderful way to start off the new year, especially with the cold and the wet everywhere. I loved the slow pace of the first half, all of the details that brought life to sweet, curious Malcolm's world. I loved the thrill of the second half: its many surreal and threatening episodes, the rise of Malcolm's rage-dogs, the faerie queen and the witch queen, the bravery, and everything to do with grouchy Alice. The appalling villain Gerard Bonneville (and his three-legged hyena daemon) was fascinatingly perverse. I enjoyed the brief appearances by Lord Asriel and especially Mrs. Coulter. Loved all of the daemons (except hyena daemon of course, because hyenas are the worst) and La Belle Sauvage was a lovely little boat. Pullman ratchets up the darkness a few notches but also makes certain that light is always present. So many entrancing, haunting, and exciting moments! This was a satisfying and exciting prequel that I look forward to rereading. placeholder from 2014: (view spoiler)[WHAT?! this is real? oh my God, oh my God! which is an ironic exclamation regarding a book by Philip Pullman. I had no idea this was in the works. *happy sigh* (hide spoiler)]

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

    *Possible spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.* I cannot believe that I am rating this book 2 stars. This was my most anticipated read of 2017. After reading His Dark Materials last year and falling in love with the world and having the story shatter me and embed itself deeply into my soul, I was so excited for this book, I would honestly go to bed smiling sometimes thinking about how awesome this book was going to be. I think it's safe to say that how I'm feeling now, after reading it, is a litt *Possible spoilers ahead. Proceed with caution.* I cannot believe that I am rating this book 2 stars. This was my most anticipated read of 2017. After reading His Dark Materials last year and falling in love with the world and having the story shatter me and embed itself deeply into my soul, I was so excited for this book, I would honestly go to bed smiling sometimes thinking about how awesome this book was going to be. I think it's safe to say that how I'm feeling now, after reading it, is a little bit more than disappointed. I honestly want to cry when I think about how let down I am. I'm not even sure what I wanted from this book, I just know that I didn't get it. Okay, so I'm going to start with what I liked, before this turns into a rant review. What I liked: 1. Baby Lyra and the introduction of baby daemons. I had never given much thought to what a person's daemon is like when they're a baby, but the amount of cuteness that this entails is out of this dimension. 2. How much Malcolm loved and cared for baby Lyra. Kid did good. Good job, kid. 3. Alice and being generally feisty. She was the most real character to me in this story. She wasn't beautiful. In fact, she was even described as ratty at one point. I appreciated that and also her strength, tenacity, as well as her vulnerability at times. And now for the longer list, What I didn't like: 1. Nothing happened. Okay, so obviously some stuff happened, but for a 450 page book, nothing happened. For the majority of the book, it's just about getting Lyra from one part of town during a flood to the next. Pullman said somewhere that this book wasn't going to be a prequel or a sequel, but an EQUAL. He lied. If this isn't a prequel, I don't know what is. 2. Baby Lyra Yes, this is something I liked and something I disliked. At first, I was all: AWWWW. SHE'S SO PWECIOUS! But then it slowly dawned on me that she was going to be a baby throughout the whole book. I swear to goosh that I read somewhere that Pullman said the story would follow Lyra from the ages of 4 YEARS OLD to 20 YEARS OLD. Am I making this up? I honestly am so confused, because she was 6 months old throughout the whole dang thing. I was hoping that by the time she turned 20, she and Will would find a way to be together again. EXCUSE THE SHIT OUT OF ME FOR DARING TO DREAM! All I want is to live in a world where Lyra and Will can be together. 3. The dark tone. I mean, obviously Pullman includes some controversial topics in his works. In His Dark Materials, there were obviously dark things happening and some religious boundaries being crossed, but it was so magical, I didn't give a flying fluff. I honestly wasn't offended, just amazed at his creativity, genius and originality. I WAS ACTUALLY OFFENDED AND PUT OFF A NUMBER OF TIMES IN THIS BOOK. I am no super Christian, but what happened with St. Alexander was effed the fuck up! Having a bad group of Christians go to all the schools and tell the kids a story about a kid who told on his parents and got them hung for not being a Christian and then being made a saint is a low blow to Christians, I feel. Honestly, it seems like Pullman is getting bitter in his old age. There are also instances of RAPE, STRONG LANGUAGE, MURDER, FLOATING DEAD BODIES and a WEIRD NAKED BREAST FEEDING/BABY THEFT SCENE that mildly disturbed me. 4. Where is the magic? I'm not talking about spells and wizardry and whatnot, I'm talking about that special feeling you get when all of the elements of a story come together to create pure magic in your heart and soul. There really wasn't anything about this book that made it any different than any other book in the world. Nothing special to set it apart from all the rest like His Dark Materials had. No talking armored polar bears. No nothing. Except for a weird, delusional naked fairy lady who is in serious need of some mental help, but she doesn't count because I'm trying my best to erase her from my memory. 5. It took me forever to get through. Listen, some people read one book a week and, for them, that is amazing. I'm the kind of person that likes to get through about 3 books a week. Somehow, this 450 page book took me an entire week to finish. And it took away my excitement for reading the entire time. I kind of dreaded picking it back up, because I was afraid that the next disturbing thing to happen would lessen my opinion of the original trilogy somehow. I don't think it did, thankfully. I'm just going to mentally compartmentalize these two series into different categories, and not let this dud dampen my appreciation for HDM. I think that I will probably pick up the next book in the series, although probably from the library as to not waste my money, because I've come this far and I'm still holding out hope that it will get better. After all, it wasn't until the third book in the original series that my soul was shattered. You never know. I might even like the next book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Emily (Books with Emily Fox)

    3.5? I was excited to read more from that world. I have to say the book left me a bit... unsatisfied? I wanted more and I will continue reading this series but it mostly felt like an intro, not a full book. However, it made me want to reread His Dark Materials ASAP!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lisa of Troy

    Philip Pullman is my hero. He is the pinnacle of how an author can make you care about a character. He took a HUGE risk by not relying on established fan-favorite characters to sell this new book. Instead, we have a new character named Malcolm who meets Lyra as an infant. We have a front row seat as Malcolm embarks on many new adventures. This book was page-turning. I caught myself up at 3:30 am reading this book. It was very captivating. Here is the link to my more in-depth review (admittedly o Philip Pullman is my hero. He is the pinnacle of how an author can make you care about a character. He took a HUGE risk by not relying on established fan-favorite characters to sell this new book. Instead, we have a new character named Malcolm who meets Lyra as an infant. We have a front row seat as Malcolm embarks on many new adventures. This book was page-turning. I caught myself up at 3:30 am reading this book. It was very captivating. Here is the link to my more in-depth review (admittedly one of Philip Pullman's biggest fans): https://youtu.be/SlDgdk-AyXQ Connect With Me! Twitter: https://twitter.com/Lisa_of_Troy YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvmS... Facebook: https://facebook.com/LisaofTroy Email: [email protected]

