Monday, November 27, 2017

Lyra's Oxford Book Review

by The Wanderer 

Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Steampunk
Series: His Dark Materials Short Story
Pages: 80

(Spoilers for His Dark Materials are below).

While on the roof of Jordan college Lyra and her daemon Pan help rescue a witches daemon that's being attacked by birds. This daemon has flown across the world to deliver a message personally to Lyra, bringing her on another short adventure.

Taking place when Lyra is about sixteen, or a couple of years after The Amber Spyglass, Pullman uses a short adventure story to keep readers up to date on Lyra. It's kind of interesting to read a short story where the main plot is of secondary importance to the actual details of Lyra's life and what she's been doing for the past two years.

As for the main plot, it's solid. Essentially Lyra is tasked with finding an Alchemist, who is known to be a little on the crazy side, for a witch's daemon, who claims it is essential to helping save her life. It's a simple, and fairly straight forward story, that introduces a character that could potentially be important in the second and third volumes of the Book of Dust, Sebastian Makepeace.

More importantly we see what Lyra's been up to. She still thinks about Will, and she seems to be taking her studying more seriously. After finishing La Belle Sauvage, the first volume in The Book of Dust, the appearance of a Dr. Polstead, takes on a much bigger significance. And if you found the ending to the first volume in The Book of Dust to be a little too open, you can find a little more closure here.

Pullman concludes the story with a section he calls "Lantern Slides" where various short blips about characters from His Dark Materials that don't have to directly deal with this short story, offer even more insights to what's been going on with them since The Amber Spyglass. A lot of these blips really remind me of how much I cared for the characters in His Dark Materials.

Lyra's Oxford also comes with a map that can be torn out of the book, and a number of illustrations. These additional features have the publishing company charging what normally would be full price for a paperback novel, all for only 80 pages of story. So as much as I like Lyra's Oxford, just be aware of what you're about to purchase.

Score: 9.3

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