The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I'm regularly astounded at how well-beloved this series is. I mean, let's look at this for a moment: we're surrounded by liars who are heroes, murderers who are the best of folks, drunkards who are the most noble, and a God who is feeble, the push of the devil is a rather positive thing, and we're meant to root for the big battle against Enoch, one of two of the only men in the Bible to ever have been raptured up to heaven. (Of course, he was promoted well beyond his ability and became the Metatron, the big bad false God-in-Standing, so we're not meant to feel like we're ACTUALLY satanists here as we read this book.)
What? Wait, WHAT?
Oh, that's okay, folks. It's fine because this was written by an agnostic atheist. He only believes in enjoying life on the material plain, in making heaven right here on Earth, not falling for the one-off and rather harmful joke we've always been told. After all, Heaven Doesn't Exist. Hello! Be good here and now while you're still alive, dummy!
But let's review this:
The series is one of the most well-beloved series by almost everyone for all time.
Because it's liberating? Because it puts a sharpened stick in the flaming pile of poo of an idea that says that sex in the idea of Original Sin is BAD? Or is it because most of us are sick to death about religion? Or because he manages to subvert everything and still manages to give everyone a bit of good in the tale and refuses to make the whole story about Atheists versus Deists?
I simply do not know.
I do know that the rolling elephants were f***ing stupid.
I didn't mind the whole trip down under, however. :)
I thought it was hilarious to have Enoch, my favorite, rare renegade man amongst angels play the villain. It was especially precious to have a reversal of roles for our favorite angels in heaven and a not so thin veiled christ figure in the shape of a lying little girl flying down to sheol to free all the purgatoried souls.
I giggled some more when those little wheeled beasties crushed the nuts of an otherwise smooth storyline.
Honestly, it wasn't my favorite book of all time; neither was the whole series; but I did really enjoy the whole Madeline L'Engle fantasy touch. As opposed to the painful C. S. Lewis touch, Pullman has an even lighter touch, with a generous dose of darkness to help us swallow a completely virtuous pre-teen serial murderer who loves his mom and an imagination-less serial liar who takes the role of christ.
This isn't to say I didn't like the novels, mind you very much. It makes me wonder what would happen if Chuck Palahniuk rewrote these novels. Hmmm.
Should I suggest it?
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