  8. 4 out of 5

    Phrynne

    This was really good. I liked it better than His Dark Materials. The characters were better drawn, the story was more interesting and it really seemed not to be aimed at the same market. There were references to sexual activity and rape and some of the scenes were quite brutal. Not really appropriate for children at all. However I enjoyed it very much indeed. I must admit that credit should be given to Michael Sheen, the narrator of the audiobook. His impersonation of the laugh of a rabid jackal This was really good. I liked it better than His Dark Materials. The characters were better drawn, the story was more interesting and it really seemed not to be aimed at the same market. There were references to sexual activity and rape and some of the scenes were quite brutal. Not really appropriate for children at all. However I enjoyed it very much indeed. I must admit that credit should be given to Michael Sheen, the narrator of the audiobook. His impersonation of the laugh of a rabid jackal was a masterpiece! I even replayed it:) He did all of the other characters really well too. As someone who used to live between Oxford and London, I really appreciated the journey and I could visualise the river breaking its banks and spreading out across all those fields. And then there were the daemons and the magical creatures and of course Lyra herself, in this story an eight month old baby, but already aware beyond her age. Wonderful. Oh and don't forget those poor nuns who seemed to suffer more than they should have. I enjoyed La Belle Sauvage so much and can't wait now for the next book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Simona B

    EDIT 29/05/2017: TITLE TITLE TITLE. IT IS SO LOVELY. AND THERE IS A BLURB TOO! EDIT 15/02/2017: This comes out in October -do you know what that means? It means that Simona is going to re-read all three books of His Dark Materials before then! Yay!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    4ish stars. My first experience with the Pullman-verse. I never read The Golden Compass, but reading this makes me want to. Malcolm is a great character, and the adventure he embarks on is exciting and interesting. There are some great secondary characters as well, particularly Hannah Relf. I wonder if/hope that they appear in the original series?? The tone is dark and adult for a book obviously meant for a younger audience (including f-bombs, sexual assault), but it's still very much a YA/child 4ish stars. My first experience with the Pullman-verse. I never read The Golden Compass, but reading this makes me want to. Malcolm is a great character, and the adventure he embarks on is exciting and interesting. There are some great secondary characters as well, particularly Hannah Relf. I wonder if/hope that they appear in the original series?? The tone is dark and adult for a book obviously meant for a younger audience (including f-bombs, sexual assault), but it's still very much a YA/children's book. I'm sure it's more enjoyable in the context of the larger universe, and it can't really be read as a standalone; it begs to be read as a prequel to the original series. I guess I need to add another series to my TBR pile. Woof. The audio by Michael Sheen is really awesome. It's too bad he doesn't narrate the original series, but I hear good things about the audio for that as well. Posted in Mr. Philip's Library

  11. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    The flood changed everything. ... extreme weather had its own state of mind ... I'm usually weary of prequels of any kind. It often sounds like a movie company, author or whoever wants to cash in on past successes. In case of Philip Pullman, I was a bit more optimistic - especially after reading His Dark Materials only last month (I had only known the very first book up to that point). Also, Pullman was indeed asked if this was a prequel, to which he gave the perfect answer, calling i The flood changed everything. ... extreme weather had its own state of mind ... I'm usually weary of prequels of any kind. It often sounds like a movie company, author or whoever wants to cash in on past successes. In case of Philip Pullman, I was a bit more optimistic - especially after reading His Dark Materials only last month (I had only known the very first book up to that point). Also, Pullman was indeed asked if this was a prequel, to which he gave the perfect answer, calling it an "equel". Besides, I was curious where he would take us readers as it was known in advance that we'd meet baby Lyra and a few well-known characters alongside a host of new ones here. And we did. La Belle Sauvage is the name of a canoe that belongs to 11-year-old Malcolm who lives with his parents. They have an inn near Oxford and it is there (as well as at a priory where Malcolm helps the nuns) that he hears strange rumours and makes a discovery that will change his life forever. He is sucked into a whirlwind of intrigue and religious oppression, becoming a little spy even. And he is shown an alethiometer. At some point, he and a girl named Alice, who works at the inn, have to save baby Lyra from the forces converging around her exactly at the moment a huge flood sets in. The rest of the book is a wonderfully strange quest through a half-drowned world to get away from the bad guys and save innocent little Lyra and her daemon (which is a quest to save every inquisitve mind that advocates free speech and a free spirit). It was very gratifying to read about (view spoiler)[Father Corum and his daemon when they were young(er) and about them beating the shit out of Bonneville - although I felt so much pity for his poor hyena daemon! But that only meant that the mental illness Bonneville must have suffered from was portrayed in a most delightfully unique way (hide spoiler)] . Pullman even (view spoiler)[made the canoe herself a character in this book, at least to me, which also explains why I was so dismayed at her destruction in the end - I probably would have been much happier if she had been tied up somewhere underneath Jordan College in the end, but I understand that she had to go as the end of the book marked a new beginning for Malcolm anyway (hide spoiler)] . What is once again so remarkable (apart from the wonderful daemons) is Pullman's ability to weave in so many ideas and social/political criticisms into the narrative without it ever getting boring or preachy. The League of Alexander as a nod to the Red Scares in the US and the SS/Stasi in Germany, respectively, but also the trademark criticism of religious institutions and their despotic and totalitarian way of stifling speculation and enquiry are just two examples of this author's mastery. I was very glad to have recognized Malcolm almost at once from the later books and was so pleased about how he was portrayed and put in the spotlight here ((view spoiler)[and that he was made to be the one giving Lyra her alethiometer in fact (hide spoiler)] ). Ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances rising to the challenge to do the right things even if it is dangerous and hard. As the other three books, this too gets metaphysical but never so much that the reader (no matter the age) can't follow. In fact, Pullman always makes sure to balance the science aspect with folklore (in this case the king's roads and fae realm especially). By the way, as His Dark Materials was a nod to Milton, so this new trilogy apparently is a nod to Spenser’s The Faerie Queene which is even quoted in the end. Or maybe it's just this first book, I'm not sure yet, because the second one will make a huge time jump to 10 years after Lyra comes back from the Arctic at the end of the previous trilogy (this second installment is already finished and is scheduled to be published in about a year). I can't wait to see where Pullman is taking us next because one thing is for sure: he never does not have anything to say! P.S.: This version is the signed hardcopy but I did also listen to the wonderful Michael Sheen narrating the audiobook and was enchanted.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I'm not sure how much is nostalgia for His Dark Materials, but I really liked this book. I wish that I could remember more of The Faerie Queene I'm not sure how much is nostalgia for His Dark Materials, but I really liked this book. I wish that I could remember more of The Faerie Queene

