The trio of books that comprise the "His Dark Materials" triology comprised of "Northern Lights", "The Subtle Knife" and "The Amber Spyglass" by Philip Pullman are amongst those that have wowed and gripped me the most as a reader and writer. We follow the free spirit of Lyra Belacqua, a firey girl with a talent for getting herself into trouble, as she travels through the very make-up of the universe to overcome her own demons and face her destiny.
The books amazing and unique use of space, time and of the exploration of the human psyche are intertwined with such an aciton packed, shocking storyline that is bound to keep the reader guessing. Lyra's underlying quest is pushed aside again and again, but all events seem to steer her unwillingly and unknowingly in the right direction. The friends and enemies she meets are not only fully rounded and totally believable, but as Lyra meets and befriends (or learns to fear, loath and hate) each one, you too are completely drawn in by her emotions. At each pitfall you feal and fear for her; at each climatic resolution you have to take breath .
Philosophically speaking, this book questions the creation story, the idea of having a God and multiple dimensions, each slightly different from the last. At times these features can seem daunting as throughout you are kept in the dark about a lot of these. However sticking with it really does bring the reward of resolution like no other.
The fantasy elements of the story may not be to everyone's taste. But the gripping plot and multitude of interconnected sub-plots more than makes up for anyones misgivings about the genre.
Put simply, a great whodunnit, fantasy, romance and philosophical book that anyone over the age of about twelve could and should read and enjoy. Thankyou Phillip Pullman!