I have conflicted feelings about His Dark Materials. The first book showed Pullman in fine form. There was some seriously amazing world-building, nuanced characters, and thrilling conflicts. The second was a step-down since Pullman's problematic introduction of his religious views begins here. This is also where I lose all sympathy for Lyra and her entitled demands and begin to feel sorry for Mrs. Coulter (although I do get that Mrs. Coulter really is supposed to be a sympathetic character, so kudos to you, Mr. Pullman). The third, the Amber Spyglass, is horrible. Plot and characterization are sacrificed just so Pullman could write about his philosophy and rant against the institutionalization of God. This could've been done more subtly, but his writing was so ham-handed in the third book that I write this series off as one that started great and ended horribly. I don't have a problem with Pullman's religious views. HDM is his series and he's free to introduce whatever he wants. I just wish he could've streamlined his views with his writing. My problem with the series was how it turned from suspenseful and thrilling to sermonizing and, well, dull. His Dark Materials is an ambitious series that ultimately fails because it tries too hard to be universal (it's not). I know that a lot of people like the entire series, even the third book, and I respect that. As for me, I'd like to pretend that HDM stopped at Golden Compass and ended at a cliffhanger.
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