The Amber Spyglass
So many different characters are displayed in this book.
Will intent on finding Lyra and rescues her presents one story. Mary finding and befriending the mulefas presents another.
Lord Asriel and his world presents another. There are daemons, Angels, Humans and Gallivespians,
armored bears and witch-clans, technicians and scientists, aircraft and weapons. Battles are going on everywhere.
Will finds a knife that can cut windows into different
worlds and uses it to search different worlds. Lyra is in danger of being killed. Will finds her drugged in a cave with her
mother. He befriends a girl who has asked for a potion to wake her up. Will and the girl rescue Lyra, and their adventurers
begin. She tells Will she is responsible for Roger’s death and must tell him she is sorry. She wants him to take her
to the land of the dead. Will wants to see his father who has also died. Two Gallivespians sent by Lyra’s father, Lord
Asriel journey with them.
With Will’s help, Lyra finds Roger. Will also
finds his father. Lyra wanting to release Roger from his death, gets Will to agree to cut a hole in the underworld to release
all the ghosts. They cannot come back to life, but they disappear as a vapor once they are outside the dark underworld.
The Authority wants Lyra dead because she is a threat
to him. Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter save Lyra from him by falling into the abyss created by a bomb released from Saint-Jean-les-Eaux.
Lyra, having had to abandon her daemon in the underworld, must go in search of him again. Will discovers he also has a daemon.
Together they search for their daemons and meet up with Mary. Father Gomez has been sent to kill Lyra and Balthamos, an angel
who journeyed with Will while he searched for Lyra, killed him.
Eventually, Lyra and Will find their daemons, fall
in love and are made to realize that since they are from two different worlds, they cannot stay together. In order for them
to remain alive, they must return to their own worlds.
Philip Pullman’s adventurous book is wonderfully
written. The imaginative descriptions of the various characters make them come alive for the reader and definitely make the
reader connect to them. The creative worlds captivate the reader’s attention. All the various worlds, the different
characters, and the idea that people could visit the dead is almost overwhelming. Pullman has created a very exciting and suspenseful trilogy
that will keep the reader reading to the end. The mulefa using seedpods as wheels to maneuver across the land was humorous.
Daemons and animals talking to humans and characters unheard of were things that made the book almost magical. The ending
is a tear jerker when the main characters know they have to leave one another.
One teen reader
states, “It was a shocking ending to the brilliant Dark MaterialsTrilogy, in which all unexplained plots from the first
two came to an end. It gripped from the start, a long awaited start due to the very suspenseful ending of The Subtle Knife.
I also enjoyed the emerging love between the two main characters, Lyra and Will. That was very touching. The whole book was
touching, and its ending left you wanting more” (http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=amber+spyglass+by+phillip+pullman).
Another teen comments, “'His Dark Materials' is definitely
ranking in my list of top books. Philip Pullman is such a phenomenally creative and distinctive writer - it really blows me
away. The scope of his imagination really brings the stories to life, but for me, the real treasure is in his characterization.
From one or two sentences, you can immediately connect with and relate to every one of his characters...Lyra, Will, Asriel,
Mrs Coulter, the Metatron, Mary...every one of them is almost a real person, one that you could expect to see walking round
the corner. The ending of this trilogy had me crying. The emotion that Mr. Pullman conveys with mere words is electrifying.
The trilogy is a true joy to read, and it will open your eyes to so many dimensions that have just been lurking out of sight” (http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=amber+spyglass+by+phillip+pullman).
An adult book reviewer writes, “In the final installment of his trilogy, Philip Pullman has set himself the highest hurdles. He must match its predecessors
in terms of sheer action and originality and resolve the enigmas he already created. The good news is that there is no critical
bad news--not that The Amber Spyglass doesn't contain standoffs and close calls galore. (Who would have it otherwise?) But
Pullman brings his audacious revision of Paradise Lost to
a conclusion that is both serene and devastating. In prose that is transparent yet lyrical and 3-D, the author weaves in and
out of his principals' thoughts. Throughout his galvanizing epic, Pullman
sustains scenes of fierce beauty and tenderness. He also allows us a moment or two of comic respite” (http://www.amazon.com).
A Publisher’s Weekly book reviewer comments, “Pullman's exuberant work stays rigorously true to its own internal structure.
Stirring and highly provocative” (http://www.amazon.com).
Pullman, Philip. 2000. The Amber Spyglass.
New York: Dell Laurel-Leaf.
Amazon.com Book Reviews. http://amazon.com. Accessed 3 July, 2005.
We Read: Education for Life.