  13. 4 out of 5

    Natasha Hurley-Walker

    Short version: Tedious and utterly unnecessary prequel to the brilliant Dark Materials series. DO NOT READ. Long version: (view spoiler)[Where to even begin with this turkey? The first half reads like Pullman had a word count he wanted to meet and he would write anything to reach it, knowing that fans would lap it up regardless. Even writing about what characters were having for dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. Or snacks. Or to drink. So much repetitive, unnecessary text! So many characters sitting Short version: Tedious and utterly unnecessary prequel to the brilliant Dark Materials series. DO NOT READ. Long version: (view spoiler)[Where to even begin with this turkey? The first half reads like Pullman had a word count he wanted to meet and he would write anything to reach it, knowing that fans would lap it up regardless. Even writing about what characters were having for dinner. Or breakfast. Or lunch. Or snacks. Or to drink. So much repetitive, unnecessary text! So many characters sitting around and telling each other what they know, and what they just found out. So much... BOREDOM. So little happens in the first half that it could have been about a third of the length. Or you could even start reading about halfway through, and you'd probably pick up enough of what was going on. Not that I can really recommend the second half, either. Sure, some stuff happens. But it's a confused, tone-deaf, tedious (that word again) mess. The first half sets up so little magic that when some magical episodes finally happen, they seem completely out-of-place, disconnected from the main story. Malcolm and Alice don't react the way they should given their mundane humdrum lives up to this point. And the stakes continue to feel incredibly low because we know Lyra survives. The worst three chapters would probably be the best if this book had set them up and then used them properly, to wit: - The creepy fairy who breastfeeds Lyra, a scene which Pullman manages to write as if he is utterly disgusted with this basic functionality of female mammal bodies. Why is she so stupid? Why is her food magical? Did the eggs come from magic hens? Has she just been standing on top of a hill for a thousand years waiting for a flood? Why do we care about any of this? - The "forgetting" party where people have left their worries on the other side of the fog. Why is this underwater? How did these people get here? Why is the food real? (They take some with them afterwards!) Have the servants forgotten too? If not, who the hell are they? And most importantly, how does Bonneville end up at the house and why can he talk to the forgetters? (More on Bonneville later); - The witch who literally drops in and out of the story to remind them that Lyra is the subject of a prophecy which will be important. (But doesn't say that this will be in TEN YEARS' TIME.) A lot of the second half is also about baby care during a flood. I was so sick of reading "them ones that you throw away" in reference to disposable nappies, and hearing about them mixing and heating "milk powder" (top tip: that would starve a six-month-old; they need breastmilk or formula). Did there really need to be TWO pharmacy looting scenes? Two? It's just appallingly boring to read about. Unlike the original series, the worldbuilding is halfhearted. The Magisterium seems to be split into about a million small independent factions who are all working around and about each other to find/hide Lyra. There's also a semi-secret government service who are also trying to find/hide Lyra. For some completely unexplained reasons, both sides wait until Lyra is no longer in the place where they all know she is, and then suddenly to try to kidnap her. And then they mysteriously have loads of boats, and perfect communications, and perfect ideas of where she would have gone, even in the middle of the greatest natural disaster ever to hit this version of the UK. Doesn't anyone have anything better to do? If she was so important, why not kidnap her before the flood? As for the flood itself, it's just... odd. The death and damage count seems to be much lower than the level of water would imply (they see one dead body; I sincerely believe there would be tens of thousands in that part of the world, not to mention the animals...). Everyone is very chilled-out about it. "Oh hey, are you OK? There's a shelter down the street. Please don't loot that building." "Oh hi, we've been living in a cave for a few weeks, want to come join us?" And if you need to contact the Magisterium, you can find your contact even if you're an eight-year-old boy living in a cave. Oh and everyone knows who Lyra is and who she's travelling with. Someone put out a magic APB? Bonneville is the crappiest, most ridiculous villain I have ever had the misfortune of reading about. So he's a brilliant physicist but he also has a creepy weird nasty hyena who basically alerts all other adults that he is a nasty sexual deviant. Er, how did he get funding if he creeps everyone out all the time? And who the hell trained a PhD physicist in extreme combat techniques? Or was it the other way around? Why did a hardened mercenary get into physics? Either way it's completely bonkers. How does he read the aletheiometer? More to the point, how the HELL does he keep finding Malcolm, Alice, and Lyra WITHOUT the aletheiometer? Why, when he does find them, does he casually murder a fully grown and armed adult male, but whisper ghost stories to try to defeat a bunch of children? Speaking of weird sexual deviants, let's talk about the sex in this book. Or sorry, I should probably say, the paedophilia and rape in this book. Because there are absolutely no normal, loving, realistic examples of sexual relations, only frankly quite nasty scenes of and references to paedophilia and rape. Bonneville apparently will have his way with any and every female regardless of age and consent. And Oakley Street are happy to use kids as bait for paedophiles in order to blackmail Magisterium members. (Not that that would even work, because a) when has the Catholic church ever cared about paedophilia and b) these are people who PERFORM SOUL-DESTROYING EXPERIMENTS ON CHILDREN; they'd probably just give the guy a promotion.) Compared to the sweet and YA-appropriate romances and references to sex in the original series, this book is sickening and depressing. (Also, what's with all the swearing??) Which leads me to characters. Malcolm is THE MOST naive eleven-year-old I have ever seen. Despite working at an inn (read: a medieval motel) he has somehow completely oblivious to normal male-female relations and has not the slightest idea of where babies come from. I'm sorry but... BOLLOCKS. If he worked on a distant, same-sex, vegetarian farm, maybe? If he grew up with monks? But working at an INN? Utter tripe that he'd be as totally ignorant as he is here. Despite this naivety, he can pick up, and *make progress with* the quantum mechanics of consciousness just over a few conversations. And he can fix literally anything (the first half gives about 4,000,000 examples, in excruciating detail). Oh, and even though he gets scared, he absolutely always does the right thing, and has trouble telling any lies at all. He is... totally and utterly unbelievable. Alice is a boring cypher. She may have suffered some form of abuse in the past but Pullman doesn't dwell and she's left in the background changing nappies for 99% of the book, only popping up occasionally to be further abused or once or twice to swear and kick things. The adult characters only exist for exposition and to move the story along (or, more often, exposit the story at each other). And don't get me started on the ridiculous name dropping of characters from the previous books. A totally pointless scene with Mrs Coulter. A few with Lord Asriel. Way too much random focus on Bud and Coram. And everyone seems to have had some kind of personality transplant from what I remember of the previous books. Coulter wants to find out where Lyra is... but she only just gave her up for adoption?! Asriel wants to spend a sentimental evening with his baby daughter... but in the original series he's a ruthless bastard, not sentimental at all. I just can't even. All the magic seems to be working slightly differently, too. People routinely talk to each others' daemons. When did that become a thing? The daemons interact with the world a lot more, apparently even urinating all over it (what? do they drink water as well? is the pee magic?) You can now separate from your daemon just by walking up a hill, no River of Styx necessary. Aletheiometers can be checked out from your local library and there's no automatic excommunication and death sentence. Weird spangly things happen to Malcolm's eyes and aren't explained. The characters speculate on what happens to daemons when people die, their daemons freak out about it, and then when they MURDER A GUY in the next chapter, they don't check to see what happened to his daemon, even though the weirdness of his daemon had been built up for the whole book. Shonky, shonky, shonky. To use some movie analogies, this book is like Prometheus, or even *shudder* the Phantom Menace. It exists to explain some things that really never needed explaining; in this case, how Lyra got from being a lovechild of Coulter and Asriel to being an "orphan" at Jordan College. So everything just happens in order for her to move from the first point to the last point. It's not organic. It's not innovative. And worst, it's not even interesting. It's pages and pages of people sitting around talking to each other, falling asleep, and changing nappies. My youngest sister and I read this book at the same time and we both started out with very high hopes. We were being super careful to avoid spoiling anything for our middle sister. But by the end, we were angrily whispering to each other, and making increasingly obvious references to what was going on, until we turned to our sister and said: honestly, don't read it. Instead, reread His Dark Materials, and pretend this aberration was never written, let alone printed. (hide spoiler)]

