Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his daemon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .
The protagonist of the story, Malcolm, is a young boy with a heart of gold. He was such an endearing character that I found myself completely attached to him. I want to adopt him. The first half of the book was very slow burning but I wasn’t bored at all and I probably would have enjoyed a whole book following Malcolm on his daily errands and the slow but enthralling trouble he was becoming entwined in.
I absolutely loved delving back into the world of His Dark Materials and it didn’t take me long at all to become familiar once again with it, despite the fact that it has been years since I read the trilogy. Also, I would say that it’s not necessary to have read the trilogy to understand, follow or be interested in this book. Daemons, witches, gyptains, Dust; it all features in this book and more.
Lyra and Pan, of course, feature as well but she is still a baby and already her extreme importance was felt. This book was very cleverly planned in the way that it slowly and gradually sprinkled important gems throughout the book until certain things started to become clearer.
The second half of the book was very fast-paced and much more action packed than the contrasting first half. Right until the last page I was completely riveted, needing to know what happened to my dear characters.
I absolutely need to reread His Dark Materials trilogy after finishing this. This year. Also, I’m now left with that feeling of waiting for the next book to come out and being unable to wait but having no choice. Also, I’m very intrigued at the prospect of the next in the series to follow Lyra as a 20 year old! I wonder if Will would even get a mention… I hope he does.
Rating: 10/10 (I can’t really fault it)
Have you read this book, what did you think? And what do you think of the prospect of reading about Lyra as an adult?