La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman


I’ve been patiently waiting for this book for half of my life and I still can’t believe it’s been published! Not only that but I cannot believe I already finished reading it! I should’ve read it more slowly but it was so good that I couldn’t help myself and I read like 200 pages per day.

His Dark Materials was my second favourite series growing up, right after Harry Potter. To tell you the truth I didn’t really like Lyra that much, I actually found her to be obnoxious in the first book but I absolutely loved Will. To this day he remains close to my heart. I think Pullman did a wonderful job at character building, especially with Lyra and Will, but also with the other character and that’s why I love his books. Plus his writing style is sublime, the story flows effortlessly and that’s hard to achieve.

So my mom bought me La Belle Sauvage for Christmas but I waited till New Year’s to actually start reading it. It took me three days to finish it and I loved it, I really did, but… Yeah, there’s a but. The second part of the book – now, if you’ve read the book you know what I’m talking about – is a bit far fetched and slow paced and there are some things in it that frustrated me because I found them to be totally irrelevant to the overall story.

The book starts off great, we meet Malcolm whose parents are innkeepers and farely simple minded while their son adores books and learning about the big wide world. I loved the relationship between Malcolm and the scholar (whose name I cannot remember) because she let the boy borrow books from her and I found that to be really touching. Anyway, I loved the first part of the book which is set in Oxford and we have loads of references to His Dark Materials.

I actually liked lord Asriel in this book though I had mixed feeling about him in  the original trilogy. All the connections were so beautifully intwined within the story that it actually felt like I was reading a book equal to the trilogy which is what Pullman wished to achieve. Again the church is portrayed as the main villain and I see why some people might resent that but I think they should get pass that and just look at the book as a story (which it ultimately is).

The second part of the book dragged on, there were some references to other literary works, like the Faery Queen (that part seemed totally redundant to me) and since the book sort of ends on a cliffhanger I don’t see how Pullman will write the next two books since they will take place after the events in His Dark Materials. To this day I remain in awe of Pullman’s imagination. I mean how do you even come up with an idea like a daemon? To have your soul exist outside of your body in the form of an animal? How?!

The writing style remains as beautiful as ever, no complaints there. I don’t know how to look at this book really. It is supposed to be an equal but there so many similarities to the trilogy that it’s impossible to separate them. So although I loved the book I didn’t adore it. But I am still looking forward to reading the next two books in the series because I love Pullman’s worlds and his writing. I definitely recommend his books!

Then it started to rain, so she went inside and made some coffee and did what she had never done in her life: tried the newspaper crossword. “What a stupid exercise,” said her dæmon after five minutes. “Words belong in contexts, not pegged out like biological specimens.”

Philip Pullman, La Belle Sauvage