  14. 5 out of 5

    nemo the emo ☠️ (pagesandprozac)

    objectively speaking, if you divorce it from HDM, it's probably a 5 star. however, considering how utterly superb HDM is, and considering this a prequel, giving it the same score would imply that i found them to be on a par, or at least nearly so. and i did not. i liked it a lot, but it just wasn't, y'know, His Dark Materials. typically good pullman-esque character building though, and i am very excited to see where the story goes next. objectively speaking, if you divorce it from HDM, it's probably a 5 star. however, considering how utterly superb HDM is, and considering this a prequel, giving it the same score would imply that i found them to be on a par, or at least nearly so. and i did not. i liked it a lot, but it just wasn't, y'know, His Dark Materials. typically good pullman-esque character building though, and i am very excited to see where the story goes next.

  15. 5 out of 5

    ✨ jami ✨

    must a book be good? Is it not enough for me to just enjoy the daemons and get excited when a character from the original trilogy appears?? rtc

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    reread September 2019 Pure magic. Wonderful! It feels simpler than Northern Lights, but that may be because we are already used to this alternative Oxford. There are a few new elements of fantasy that I hope will come into play in the sequel. Happily the sequel is already written and should be published later this year. Pullman said in an interview that this was neither a prequel or a sequel, but an equel. But it read like a prequel to me. Malcolm was a most endearing character. I read this with w reread September 2019 Pure magic. Wonderful! It feels simpler than Northern Lights, but that may be because we are already used to this alternative Oxford. There are a few new elements of fantasy that I hope will come into play in the sequel. Happily the sequel is already written and should be published later this year. Pullman said in an interview that this was neither a prequel or a sequel, but an equel. But it read like a prequel to me. Malcolm was a most endearing character. I read this with whispersync and the audio was absolutely excellent- especially the hyena who was particularly insane sounding! If you liked His Dark Materials, this will be right up your Street. Recommended.

  17. 4 out of 5

    James

    ‘La Belle Sauvage’ (2017) is the first part in Philip Pullman’s ‘The Book of Dust’ – companion trilogy and prequel to his much revered and critically acclaimed ‘His Dark Materials’ series (1995-2000). As such, ‘Belle Sauvage’ is set in the same parallel world(s) of an alternative Oxford, London, England et al, where we find ourselves again in the realm of daemons, alethiometers, witches and of course Dust. The story of ‘Belle Sauvage’ centres on Malcolm and Alice, their relationship, the quest or ‘La Belle Sauvage’ (2017) is the first part in Philip Pullman’s ‘The Book of Dust’ – companion trilogy and prequel to his much revered and critically acclaimed ‘His Dark Materials’ series (1995-2000). As such, ‘Belle Sauvage’ is set in the same parallel world(s) of an alternative Oxford, London, England et al, where we find ourselves again in the realm of daemons, alethiometers, witches and of course Dust. The story of ‘Belle Sauvage’ centres on Malcolm and Alice, their relationship, the quest or odyssey that they find themselves on and along with their foundling, the backdrop of a near apocalyptic flood and an extremely dark, evil and unrelenting pursuer – this all feels very biblical and elemental in nature. With Malcolm and Alice – there are clear echoes (presumably intended) of Lyra and Will from ‘Dark Materials’. As with ‘Dark Materials’ this is also a coming of age story, about growing up, relationships and the advent of emerging adolescence. There is much here also about the rise of religious fundamentalism and the fight against totalitarianism, which is simply but very powerfully told. Although ‘Belle Sauvage’ explores and expands on similar themes to those of ‘Dark Materials’ – ‘Belle Sauvage’ feels somehow more grown-up, more adult than ‘Dark Materials’. In many senses, Pullman’s new book feels perhaps even darker in nature and certainly more gothic than the preceding trilogy. Unsurprisingly ‘Belle Sauvage’ is written with the literary skill and dexterity that we’d expect from the accomplished pen of Philip Pullman – although there is nothing specifically new here thus far that has been added to the world so brilliantly created in the original ‘Dark Materials’ trilogy. Neither does ‘Belle Sauvage’ seem to possess the depth and complexity that were evident in ‘Dark Materials’ – having said that, ‘Belle Sauvage’ is of course merely book one in ‘The Book of Dust’ trilogy and as such – we have no real idea of where Pullman is taking us with this new set of stories… Well paced and compellingly delivered - let's see where Pullman will take us next..