(http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=amber+spyglass+by+phillip+pullman). Accessed 3 July, 2005.
Blood and Chocolate
Vivian is a teenager, an
artist, and very much a werewolf. The group she calls a pack has moved from place to place because the taste for blood over
powers them at times. They must on in order for humans to not discover and destroy them. Vivian has a drawing that is published
beside a poem written by Aiden. She decides to check him out and finds him attractive. Although she is closely watched by
the pack teenage males who desire her, she desires Aiden’s company.
Her father, who had been
pack leader, died in a fire previous to their moving. Her mother brings other males from the pack home for companionship.
One such male, Gabriel, takes a fancy to Vivian and she shuns him.
The pack change into wolf
form and run at night mostly in the shadows on the river bank or the woods. The five young males of the pack have one who
tries to lead them astray. Rafe wants Vivian, but she shuns him. He cannot stand the fact that she is seeing a meat-boy. Victims
are killed while the pack is in changed form. Vivian wonders who it can be.
Deciding that they need a
new leader quickly, the pack chooses to find one according to their law. There will be a fight. One of the wicked females
of the pack wants to join the fight to prove females are just as tough. Gabriel is coaxed into letting her, but quickly puts
her in her place. Once they find a leader, the females are given a chance to fight for mating with the leader. Vivian’s
mother, being the previous leader’s mate, is quickly attacked from behind by Astrid. Vivian, intending only to rescue
her mother, wins the fight and realizes what she has done. She must run from Gabriel, the new leader, in order to not become
his mate. She makes it home and he tells her that she will become his.
Wanting to be truthful to
Aiden, she decides to show him that she can change. As she changes, he becomes frightened and she jumps through his window
to escape. When she wakes up, she thinks she has killed a human. She decides to find out what happened and in town finds that
there was a victim behind the town bar. Frightened she keeps it to herself. Then she wakes up with a hand in her bed. Believing
she kills and doesn’t remember, she decides to kill herself. One of the teenage males finds her before she does. He
tells her what he knows. Astrid and Rafe, who have become romantically involved, plan on killing Aiden.
Aiden who wants to meet with
Vivian is in danger himself. Vivian discovers that Astrid and Rafe plan on killing Aiden. They had previously killed his best
friend and found a note written to Vivian from Aiden that he wanted to meet with her. In a rushed attempt to keep Astrid from
harming Aiden, Vivian tries to change to a wolf to fight off Astrid. Aiden is there with a gun and a silver bullet to kill
Vivian whom he thinks has committed all the killings in town. She attempts to tell Aiden how much she cares for him. She tells
him he must shoot Rafe and she will handle Astrid. Gabriel shows up and kills Astrid. Aiden, stricken with fear, shoots at
Gabriel and Vivian steps in between them and is shot.
The pack healer is there
and tries to save Vivian’s life. She remained half-changed and becomes stuck that way until Gabriel makes her realize
she could never be happy with a human even though he realizes she loved Aiden. Then, she is capable of changing back to her
Annette Klauses’s book
is a terrific fantasy book. The description of the change between human-like form and wolf-like form is enlightening. The
reader can almost see the change themselves. The plot created by Klause in this book is magnificent. The reader is captivated
page after page. Vivian’s longing to be different makes the reader have great compassion for her, but in the end realize
she must stick with her own kind to be truly happy and safe. The ending creates a longing for a sequel to find out more about
Vivian and her pack. Although the description of the werewolf being like a wolf is not what the reader expects after seeing
werewolf’s on television, the descriptions are more believable. The animosity between some of the pack makes the book
definitely interesting. It reminds the reader of reality
One reader comments that
the book “…has
fierce suspense, a gripping romance and lots of genuine scares,” and “he final result is a book which I think
adults and mature teens would enjoy; but one which is entirely inappropriate for impressionable youngsters. In the wrong hands
it's a virtual primer for
Goth gangs and a book whose content parents need to be aware of, lest it fall into those hands”
One teen reader states, “.
On a scale of 1- 10, I would rate Blood and Chocolate a seven. I give it a seven because there were several cuss words which
were not needed and some profanity. If you look past the profanity the book was pretty good. Things that could be improved
would be to leave out the profanity and cussing. One last thing that would improve the book is to have less talking about
the setting” (http://www.buildingrainbows.com/bookreview/blood-and-chocolate-laurel-leaf-books/957).
Klause, Annette Curtis. 1997.
Blood and Chocolate. New York: Bantam Doubleday.
Rainbows. http://www.buildingrainbows.com/bookreview/blood-and-chocolate-laurel-leaf-books/957 . Accessed 3 July, 2005.
