His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

There were a number of classic series that came out during my adolescence, and I really wish His Dark Materials had gotten more popular. I realize that all the religious changes in the third book got some people a bit huffy, but I really think that Pullman came up with some quality outside of the box worlds in this trilogy. If you’ve only see the “Golden Compass” movie, then honestly you don’t know what you’re missing. The trilogy is so different than the first book or movie and you should read them!

Title: His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass is the first book)
Author: Philip Pullman
Pages: ~400 each (paperback)
Setting: The trilogy begins in an alternate UK, however our world is actually just a stone’s throw away if you can step between realities! Several different and very interesting realities/worlds are visited in this trilogy, some rather conventional and some not at all!
Premise: Lyra is the main character and she has a furry friend named Pan who is a reflection/part of her soul and changes shapes between lots of different animals. The first book is a typical plot about a bad/mysterious group kidnapping children and Lyra going to save them, but later in the trilogy things get much more philosophical. There is actually a whole lot more going on across all the parallel universes and Lyra and some other friends she meets along the way need to figure it out before Everything is destroyed.


  • A very interesting take on religion in the multiple worlds
  • Female main character
  • Fuzzy animals companions :D
  • The trilogy has a completely different plot than you think after the first book (and movie)
  • Very awesome supporting characters and very moving death scenes (not telling who though!)
  • Pretty easy read, though it does get emotional occasionally (you might cry in an airport if you aren’t careful >.>)
  • Some really interesting worlds that Pullman came up with!


  •  Because of the reinterpretation of religions, this might not be a good book for strongly religious people, specifically Christians might not appreciate how God is portrayed
  • The last book of the trilogy is not nearly as child-friendly as the first
  • The second and third books have a very different feel from the first book/movie, which might be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective
  • If you cry at books, these will probably make you cry
  • I might just be weird, but I’m easily spooked by books/television shows and there are some spooky parts in this book involving dead people

Summary: Very good trilogy with a much more complicated and intricate plot than what the first book suggests. I highly recommend these books if you aren’t going to be insulted by some interesting reinterpretations of religion, specifically Christianity. The worlds that Pullman came up with and connected together are fantastically done in my opinion. These books are easy to read and easy to love I think and should totally be on a summer reading list!

Also a side note: I’ve added a tag “heroine” which will now allow you to search my reviews for books that have heroine characters, since I know some people like to find books with strong female role models. I’m adding this tag to all applicable previous posts, so feel free to look through my history for them.

Til next time!

About Anya

Book blogger at http://www.onstarshipsanddragonwings.com/ who loves Sci-fi and Fantasy!
This entry was posted in What A Story - Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman

  1. Pingback: Four Stars: Troll Hunters by Michael Dahl | About The Story

  2. Pingback: Four Stars: Troll Hunters by Michael DahlOn Starships and Dragonwings

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