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brierly

    We return into the world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials with The Book of Dust, a companion triology that begins with La Belle Sauvage, taking place during Lyra's infancy. As with the original trilogy, The Book of Dust shines when it comes to world-building and classical adaptation. Anyone who has started The Golden Compass will be drawn in by daemons, animal-like creatures that represent your soul. Your daemon shape-shifts throughout your childhood before settling into one form, a lifel We return into the world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials with The Book of Dust, a companion triology that begins with La Belle Sauvage, taking place during Lyra's infancy. As with the original trilogy, The Book of Dust shines when it comes to world-building and classical adaptation. Anyone who has started The Golden Compass will be drawn in by daemons, animal-like creatures that represent your soul. Your daemon shape-shifts throughout your childhood before settling into one form, a lifelong companion that comforts and protects you. And as His Dark Materials rewrites Paradise Lost; so does The Book of Dust and The Faerie Queene. I had a unique reading experience with this one... I felt like I was rushing through it, desperate on unraveling its mysteries. But the beauty is in the details. From the beginning, Lyra remains the protagonist, despite the POV from Malcolm. All events pivot around Lyra and her infancy with Pantalimon is truly wonderful. If you have ever wondered about birth, death, and daemonology, The Book of Dust will answer some of your questions. Ultimately, though, I still do not like the way Pullman writes youth romantic relationships. He writes well when discussing an individual child but when he starts talking about young love, whether in this book or in The Amber Spyglass, it doesn't sit right. Take it from someone married to her high school sweetheart. So what happens in the narrative? Spoilers aside, we know Lyra spends her youth under scholastic sanctuary at Jordan College, Oxford. She's a highly coveted child that will fulfill a heretical prophecy, so numerous organizations want her dead or in captivity. So that's where she is headed... Pullman faces the impossible prequel task of writing towards a set ending. Therefore, since most of the book follows a heist-novel pacing (in which infant Lyra is the grand prize), the suspense is diluted because child Lyra will be safe from imminent harm. But as the next two novels in the trilogy are set post-Lyra's Oxford, I sense that La Belle Sauvage exists primarily as exposition. You discover more about Dust and alethiometers, as well as the Magisterium. And The Secret Commonwealth picks up when Lyra is 20 and an undergraduate... how exciting! Malcolm (and Alice) clearly care deeply for Lyra, so I hope they can continue to influence her life in a positive manner. Final note: I am also reading now that Malcolm is featured in Lyra's Oxford which I plan to read before the next release.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    BABT http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099xz23 Description: Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them, a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . . 1/10: We open in Oxford, at The Trout Inn, with a pot boy named Malcolm Polstead, and t BABT http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b099xz23 Description: Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them, a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . . 1/10: We open in Oxford, at The Trout Inn, with a pot boy named Malcolm Polstead, and the whisper of a mysterious baby girl, hidden at the local convent, in the care of the nuns... The Trout, Godstow, Oxfordshire 2/10: the whisper of a mysterious baby girl, hidden at the local convent, in the care of the nuns... 3/10: Malcolm begins work for Dr Relf 4/10: Malcolm finds an unexpected visitor at The Trout, a man whose dæmon is a snow leopard Godstow Abbey The ruins of a 12th century abbey, or nunnery, stand in a meadow beside the River Thames at Godstow, just north of the city. Godstow Abbey is famed as the burial place of 'Fair Rosamund' de Clifford, Henry II's mistress. 5/10: Malcolm discovers Bonneville and his terrifying hyena dæmon lurking around the priory Lord Asriel 6/10: Malcolm returns to see Alice at the priory, to discover who has been helping Bonneville 7/10: Dr Relf braves the flood to bring news to Jordan College. 8/10: Alice and Malcolm discover that Bonneville is not the only one hunting them 9/10: On a mysterious island, Malcolm and Alice must protect Lyra from an otherwordly stranger 10/10: As La Belle Savage heads towards London, Malcolm and Alice must find a place of safety. See also:Philip Pullman offers first look at His Dark Materials follow-up The Book of Dust

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    A prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy, with Lyra as an 8 month old baby? I've waited nearly 20 years for this book, and the anticipation during the countdown to release nearly killed me. I also knew going into this that I shouldn't compare it to the trilogy, and for that reason alone I put off reading it. I shouldn't of though, because as with everything Phillip Pullman writes I fell in love with these characters and this world. The tone of the novel is much darker, I feel, than His Dark Ma A prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy, with Lyra as an 8 month old baby? I've waited nearly 20 years for this book, and the anticipation during the countdown to release nearly killed me. I also knew going into this that I shouldn't compare it to the trilogy, and for that reason alone I put off reading it. I shouldn't of though, because as with everything Phillip Pullman writes I fell in love with these characters and this world. The tone of the novel is much darker, I feel, than His Dark Materials. Malcolm is the same age as Lyra in the trilogy, but the themes addressed are that little bit more intense. Lyra for the most part was protected and treasured from abject harm, whereas Malcolm and Alice are faced with a number of socially immoral confrontations. I think where Phillip Pullman excels is in his young adult/child main characters. He never shies away from making them curious, complex and forcing them into these awful situations. Malcolm is no exception. He's deeply interesting, intelligent yet naive and likeable. There's something essentially very pure about him and his love for this baby. Alice is more complex. At first she comes across as very off putting, snide and mean. But we see as time develops that this is doen to a deep seated amount of self loathing and doubt she holds about herself. It takes Malcolm to bring out her good side. I couldn't mention characters withiut bringing up the man with the hyena deamon. Everything about him screamed revulsion, loathing and horror. Her contempt for life, constantly knawing on her stump, cackling and voiding her bladder and his (essentially) self harm from hitting her made me feel reviled. It's been a while since I've had such strong contempt for a character, and I'm honestly still not entirely sure I have the full feel of who he is as a character. He was very interesting. I also loved the little introductions and expansion on familiar characters Farder Coram, Lord Asriel and Dr. Relf. My little heart did a leap when we see Farder Coram and his beautiful cat deamon again, younger and more whole than when Lyra meets him in the future, and it's alluded we'll meet him again in The Secret Commonwealth. Mrs Coulter is also mentioned a number of times, and we see her once in the presence of Malcolm and Dr. Relf which was wonderful to read. I would have loved to have seen more of her, and see more of the relationship she seems to share with the man with the hyena deamon, as I felt this wasn't fully explored or explained. The plot itself feels like two distinct novels. The first part follows in a very similar vein to Northern Lights and Lyra's Oxford, as we discover more of Oxford and its inhabitants as Malcolm becomes embroiled in a murder mystery with spies and secret acorns. It's quite slow in its unravelling and presentation of the action, and I admit I did struggle at first to get to know these characters. The second part, called 'The Flood' is more dynamic and I enjoyed it immensely. I loved seeing Malcolm and Alice's relationship develop, and the numerous strange situations they find themselves in as they try and keep Lyra safe. It does delve into the realms of magical realism near the end, and went a little 'out there' which I wasn't necessarily expecting, but I still really enjoyed it. I did think the ending was a little abrupt, and left a few doors open as to Malcolm and Alice's fate in the future, but it also left me desperate for the next book. This was worth the wait.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kai

