I read this book about 29-Jul-2006. This is the first time I've read this book. The book is copyright 1997. This note was last modified Wednesday, 09-Aug-2006 08:44:11 PDT.
This note contains spoilers for the book.
Book two of "His Dark Materials".
I'm just starting it. We could be in our world; hard to tell so far, because the viewpoint character is a young child with a crazy mother. The information we have on things is...sketchy. And probably unreliable.
Okay, we spend the book bouncing around; and Lyra and Will meet early on. Another supernally powerful artifact, from the title, comes into the hands of the children. The bad guys are shown to have already formed alliances across worlds.
And Lord Asriel is revealed to have the intention of directly assaulting the Authority behind the Church. Nobody views this with the modern sort of alarm; it appears not to be heretical, merely political. So, for me, I'd have to describe these books as taking religion far too seriously. I understand other people find them objectionable because they somehow are anti-religious; I admit to being rather puzzled.
The world with the specters bugs me. There's some Luddite myth at work there, I think—the specters were apparently released by—careless or ignorant use of the subtle knife, which sounds to me like a "man was not meant to know" argument. Also why energy-stealing demons should lurk at the subatomic level makes no sense. And why they should be in such numbers at one location that somebody happened to hit (all the specters come from one incident, at least as the myth is outlined).
I'm not currently planning to read the third one.