The Secret Commonwealth
October 31, 2019 8:29 AM - by Philip Pullman - Subscribe

Twenty years after La Belle Sauvage, we're back with Lyra and Pan.
posted by The corpse in the library (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Whelp. That was a book, alright. Does anyone have anything nice they want to say about it to start off the thread?
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:30 AM on October 31 [1 favorite]

I liked this review. It's full of spoilers, so don't read it if you care about such things.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:39 AM on October 31

The only good thing I can say is that upon re-reading His Dark Materials after this it was fun to see Dame Rolf and Alice show up again.

Otherwise, I think the rose plot is stupid, the mysterious war-torn middle east is racist, and the subplot about Malcolm and Lyra being in love is awful.

This book made me angry. The sexual assault subplot made me furious. I'm feeling much less excited about the upcoming tv show.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:20 AM on October 31 [3 favorites]

It felt like at a certain point Pullman decided he needed to make it clear he understood what it’s like to be a woman, so he had her be sexually assaulted and then talked about menstruation. There: female character!
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:01 AM on October 31 [2 favorites]

It was so disappointing because I saw myself so clearly in Lyra in the first few books, and I'm just really angry that Lyra doesn't get to go on adventures and live an amazing life without also being sexually assaulted.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:05 AM on October 31 [3 favorites]

Belle Sauvage really beat you over the head with LYRA IS THE AMAZING PERFECT CHOSEN ONE YES EVEN AS A BABY and it got old real fast. It's like he never understood what was great about her in the first series was never about perfection but stubborn passion and love. Sounds like this book is even further off the track. Maybe a grown woman is just too hard for him to write. I always thought his approach to Mrs. Coulter in the last book was weird but she wasn't as Central so you could ignore it.
posted by emjaybee at 8:03 PM on October 31 [1 favorite]

I really liked the first book in this new trilogy, but this thread has made me in-reserve the new one at the library. Too many other books to read.
posted by skycrashesdown at 6:37 PM on November 2

I too was disappointed in this. The attempt at romance in this is a drag. There is little of the wild magic of La Belle Sauvage. But the last fifty pages were my favorite part; the boring long didactic "two characters argue about a book in a way that's meant to be Philosophically Important To The Theme" sections seemed to have been, for the better, forgotten. So I guess I will read the next one!
posted by escabeche at 6:07 PM on November 10 [1 favorite]

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