    For everyone who hasn't yet heard the news and is desperate to dive back into Lyra's Oxford: this trilogy is going to be a thing. Find more of my books on Instagram For everyone who hasn't yet heard the news and is desperate to dive back into Lyra's Oxford: this trilogy is going to be a thing. Find more of my books on Instagram

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gary

    From the moment its existence was announced, there hasn’t been a novel I’ve looked forward to more than La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in The Book of Dust, Philip Pullman’s prequel trilogy to His Dark Materials. I had little doubt the book would be good; the pleasant surprise is that it turned out to be great, if not quite the unparalleled classic that is The Golden Compass/Northern Lights. Set a decade or so before, La Belle Sauvage is the story of eleven-year-old Malcolm, who, with the hel From the moment its existence was announced, there hasn’t been a novel I’ve looked forward to more than La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in The Book of Dust, Philip Pullman’s prequel trilogy to His Dark Materials. I had little doubt the book would be good; the pleasant surprise is that it turned out to be great, if not quite the unparalleled classic that is The Golden Compass/Northern Lights. Set a decade or so before, La Belle Sauvage is the story of eleven-year-old Malcolm, who, with the help of teenager Alice, must protect an uncannily charismatic infant named Lyra from a psychotic disgraced scientist, agents of the Consistorial Court of Discipline, and an extraordinary natural disaster with fantastical and frightening implications. Like most prequels, it is best understood in the context of the stories written before it, but new readers should enjoy it all the same - it is a classically structured chivalric romance, in which a hero devoted to his ideals sets out on an adventure full of wonder and thrills. La Belle Sauvage is often dark and scary and violent, though still appropriate for (less squeamish) middle grade readers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Quann

    I'd like to say, right at the top of the review, that a three-starred review does not mean I didn't like this book. Pullman's original His Dark Materials trilogy made an immense impact on me when I was younger, maybe 12 or 13, and there's much of the same to be enjoyed here. Yet, for all the joy I had in returning to a world filled with daemons, religious tyranny, and Dust, La Belle Sauvage does not land with the same impact as I remembered all that time ago. I'll admit that this is partially my I'd like to say, right at the top of the review, that a three-starred review does not mean I didn't like this book. Pullman's original His Dark Materials trilogy made an immense impact on me when I was younger, maybe 12 or 13, and there's much of the same to be enjoyed here. Yet, for all the joy I had in returning to a world filled with daemons, religious tyranny, and Dust, La Belle Sauvage does not land with the same impact as I remembered all that time ago. I'll admit that this is partially my fault. I failed to read even a Wikipedia summary of the original trilogy, which left me scratching my head when objects like the alethiometer land on the page. In fact, it took quite a while for me to remember that the titular compass of the first novel in the original trilogy was one such object. I think I would have found the book more rewarding had I reviewed the mythology of the original books. The relationship of various characters to one another (barring Lyra and her parents) also took some time to sort out, and I left the book wondering who appeared in the original trilogy and who was entirely new. Despite all of this, it is hard not to be charmed by new lead Malcolm Polstead who bursts on to the scene with precocious intelligence, a moral compass that always points true north, and a bevy of practical skills. While working at his parents' inn, Malcolm begins to overhear conversations meant to be kept quiet, and slowly insinuates himself into a game of secret societies who each have designs upon baby Lyra. Malcolm's warm disposition and curiosity makes for a compelling young protagonist, and I can imagine relating to his struggles when I was his age. Unfortunately, I found myself more taken with the adults who stew in the background, hatching plans that concern the dramatic phenomenon of the original trilogy. Perhaps most surprising of all is the revelation that the first half of the book is more or less a spy novel. Malcolm is recruited by a character who (I believe) was in the original trilogy in order to understand the Church's plans for Lyra. From there the book segues into a story of Malcolm being forced to steal Lyra away on his canoe, La Belle Sauvage. The second half definitely reads a lot quicker than the first and suggests some interesting wrinkles to the world as I remember it. The book does feel as if it could have been shaved down to a more workmanlike final draft. There are passages that delve into the entirety of Malcolm's thought process that I found tedious as the book went on. With this said, the book is not aimed at seasoned, 20-something readers, it's meant for a younger audience who are beginning to come to an understanding of motives, thought processes, etc. It would have been a bit nicer if the books had aged up with their audience, but I would have been endlessly pleased to discover and unfolding second chapter of the series when I finished the first trilogy all those years ago. La Belle Sauvage ends abruptly with the promise that more is on the way. Indeed, before reading this book I heard the sequel, The Secret Commonwealth, would take place 20 years after this book, and follow a young-adult Lyra after the end of the original trilogy. Colour me intrigued at this exciting trilogy structure that moves around in time. I do hope we see more of Malcolm and Alice in the sequel, and I hope Pullman gets into the nitty-gritty of what he's been cooking up after respectably setting the table in La Belle Sauvage. What's more, three and a half stars gives the sequels a lot of room to blow my socks off! Here's looking forward to the second instalment of The Book of Dust sometime in 2018. [3.5 stars]

  24. 5 out of 5

    ~Poppy~

    “War asks many people to do unreasonable things.” “War asks many people to do unreasonable things.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kaitlin

    This is a book which has been long anticipated by most. I read His Dark Materials both as a child and as an adult just a year or so ago. I loved the series both times through, and so I was very excited to hear that this book was going to be set before the HDM series and follow the young childhood of Lyra and the guardians who have protected her... In this story we're following a young boy called Malcolm who is the main protagonist. He's a sweet-natured if inquisitive child, and the adventure he g This is a book which has been long anticipated by most. I read His Dark Materials both as a child and as an adult just a year or so ago. I loved the series both times through, and so I was very excited to hear that this book was going to be set before the HDM series and follow the young childhood of Lyra and the guardians who have protected her... In this story we're following a young boy called Malcolm who is the main protagonist. He's a sweet-natured if inquisitive child, and the adventure he goes on in this story is all thanks to love. He's a young boy who is keen to learn and curious to a fault, which makes him an asset to those around him. He's forever trying to protect people he loves, and he enjoys exploring in his canoe: La Belle Sauvage. The story starts when three men turn up at the pub where Malcolm works and which his family run. He's curious about them and they start asking him questions about a young baby who may be nearby. As things unravel we find out more about who the baby is and why she is in the area where Malcolm lives. We also find out a lot more about the properties of Dust and the theory behind what it is, along with more on the Alethiometer and how to read it. I would say this book is really an exposition about some of the things we touch on in the HDM series, and I think that this is all set up for what will happen in the later books. Another element I enjoyed about this one were the bizarre twists in the second half. We end up getting some magic and fey influence, and this was something I didn't quite expect and found pretty interesting. Particularly the main characters visit a land where they seem invisible to everyone and then the Giant of this land tells them why it is this way and the reasoning was highly interesting to me. Daemons are again a big part of Lyra's world, and seeing the way they are so interwoven and vital in this society was great. I really love the Daemons and the way they portray so much about their human counterparts. In the end, I think this is a very solid if slightly different story. It starts out fairly slow and the second half is very fast. I do think it felt quite simple at times, and I wanted a few more surprises earlier on, but I enjoyed it a lot and I will certainly keep reading the series. 4*s overall.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jan-Maat

    I am not quite what I can say about this one, I found it fantastically good fun, a plot driven children's adventure story. I thought that the language was a bit simpler (view spoiler)[ but swearyer (hide spoiler)] than in His Dark Materials, maybe my recollection of that series is wrong though, or maybe I am right and this book is aimed at a slighter younger audience, but then less of the background setting is explained, for example the relationship between each person and their Daemon, so I thi I am not quite what I can say about this one, I found it fantastically good fun, a plot driven children's adventure story. I thought that the language was a bit simpler (view spoiler)[ but swearyer (hide spoiler)] than in His Dark Materials, maybe my recollection of that series is wrong though, or maybe I am right and this book is aimed at a slighter younger audience, but then less of the background setting is explained, for example the relationship between each person and their Daemon, so I think this one works better if you have read His Dark Materials, but on the third hand (view spoiler)[ assuming that you have one (hide spoiler)] if you have read that series then that removes what could be a source of plot tension. Anyhow, this book is set some years before the events of His Dark Materials, Lyra is a baby, a few months old, we meet some other old acquaintances, proportionately younger, but the story mainly concerns some new characters who give us a different perspective, one much less privileged than Lyra's showing that there is an even greater degree of, or perhaps simply more obvious, inequality in the alternative Britain in this book. The first part is an engaging story of espionage, the second sweeps us along in a great flood that transforms the Thames valley, this reminded me slightly of The Dark is Rising in which a great flood in the Thames valley similarly reveals a mythic landscape. It struck me how profoundly religious Pullman's Lyra chronicles are, this alternative Britain is full of mythic and supernatural beings of the sort which in actual Britain are mostly only found on the page, witches, (view spoiler)[ dangerous (hide spoiler)] fairies, river wardens in the service of Old Father Thames, and nuns (view spoiler)[ in sinister, principled, and insufficiently principled varieties (hide spoiler)] . Again as in His Dark Materials this is a moral universe mostly painted in shades and half tones. While there are clear 'bad guys' - organised religion and its supporters, those opposed to them are mostly shown to be morally compromised too, but then we're familiar from His Dark Materials that liars and murderers are also heroes - in the right context.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Peter Boyle

    What a joy it is to return to the world of daemons and alethiometers! The original His Dark Materials trilogy is one of the greatest reading experiences I have ever known, and I could not have been more excited at the prospect of a new episode. I am delighted to report that it did not disappoint. Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead is the hero of this tale. A kind, intelligent boy, he lives above The Trout inn, which is owned by his parents. Malcolm spends his evenings serving guests at the pub, alo What a joy it is to return to the world of daemons and alethiometers! The original His Dark Materials trilogy is one of the greatest reading experiences I have ever known, and I could not have been more excited at the prospect of a new episode. I am delighted to report that it did not disappoint. Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead is the hero of this tale. A kind, intelligent boy, he lives above The Trout inn, which is owned by his parents. Malcolm spends his evenings serving guests at the pub, along with an older girl called Alice, but he also runs errands for the nuns who live in a priory across the river. When three strange men arrive at The Trout one night, everything changes. They are somehow connected to a baby girl named Lyra, who has been discreetly entrusted to the nuns. Lyra is a very special child, and dangerous people want to capture her, none moreso than the creepy Gerard Bonneville. With the aid of his trusty canoe, and an unlikely companion, Malcolm will have a major part to play in Lyra's survival. The story is split into two main sections. The first involves Malcolm being drawn into the world of the resistance, a shadowy cabal of spies and secrets. And the second half is a gruelling, breathless journey set during a biblical flood. As in the previous trilogy, religion has a big part to play in this story. Society is ruled by the oppressive Magisterium, a totalitarian regime that regards science and knowledge as the enemy. They have the power to kidnap and torture anyone who dares to question their authority. This wicked organisation even sets up a movement called the League of St Alexander, which encourages schoolchildren to inform on their teachers. But not all religious figures in the book are evil - the nuns that Malcolm befriends are a benevolent and well-intentioned bunch. Phillip Pullman's rich imagination is once again a treasure to behold, but I think the reason La Belle Sauvage works so well lies in the strength of its main character. Malcolm is as brave and as noble as any hero you would like to meet. He is always tenacious and resourceful, especially in times of great danger. But he is also incredibly thoughtful, caring deeply about the fate of Lyra from the moment he first lays eyes on her. Even in the slow thaw of his relationship with the prickly Alice, I couldn't help cheering him on. If I do have a slight criticism of this story, it's that it doesn't quite possess the same level of ingenuity that the previous trilogy was famous for. It's a more straightforward tale, where the truth slowly unravels and an almighty chase ensues through a dreamlike landscape. But it is always thrilling and gripping, full of memorable characters and unpredictable twists. La Belle Sauvage is the worthy beginning of an exciting new trilogy, and I will be first in line for the next installment.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    One of my favorite trilogies I’ve read is ‘His Dark Materials’. It was such a brilliant series. This is the prequel trilogy to the original. I wonder if there really needed to be a trilogy. I do know this book needed to happen. What a wild ride it is. It starts off one way and in the middle it becomes a completely different book. Lyra is a baby in this book and she is vulnerable here. Luckily she has Malcolm to look after her interests from afar. The book has fairies and nuns, conspiracies and fl One of my favorite trilogies I’ve read is ‘His Dark Materials’. It was such a brilliant series. This is the prequel trilogy to the original. I wonder if there really needed to be a trilogy. I do know this book needed to happen. What a wild ride it is. It starts off one way and in the middle it becomes a completely different book. Lyra is a baby in this book and she is vulnerable here. Luckily she has Malcolm to look after her interests from afar. The book has fairies and nuns, conspiracies and floods, adventure and suspense. Dust is still the coveted item in the story. It’s easy to see how this ties in and leads right into the main trilogy. I thought it was well thought out and Philip’s characters and style shine through here. He creates tone and conflict so well. I connected with Malcolm, our new protagonist of this story. He is a brave soul. Malcolm undertakes a hero’s journey through this strange new world for the sake of an innocent baby. His companion Alice is along for the ride and together they brave many perils.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Banks

