Tag: Sally Lockhart

Philip Pullman – La Belle Sauvage | Review

Title: La Belle Sauvage

Author: Philip Pullman

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 551

Rating: 3.5*/5


Philip Pullman - La Belle Sauvage

Philip Pullman – La Belle Sauvage


I think it’s pretty safe to say I have mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I guess I’ve been waiting for this book ever since I was a kid because the His Dark Materials trilogy is my favourite trilogy of all time. This book is the first book in an accompanying trilogy called The Book of Dust which runs alongside the His Dark Materials books, and I’m still not too sure what to make of it.

To be honest, I was kind of expecting not to love it, purely because it’s natural to be a little ambivalent when a new installment of a series you like is released. It happened with the new Star Wars movie. But really, I think my issue here is that there just wasn’t much adventure. I think Northern Lights (also called The Golden Compass) worked well because at its heart, it’s an adventure novel. This one is many things, but calling it an adventure novel would be a push – especially for the first three hundred pages, where pretty much nothing happens.

La Belle Sauvage felt more like The Silmarillion than The Lord of the Rings, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If you want to learn more about how the church works in Pullman’s world or if you’re interested in the research being done into the various meanings of the symbols on the alethiometer, this is your book. If you’re hoping for armored bears and parallel universes, you’ll be disappointed. Unfortunately, that was kind of what I was hoping for.


Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman


One way that I’ve been making sense of it is by thinking about how many times I’ve re-read Northern Lights. I just can’t imagine myself ever re-reading this one, although I am at least glad that I ticked it off. I’ll probably read the rest of the books in this new trilogy, but I won’t be in a rush to get them. It’s a shame, but I think a lot of that is down to me as a reader. It didn’t help that one of my favourite characters of all-time was a baby, either. I don’t like babies, and babies don’t do anything interesting.

Overall, it was fine, but I can’t help but feel like the series should have been left alone where it was. Personally, I would’ve preferred a new standalone series or more books in the Sally Lockhart series, but equally I appreciate that the demand was there for more books in Lyra’s world. And to this book’s credit, it still does a great job of world-building, it’s just that I would have liked the action to have left Oxford. Even in Northern Lights,  when there’s no jumping between worlds, we still see a huge amount of the place. Here, it starts to feel kind of claustrophobic, as if all of this stuff is happening and we’re stuck at home, reading about it on the internet.

I think that if I didn’t have a vested interest in this series because of the previous trilogy, I would have DNFd this. As it is, I stuck with it – and it did get a little better. But it just didn’t feel fun.


Philip Pullman Quote

Philip Pullman Quote


Click here to buy La Belle Sauvage.


Philip Pullman – The Tin Princess | Review

Title: The Tin Princess

Author: Philip Pullman

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 292

Rating: 9/10


Philip Pullman - The Tin Princess

Philip Pullman – The Tin Princess


I have a lot of love for The Tin Princess – it’s one of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart books, and so you know you’re in for a lot of fun. Here, we find out what happens to young Adelaide, who was last seen at the end of The Ruby in the Smoke, and we get to know some of our other characters more than ever before.

And because I read the rest of the books in the series, it was a lot of fun to see how they all ended up – they’re all older here, and some of them are missing entirely, but you still get a good idea of what happened to them, even if you didn’t read the rest of the books in the series. I also vividly remember a lot of imagery, like an old train and blood in the snow. But that’s about as much as you’re getting out of me when it comes to the plot.

What I will say, though, is that you’re in for a treat, a story of power and espionage that stretches all of the way across Europe, and our heroes face themselves at the centre of a baffling web that gets untangled beautifully at the end, when everything all falls together and we finally understand what’s happening. It’s rare that a book does this well – you know how sometimes you have to read and re-read something to get it? That doesn’t happen here, but that’s not a problem – it didn’t stop me from re-reading it. It’s just that sort of book, for me at least – I hope you love it, too.


Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman


Click here to buy The Tin Princess.