The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I think I still enjoy the emphasis on the extended worldbuilding in this book more than the flavor of the characters. Lyra is somewhat diminished, unable to shine in the Big Happenings of the first book, relegated either to lying (unsuccessfully) to a relative suburbia world, losing her way, and relying an awful lot on Will, her new friend.
Will, on the other hand, is only really interesting when he holds a knife.
*shrug* I found all the villains in our tale much more interesting. And the worldbuilding, of course. Lots of sympathy for the devil stuff going on here.
That being said, I'm not sure I really enjoyed this particular alternate-reality hop's direction. Sure, the place is about as subtle (from our world) as the knife from my kitchen drawer, but I also admit I enjoyed the concept of the knife quite a bit.
I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this book more than anything else.
There's less action and a hell of a lot more story-meat in this book. I'm enjoying it immensely, especially for all of the John Milton tones. It also has a beautiful synthesis of anthropology and religion that I can't help but giggle at.
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