BrothersJudd.com Book Reviews. http://www.brothersjudd.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/reviews.detail/book_id/515. Accessed 3 July, 2005.
Others See Us
Jared’s family visits
his grandmother’s estate every year in July. He rides his bicycle to keep in shape. This year, he rides before gathering
with the family and the brakes fail on his bicycle. He falls into the grimy swamp where the local factory has dumped sludge
into the water. When he returns home, his mother makes him scrub himself clean until no trace of the smell exists. He and
his family meet with the family and he begins to feel funny. He can hear voices in his head and begins to realize that these
voices are the thoughts of those in the room. He can’t wait to meet up with his cousin Annelise whom he secretly admires.
They have something in common; they both keep journals.
Jared returns home that evening
to find his journal missing. Supposedly, no one knows about the journal but Annelise. He finds a way to talk to Annelise and
she tells him to return her journal. He admits he did not take it, but someone took his also. He had had his hidden beneath
a board in his room. They both become concerned about others reading their journal. Jared, capable of reading minds, gets
a glimpse into Annelise’s journal because of what she is thinking. He quickly finds out how ruthless she is and what
she really thinks of him.
Then he finds out that his
grandmother has fallen into the swamp herself. He realizes that she must be the one who took the journals. He and Annelise
decide to pay grandmother a visit. While Annelise talks to grandma, Jared tries to read her mind. She takes him on an unexpected
trip and he thinks he has tricked her until she admits she has the journals. She blackmails the two into going to the swamp
to retrieve some more water from it. Apparently, she needs it to keep up her dealings since she can now read minds. Since
the swamp has now been fenced, she needs the two to retrieve the water for her. Jared agrees to go, but does not want Annelise
near it. She insists on going.
struggle while at the swamp and Annelise falls in herself. Jared realizes the damage Annelise can do when she realizes that
she can read minds. She attempt to pretend she wasn’t the one supposed to be watching a younger cousin. The cousin almost
drowns and she accuses another cousin of avoiding responsibility. Grandmother intervenes and tells the others that it was
Annelise’s fault that she had seen the younger girl and watched her walk into the water and then gave her mouth-to-mouth
resuscitation for the attention as a heroine.
become complicated for the family as the grandmother retrieves with Annelise and later invites Jared and another cousin, Lindie
to have drinks. Annelise would like to destroy Lindie who she feel is little miss perfect. The grandmother offers the grandchildren
beer and Jared takes it. Lindie takes a drink and decides she likes the taste and takes one herself. Jared amazed that they
weren’t becoming drunk realizes she is giving them part of the swamp water. Annelise is taken away to a place for criminally
disturbed teenagers because she had taken part in planning an accident in which someone was killed.
Sleator’s book is immediately interesting. The setting and the characters are mysterious. The science fiction realm
keeps the reader’s attention. The mind reading that Jared encounters is humorous and the reader can relate to him as
someone who holds a secret and intended on keeping it to himself. The plot has a fantastic twist in the end. The reader thinks
one person will win, but a different one takes over. The grandmother had a unique place in the story. Jared finds out his
grandmother is ruthless, but she is in control when he fears Annelise has become more powerful. Sleator’s ability to
hold the reader is until the very end is a great attribute. This is a science-fiction book that would be enjoyed by boys and
A School Library Journal book reviewer writes, “Jared is likable, and his grandmother
is absolutely fascinating. The anxiety reflected in the dreams of the boy's codependent mother is a deft touch. Although Annelise's
villainy seems a bit heavy, and the denouement takes place rather summarily, the plot is enticing and the pace fast. This
is an author who knows exactly what adolescents care about, and he effortlessly hooks them with a few paragraphs of first-person
narration. His genius is in taking vague science-fiction whimsy and using imagery to word paint it into a stunning virtual
reality. Nobody does it better!” (amazon.com).
reader comments, “This book really boosts your imagination; you'll think differently about
a lot of things. Once you get into it, you can't keep your nose out of it; then at the end, you want to know more and you're
sorry you read it so fast - but it's worth it” (http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=others+see+us+william+sleator. Another reader states, ” William Sleator's books are some of the
best sci-fi I have ever read” (http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=others+see+us+william+sleator).
Sleator, William. 1993. Others See Us. New York: Puffin Books.
Book Reviews. http://www.amazon.com. Accessed 3 July,
Education for Life.
http://search.hp.netscape.com/hp/boomframe.jsp?query=others+see+us+william+sleator. Accessed 3 July, 2005.