A prequel so long after the original trilogy could've been a disaster, but Philip Pullman worked his magic. I'm so glad that this book is a worthy addition to the world of His Dark Materials, and I'm really looking forward to more. La Belle Sauvage is a slow burn compared to The Golden Compass - we're introduced to fewer characters, creatures, and concepts in the prequel. But I think Pullman successfully instills in the reader a sense of slowly dawning foreboding, right along with our hero, Malcolm. If you haven't read the original trilogy, La Belle Sauvage will keep you guessing, and if you have, you're sure to enjoy a return to this beloved world.
I love Philip Pullman. He portrays evil extremely effectively--you feel it as you read it. But his greatest strength is in portraying relationships and dynamics between characters. His descriptions of conversations and exchanges between Malcolm and the nuns were wonderful and engaging and had heart. Relationship dynamics got more shallow in the last half of La Belle Sauvage, which was disappointing, but I'm hopeful the next volumes will pick up where this left off.
Well, it certainly got me excited for volume two. But then I was pretty excited about volume one in the first place.
Read this! Philip Pullman is a great story teller!
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