The Subtle Knife

Author: Philip Pullman

Publisher: New York: Knopf/Random House 1997
pages: 326
Author's website

Classification: Young Adult Fiction
Genre: Fantasy
Topic: parallel worlds
Media Type: Book

Grade level: 7-Adult

Reader's annotation: Will Parry, from the Oxford we know and Lyra from an alternate Oxford, meet in another parallel world and help each other. Will is looking for his father and Lyra is searching for the meaning of “dust” but they find so much more.

Summary: The book opens with Will and his concern over his mother’s safety as they try to avoid the men who are after them. Then Will discovers some information about his missing father and while running away from his pursuers manages to walk through a “window” into another world. It is here in Cittagazze where Will meets Lyra and in an unintentional fight where Will is merely defending himself, he acquires the Subtle Knife. Or should I saw the Subtle Knife acquires Will. This knife is very powerful and has the property of allowing the owner to cut windows into other worlds. The two continue on their searches, now in several different worlds with a large cast of characters including all of the characters from The Golden Compass.

Evaluation: The second installment of this series is just as good as the first and the cliffhanger ending will have you eagerly finding book 3 to read. There are now parallel worlds that the characters are moving through, increasing the complexity of the story while retaining the charm of the characters and the believability of it all. One almost believes that if you had the right knife... you could do that too.

Series: His Dark Materials - book 2

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I grew up outside of Boston, went to college in western MA and lived in NYC dancing for several years before getting my teaching credentials and unintentionally moving to Santa Cruz CA. Married and divorced with two kids almost grown, a daughter in college and a son in high school, I am thrilled to be a librarian now, something that I should have done years ago. I love the applications of technology and realize that I have been interested in that since my first computer class back in 1986 - a new requirement for teaching degrees. Finally I can combine my love of curriculum, educational resources, working with adults and children, and technology applications.