Review Blog

Nov 05 2019

The secret commonwealth by Philip Pullman

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The Book of Dust, volume 2. David Fickling Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780241373347.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Since diving back into the world of His dark materials with Malcom in La belle savage (book one of The Book of Dust series) the excitement has grown fans of the original trilogy. With the release of The secret commonwealth there were many questions that needed answering about the adult Lyra becomes. In this novel we re-enter Lyra's life during her final year of college at St Sophia's, just as her world comes crumbling down.
After the death of the master of Jordan College, Lyra loses the protection of the college, throwing her into a dangerous world. After the discovery of a dead man, Lyra and Pan's world is thrown upside down. Taken into hiding by one of Lyra's teachers (Malcolm) after the ransacking of her bedroom, Lyra begins to question everything she knows about her tutors and their involvement with Oakley Street. Meanwhile, Lyra's relationship with her daemon is threatened by her controversial philosophical heroes. She refuses to listen to Pan and, one night after an argument, Pan sets off in search of her imagination. Naked and gruesome without a daemon, they both must set off too.
With the intrigue of Oakley Street, the layers of the alethiometer, and a budding romance that will almost make you forget about Will, The secret commonwealth is every bit as fascinating as La belle savage and His dark materials. For those approaching this book independent of the series I would advise caution, while enjoyable in its own right it does rely heavily on the book's predecessors. This is a novel with a multitude of layers which delves not just into psychology and philosophy but politics and self-affirmation.
I would highly recommend to fans of the series (and encourage them not to be put off by the new budding romance).
Kayla Gaskell

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