Ama climbed the path to the cave, as she'd done for many days now, bread and milk in the bag on her back, a heavy puzzlement in her heart. How in the world could she ever manage to reach the sleeping girl? Would the woman never leave the cave for more than a few minutes?
Ama came to the rock where the woman had told her to leave the food since she wasn't allowed in the cave anymore. She put down the bag, but she didn't go straight home; she climbed a little farther, up past the cave and through the thick rhododendrons, and farther up still to where the trees thinned out and the rainbows began.
This part of the valley was where the streams and cascades ran most confusingly: shafts of green-white water would sink into potholes and emerge a little lower down, or gush upward in splintered fountains, or divide into myriad streamlets, or swirl round and round trapped in a whirlpool. When the world was frozen, spears and shelves and columns of glassy ice grew over every surface, and under it all, the water could still be heard gushing and tinkling, and spray still escaped to the air for the rainbows to form.
Ama and her daemon climbed up over the rock shelves and around the little cataracts, past the whirlpools and through the spectrum-tinted spray, until her hair and her eyelids and his squirrel fur were beaded all over with a million tiny pearls of moisture. The game was to get to the top without wiping your eyes, despite the temptation, and the sunlight sparkled and fractured into red, yellow, green, blue, and every color between right in front of Ama's eyes, but she mustn't wipe her hand across to see better until she got right to the top, or the game would be lost.
Kulang, her daemon, sprang to a rock near the top of the little waterfall, and she knew he would turn at once to watch and make sure she didn't brush the moisture off her eyelashes - except that he didn't.
Instead he clung there, gazing forward.
Ama wiped her eyes, because the game was canceled by the surprise her daemon was feeling. As she pulled herself up to look over the edge, she gasped and fell still, because she had never seen a creature like this one: a bear, but four times the size of the black bears in the forest, and ivory white, with a black nose and black eyes that glared down from the top of the waterfall, only an arm's length away from her.
"Who's that?" said the voice of a boy, and while Ama couldn't understand the words, she caught the sense easily enough.
After a moment the boy appeared next to the bear: fierce-looking, with frowning eyes and a jutting jaw. And was that a daemon beside him, bird-shaped? It was unlike any daemon she'd seen before, but there was nothing else it could be. It flew to Kulang and chirruped briefly: Friends. We shan't hurt you. The great white bear had not moved at all.
"Come up," said the boy, and again her daemon made sense of it for her. Watching the bear with superstitious awe, she scrambled up to the top of the little waterfall and stood shyly on the rocks beside them. Kulang became a butterfly and settled for a moment on her cheek, but left it to flutter around the other daemon, who sat still on the boy's hand.
"Will," he said, pointing to himself.
She responded, "Ama."
Each said the other's name, and very soon she grew less nervous, though Ama remained frightened of the boy almost more than of the bear: he had a horrible wound: two of his fingers were missing. She felt dizzy when she saw it. The bear turned away and trod along the milky stream, occasionally lying down as if to cool himself in the water, which was so close to his own color. The boy's daemon took to the air and darted and fluttered with Kulang among the rainbows, and slowly they began to understand each other.
And what should the boy be looking for but a cave, with a girl asleep? The words tumbled out of her in response. "I know! I know where it is! And she's been kept asleep by a woman who says she is her mother, but no mother would be so cruel, would she? She makes her drink something to keep her asleep, but I have some herbs to make her wake up, if only I could get to her!" She spoke so quickly that Will could only shrug and spread his hands. It took the daemons a minute or more of talking before the understanding came into Will's mind.
"Iorek," he called, and the bear lumbered along the bed of the stream, licking his chops, for he had just swallowed a fish. "Iorek," Will said, "I think this girl is saying she knows where Lyra is. What I'll do is go with her to have a look, while you stay here and watch."
