Tuesday, February 12, 2008
I have nothing but admiration for Pullman's heresies, and for his daring to write children's fantasy with adult themes and Gnostic overtones. I much prefer his theology to that under which I was reared. In Pullman's world, rebelliousness and skepticism are the way to Truth and Good, while doing and believing what you're told leads to the False and Evil.
But I found The Amber Spylglass a chore to get through. The first two books were breezy and mysterious and engaging; this one was clumsy, busy, and I repeatedly felt abused by lame deus ex machina gimmicks. Pullman perhaps sets a fantasy novel record for having the most nearly forgotten characters re-appear at just the right moment to save the day--no mean feat, that. I wasn't swept away by volume three, and the fact it was twice as long as the others made things much worse.
Oh, well. His Dark Materials was two-thirds excellent.