    Stellar storytelling (as you'd expect), thoroughly immersive. Words cannot describe how profoundly I adored the His Dark Materials series. Reading them as a teen, I remember being so relieved that here was an author who didn't pander to his young audience; who wasn't afraid to show brutality and fear; but also who gave his characters such depth and personality that they'd stay with the reader forever. So, as you can imagine, I dived into this book with huge excitement, but also trepidation. Would Stellar storytelling (as you'd expect), thoroughly immersive. Words cannot describe how profoundly I adored the His Dark Materials series. Reading them as a teen, I remember being so relieved that here was an author who didn't pander to his young audience; who wasn't afraid to show brutality and fear; but also who gave his characters such depth and personality that they'd stay with the reader forever. So, as you can imagine, I dived into this book with huge excitement, but also trepidation. Would it live up to the first three? Would it stick in my mind as the other ones did? Well, the answer is yes, for the most part. La Belle Sauvage reads like a calmer, more grown-up sibling of the first three. It's less wild, less action-packed, but thoroughly engaging nonetheless. The star of the show this time around is Malcolm, a son of a pub landlord, who lives a fairly quiet life, waiting on tables and sailing his little boat. He's friends with the local nuns, and curious when they take on a little baby called Lyra, and her daemon Pantalaimon. As you probably already guessed (if you've read the other books), she's no normal baby, and her presence is of great interest to several powerful figures. It's up to Malcolm to keep her safe from the menacing figures that pursue her - and start the chain of events that leads to His Dark Materials. So - what's good about this book? Firstly, Pullman's narrative style. God, I love it so much. It's so simple, so straightforward, yet so wonderfully effective. Not a word is wasted - wonderful stuff. The characters are also remarkable - deftly drawn and thoroughly believable. The most incredible (and genuinely frightening) character is Bonneville - a seemingly friendly man with a deranged, three-legged hyena for a daemon. Gosh - I really want to know more about him! There were moments where the book dragged ever so slightly - it's certainly not as sharp as the first three; but the softer pace complements the plot of the book, particularly given that a lot of it is set on the river. The elements of magic and mystery are perhaps less too - but when in appearance, are gorgeously poetic. Only one small thing - after reading, I wasn't sure if I'd just finished a kids' book, or a book for adults. Thematically, it fits into children's literature well - but then, there's swearing in it, not to mention violence and mentions of child molestation - not exactly child-friendly topics. I personally wouldn't want my children reading this until they were quite a bit older; not because of the swearing so much, but the darker themes, which are genuinely quite freaky. And of course, there's Pullman's usual obvious distaste for organised religion, which never bothered me personally, but may be a problem for others. But overall - superb read. I eagerly await the second in the series!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    I’m not old enough for this, Malcolm thought. Right you are, Malcolm. There are two important things you should know about this book, so I’ll discuss them at the beginning of my review. One—if you decide to read this book, do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook, narrated by actor Michael Sheen. His narration was one of the best I’ve ever heard, each character’s voice given equal care, whether the character had one line or a thousand. Whether young or old, male or female, daemon or human, I’m not old enough for this, Malcolm thought. Right you are, Malcolm. There are two important things you should know about this book, so I’ll discuss them at the beginning of my review. One—if you decide to read this book, do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook, narrated by actor Michael Sheen. His narration was one of the best I’ve ever heard, each character’s voice given equal care, whether the character had one line or a thousand. Whether young or old, male or female, daemon or human, all were distinctive and voiced to perfection. Now for the second important thing I wanted to discuss. This is not a children’s book or even a book for younger teens, unlike its predecessor, the Dark Materials trilogy. According to one parental rating site, it’s appropriate for ages 14 and up. I would say that’s accurate or even a bit lenient. That is because—trigger warnings and mild spoilers ahead—this book includes not only references to sex, pedophilia, and rape, it includes these acts on page. I’m an adult and I was disturbed by some of the content, presented in a sinister way, so I can only imagine how a younger person might react if they were ambushed by this, especially when reading what started out as a milder, coming-of-age adventure story. There are also a few scenes with rough language, including much dropping of the f-bomb within them. Just so you know, I read many adult books with all these elements every year and rarely feel the need to include such warnings in my reviews. But I wanted to let people know about this particular book in case they were unaware of what they were getting into or possibly handing it over to a young child. As for the rest of the book’s contents, I enjoyed and did not enjoy many things about it in equal measure, making this an average read for me. On the positive side, I felt the main characters were standouts, well drawn and sympathetic, yet fallible, making them very real in an increasingly surreal story. And the descriptive writing placed me firmly within that world that melded the ordinary with the extraordinary. But I have to say that I felt as if I were reading a book with a split personality, the first half slow-moving, and full of innocence and intrigue, the second half fast-paced, and full of adventure and dark elements. The story takes place a decade before the Dark Materials trilogy when Lyra is only six months old and in the care of the nuns in a priory. The priory is across the way from a tavern called The Trout where young Malcom Polstead, 11, works and lives. His family owns the tavern, and while Malcolm has dreams of furthering his education and being a scholar someday, he knows that’s doubtful since his family isn’t well off and they depend on him to help maintain the family business. Still, even when he’s only serving tables or sweeping up the floor at the tavern, his diligence, earnestness, and intelligence shines through and attracts those around him as a confidant or someone they might use to their own ends, good or bad. But Malcolm comes to learn that he’s needed elsewhere, even more than at the tavern, his destiny caught up with that a young woman and baby Lyra, and with those wanting to fight against or promote evil forces extending beyond his corner of the world. Helping him cope with all the new unexpected adult pressures in his life is his daemon, Asta, and his beloved canoe, La Belle Sauvage. I would have liked this book quite a bit more if it had gained some focus during the first half and if it had presented less characters to keep track of whose place in the overall story was vague. The first half, while interesting, meandered to a fault with many elongated scenes involving peripheral characters who didn’t seem overly important. I kept wishing the story would get back to Malcolm and those he cared about since those were the best parts. In contrast, the second half moved quickly from scene to scene, but lacked the depth of the first half and seemed more intent on adventure, action, and violence. But overall, this book entertained me, especially because of the excellent narration. Yet I couldn’t help feeling the more adult parts I mentioned at the beginning weren’t needed and were even detrimental to the story or gratuitous to a certain extent. This confused me since the tone and intent was so different from what I remember of book one of the first trilogy which is all I’ve read of that series. I’ve heard you don’t need to read that first trilogy before this one since they’re connected, but not dependent on each other. So dive in here if you dare. You might see things differently and be thoroughly entertained without a complaint.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...