Iorek Byrnison said nothing, but stood foursquare in the stream as Will concealed his rucksack behind a rock and buckled on the knife before clambering down through the rainbows with Ama. Will had to brush his eyes frequently and peer through the dazzle to see where it was safe to put his feet, and the mist that filled the air was icy. No wonder Iorek was enjoying the water; Will could only imagine how much he had suffered from the heat of the journey.
saluuna, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by saluuna)
"His Dark materials" is a trilogy that will never go out of style. I first read this book (the last in the series) when I was eleven years old, and to this day the imagery and haunting message at the end still stay with me. Now, I know that pretty much every book lover is aware of this book--as they should be, but I cannot help but rave about it once more. Every word on the page has been thoroughly thought out, so vividly described that I feel as if I am part of the story. Phillip Pullman truly had his muse with him when he wrote this book, for he maps out and describes not just one world in this story, but many. As his main protagonists go from world to world, he describes the places they visit with clarity, creativity, and an honesty that almost makes me believe that it actually exists. The entire book is laced with a sort of mysticized frenzy, as if there is a ticking time bomb somewhere that everyone forgot to mention. This is why I could not put this book down the first time I read it, and I could not put it down the 15th time I read it, either. I love this book, because it gives me the power to dream the impossible. I hope you love, or will love, the story of Lyra and Will as much as I do.
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The Amber Spyglass: His Dark Materials, Book III
Used Trade Paper
0 stars -
Alfred A. Knopf -
by Kirkus Reviews,
"[S]atisfies deeply: full of grand set pieces, resplendent language, and glorious storytelling....[A] brilliant and vivid canvas....There are roaring battles and moments of great tenderness; there are unforgettable scenes....Readers will be chastened — and warmed — and sorry to see the last page."
"Absorbing....Like Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling, [Pullman] invents a world filled with strange divinations and wordplays."
by Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
"Impossible to put down, so firmly and relentlessly does Pullman draw you into his tale....[A] gripping saga pitting the magnetic young Lyra Belacqua and her friend Will Parry against the forces of both Heaven and Hell."
by Polly Shulman, Salon.com,
"Pullman places himself in a tradition of serious symbol makers....[W]hile Pullman may have become caught up in adult theology — and while he has won more grown-up readers with each Dark Materials book — he keeps the swooping plots and passionate characters that make his earlier books so appealing to young readers....[The Amber Spyglass] is nearly as satisfying as the first two [books in the trilogy]....Pullman has mustered a spectacular array of forces in a three-sided battle for control over the universe of universes....He shuts doors and ties up loose ends in a way that feels, for the first time, slightly artificial. Still, that's a very minor flaw in what stands with The Lord of the Rings as one of the most resonant fantasies of our time."
by J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series,
"Philip Pullman is a writer I very much admire. I think he can write most adult authors off the page....I think he's amazing."
by Publishers Weekly,
"In concluding the spellbinding His Dark Materials trilogy, Pullman produces what may well be the most controversial children's book of recent years....Stirring and highly provocative."
by Horn Book (starred review),
"The book rollicks and careers with the narrative gale force we've come to expect. Philip Pullman achieves effects that rival the best accomplishments of the earlier books. In any given chapter Pullman offers more sensuous description and narrative brio than are found in most entire novels."
“The most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings.” —The Oregonian
Throughout the worlds, the forces of both heaven and hell are mustering to take part in Lord Asriel’s audacious rebellion. Each player in this epic drama has a role to play--and a sacrifice to make. Witches, angels, spies, assassins, tempters, and pretenders, no one will remain unscathed.
Lyra and Will have the most dangerous task of all. They must journey to a gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone and from which there is no escape.
As war rages and Dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living--and the dead--to depend on Lyra and Will.
A New York Times Bestseller
A Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel
Winner of the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award.
Winner of the British Book Award (Children's)
"Pullman has created the last great fantasy masterpiece of the twentieth century. An astounding achievement." --The Cincinnati Enquirer
"Breathtaking adventure . . . a terrific story, eloquently told." --The Boston Globe
"War, politics, magic, science, individual lives and cosmic destinies are all here . . . shaped and assembled into a narrative of tremendous pace by a man with a generous, precise intelligence. I am completely enchanted." --The New York Times Book Review
"Masterful. . . . This title confirms Pullman's inclusion in the company of C. S. Lewis and Tolkien." --Smithsonian Magazine
From the Hardcover edition.
We are releasing an updated trade-paper box set of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy with eye-catching new art from Cliff Nielsen. With glowing special effects, the new trade paperback editions will stand out on the shelves among other YA bestsellers and draw in new Pullman fans.
Published in 50 countries with over 22 million copies sold, The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass are renowned for their engrossing storytelling and epic scope. These modern classics are must-reads for every book lover.
His Dark Materials is the story of Lyra and Will, two ordinary children with extraordinary roles to play in a more-than-mortal battle that will impact all the worlds.
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.