The Book of Dust: The Belle Sauvage

I read the Philip Pullman series, His Dark Materials, during graduate school while studying theology. It was interesting because Pullman was so open about what he was doing in the book, but my friends and I enjoyed the stories and, frankly, thought you could see them disproving the existence of God or the exact opposite, depending on your inclination.

When I heard about a prequel series, I decided to give it a go, even though it’s been a long time since I read his other work and I’ll admit, I don’t remember it completely. The Book of Dust: The Belle Sauvage brings us back to the time when the main character of His Dark Materials is a baby and we meet Malcolm, a young boy who meets Lyra and is fascinated by her.

As was the case in the first trilogy, it’s the characters that made me love this book. Malcolm and Alice are endearing and wonderful characters who make it through a crazy and never ending adventure. And I do love so many bits of the world Pullman creates. The dæmon’s and their relationship to their people is something I think about a lot. And the way in which it feels almost like a steampunk version of the world and the technology that exists.

Pullman doesn’t waste too much time setting up in this one and pulls you right into the action as Malcolm and Alice try to protect and save Lyra from the many people who would want to use her for their own purposes. I enjoyed this book and read it for the surface level, choosing to go along for the ride and not think too deeply, and it ended with me wanting more, which I guess is the point when you’re writing a trilogy.