Philip Pullman

I think lumping Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy in with the Harry Potter books is criminal. If you must compare Pullman's work to something, try Susan Cooper, and please don't press a copy of The Golden Compass on kids under twelve who ask for "another Harry Potter". Unlike J. K. Rowling's more straightforward books, Pullman's gorgeously messy, creepy trilogy is far from appropriate for young children, who will either fail to understand much of it or get totally freaked out. (For example, both books feature soul-sucking monsters. The Potterverse has Dementors--big, ugly, hooded things that kiss you and suck your soul out of your mouth. They're scary, in a monster-under-the-bed kind of way. In the second book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman shows us a world where the onset of puberty leaves children vulnerable to invisible things that start to hover over preteens at the first sign of physical maturity, eventually sucking their souls dry, leaving an empty but breathing shell. As an image of adulthood, it hits a whole new level of freaky.) The first book is excellent, the second one suffers a little in comparison, but the third ties everything together beautifully. (And made TWO grown men I know cry.) Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke trilogy is equally difficult to classify--a kind of historical romance/mystery/suspense series suitable for pre-teens and up.


Everywhere, and worth the cost of getting a decent copy.

Other Recommendations:
The Dark is Rising sequence, by Susan Cooper

Summerland, by Michael Chabon

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase books, by Joan Aiken

Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll

Coraline, by Neil Gaiman

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Posted by: Julia


01 Apr, 2005 10:06 AM @ version 0

Pullman creates the most fantastical and interesting worlds in the His Dark Materials series, and the books have a lot of depth. It's heavy reading, but by the end you'll see worth in reading it.

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