Excerpt from The Book of Dust Volume Two
June 19, 2019 6:48 AM   Subscribe

What Lyra did next. "An exclusive extract from Philip Pullman’s new novel The Secret Commonwealth: Twenty-year-old Lyra has to flee Oxford by boat for the third time in her life, this time in the company of the old gyptian Giorgio Brabandt. As they sail towards the safety of the Fens, they hear a zeppelin approaching …" The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two will be published on 3 October 2019. posted by homunculus (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
*sigh* all I can think is doessheseewillagaindoessheseewillagaindoessheseewillagain. ..
Probably not, right?
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:01 AM on June 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Thank you for posting this! Excited to read the next installment and hoping that HBOs version of His Dark Materials is worth watching this fall. I can’t get enough Pullman.
posted by lagreen at 7:09 AM on June 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

Pan, Pan, Pan, Lyra thought, I need you now, you little bastard, you traitor.

Lyra's daemon appears to be on the outs with her again, and less stable of form than normal "adult" daemons too. But then Lyra is a shaman or a witch or something new.
posted by bonehead at 7:15 AM on June 19, 2019

I liked His Dark Materials, but thought La Belle Sauvage was just really boring. Hardly a scene went by but we were then forced to read about the same scene again one or more times as it got recounted to other characters, seen from another perspective, whatever. If this is the alternative, I'm glad most kids in fantasy novels don't tell adults anything.
posted by one for the books at 7:25 AM on June 19, 2019

I found La Belle Sauvage slow moving in a good way. It helps to listen to that type of book rather than read it in text form, in my opinion. I like it more than the third book in HDM, which was too "long journey where our heroes meet random characters" for me. It seems to happen a lot in the last book of some fantasy stories where the resolution feels too drawn out and a bunch of new characters just show up for no apparent reason.
posted by soelo at 7:30 AM on June 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Hmmm... I loved The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife about as much as I absolutely detested The Amber Spyglass so let's call my optimism on this one "cautious."
posted by Navelgazer at 7:35 AM on June 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

My goodness, that was exciting. Thanks for posting it.
posted by ALeaflikeStructure at 7:50 AM on June 19, 2019

My anticipation for reading HDM with my now-3.5-month-old (not anytime soon ofc) might just kill me. If that doesn't, actually reading it probably will*.

* Dehydration**.

** From the crying.
posted by supercres at 7:56 AM on June 19, 2019

La Belle Sauvage sickened me. One major female supporting character who seems only to exist to glorify the superpowered, preteen male lead, and to perform domestic duties. Another somewhat-major female character who drops out without a whimper so the men can take over when the rough stuff starts. And that's pretty much it.

Plot-wise, I found the book generally boring, particularly because the pint-size lead was so weirdly powerful. But the prose was nice, and I probably could've enjoyed it if I hadn't been so continually disgusted by its treatment of its female characters.

What happened, Pullman?
posted by gurple at 7:59 AM on June 19, 2019 [6 favorites]

gurple, I had a similar response to La Belle Sauvage. I was initially charmed by the writing and wanted to see more of Hannah. I grew more and more disappointed as Malcolm's superpowers kept increasing while Alice was reduced to fawning and diaper changing. Alice really should have been the more capable one in that pair. I kept expecting Malcolm to be revealed as an unreliable narrator (Lyra clearly was) but it seemed to me to have all been played straight. It took me by surprise. Now I wonder if, having loved His Dark Materials since I first read it as a child myself, I had built up my own misconception of Pullman as being interested in doing feminist writing?

That said... I'm still excited to read the next, although cautiously. I cannot pass up the opportunity to learn more about daemons. (...and whether Lyra will see Will again. ;_;)
posted by esker at 9:22 AM on June 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

The Golden Compass was one of the most amazing, immersive, glorious books I've ever read. Subtle Knife was plodding in comparison, trading the wonderful world of Golden Compass for more pedestrian places. Amber Spyglass was a goddamn mess. There were enough ideas to fill at least two books, and then it got mean-spirited, and then silly, and then creepy.

So I skipped the first of this new trilogy, but maybe it's worth diving in again.
posted by skullhead at 9:47 AM on June 19, 2019 [5 favorites]

I enjoyed The Golden Compass, and I liked The Subtle Knife but got really sick of the author teasing that there were big revelations about the nature of the world and Dust and daemons to come and yet never actually revealing any of those things. Maybe it all got saved for the third book, but I was sick of waiting and didn't bother. I don't mind a slow reveal, but there has to be a breadcrumb trail, it can't just be "look at all this cool shit I made up, don't worry I'll explain it later ... no really, later ... yeah later." Later my son thought they were great, and they were about atheism? So maybe I'll give them another go at some point. Maybe later ... no really, later ...
posted by rikschell at 10:09 AM on June 19, 2019

I'm curious, but man, La Belle Sauvage was just bad. I had the great misfortune to listen to it as an audiobook (which is how I do much of my fiction reading these days, walking to/from lab), and it just wasn't a functional story. Don't know if it was a case of "you sell too many books for us for us to edit you" or what, but there wasn't really even the germ of an idea there. It was a nullity.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 11:04 AM on June 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

As a followup (rather than abusing the edit button): I'd be happier if I'd been reading it rather than listening to it, because my reading speed is fast, so it would have been ~2 hours of reading a book I was pretty "eh" about, rather than 12+ hours of plotting, thin, pointless audiobook. Even if it was well-read, which it was.
posted by Making You Bored For Science at 11:06 AM on June 19, 2019

I adored La Belle Sauvage, I thought it was so beautifully structured and pulled you along like...floating down a river.
Can't wait for the new one!
posted by exceptinsects at 11:48 AM on June 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

I liked the original series but mixed feelings on LBS like how Alice...never found her personal agency. I'm really hoping Lyra's return will improve the 2nd book. Also, I feel like I've waited long enough that it'd bother me if I never finished the series =/
posted by chrono_rabbit at 2:36 PM on June 19, 2019

I’m excited. Lyra is compelling. I’ve loved each of these books.
posted by putzface_dickman at 8:28 PM on June 20, 2019

« Older It's easy if you try...   |   Kate Tempest's latest album: living poetry amid... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments