Lee Scoresby and trusty daemon Hester crash-land their newly-acquired hot air balloon onto an island. Almost immediately he finds himself embroiled in the politics and tensions between big companies, tradesmen and the giant bears he sees everywhere. He quickly finds himself drawn into a deadly situation, friendship with a bear and an opportunity to get even with an old enemy…
I got this in January, but have been holding off reading it because I knew that I wouldn’t want it to be over. And I was right. Lee Scoresby is one of my favourites from His Dark Materials trilogy, as is Iorek, so the chance to read another story with them was very exciting. And of course, Philip Pullman pulled it off in his marvellous and magnificent way, telling a thrilling and atmospheric story even in such a short book.
I love the landscapes of Pullman’s books. Whether it’s Oxford or London or wherever, he brings a place to life and maximises the setting. I loved the claustrophobic feel of this Northern island: where Scoresby bumps into the same people again and again. And I love the North, so that helped too.
The story was succinctly and brilliantly told, with an impressive cast of realised characters filling the pages with intrigue, charm, and plot. I found myself marvelling at Pullman’s incredible story-weaving ability. I am in awe.
And the actual book itself is just stunning. Blue fabric cover, silver lettering, lovely illustrations etc. And there’s a board game in the back that I might actually even play. I usually am not very keen on add-ons to series, but this makes me think that perhaps I should get over myself.
Thanks for that, Philip Pullman, and for everything. And if you have read His Dark Materials you’ll love it, if you haven’t you’ll love it, and you should.