Five reasons I’m nervous-excited about Philip Pullman’s The Book of Dust

Book Thoughts, children's books, Uncategorized, Writing, Writing Thoughts

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In case you don’t keep up to date with all the latest in book news, here it is: PHILIP PULLMAN IS BRINGING OUT THE BOOK OF DUST, an ‘equel’ to HIS DARK MATERIALS. Guys, we get to adventure again with Lyra!!!!

I love Northern Lights so much, and the rest of the series not much less. Lee Scoresby. Iorek Bryrinson. The fantastic evilness of Mrs Coulter. The wonderful world Lyra lives in, then colliding with our world and others. I read and re-read these books so so many times as a teenager.

So I should be just over the moon about this, right? But my excitement is definitely tinged with some concerns… here we go:

1. Will it ruin the original?

This is the main thing, guys. What if it’s not as good? What if we find out things that change the books that we love already and not in a good way? What if we can never experience Northern Lights in the same way again?

2. Is there enough left to tell?

This one probably needn’t worry me too much – Pullman is a master storyteller and has never yet failed to draw me in. But His Dark Materials seems so complete in itself that it’s hard to believe that there’s another three book series in there.

It’s a bit like finding out that JK’s slim companion book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is being transformed into a seven part film series. Like, really??

(Again, from the first film I think this will probably be fine… though I definitely felt like the film was holding back on us a bit.)

3. Will Pullman’s cheeky atheism get in the way?

As a Christian, there are certain parts of His Dark Materials that are a bit uncomfortable for me – and increasingly so throughout the series. This probably contributes to the fact that I like the first book the best.

On the whole though, I don’t think the books are evil or even challenging to faith – to me Pullman reads like he’s trying to make some theological point but is actually like a cheeky child dancing up and down. God is definitely big enough to take it.

But especially with the title, I wonder if the balance is going to work out in the next set of books. I hope the story wins out.

4. Will the time gap work?

I can’t remember exactly how it works, but I think it’s two books before HDM and one after – or perhaps the other way round. How’s that going to work satisfyingly?

5. Will Lyra be okay?

The ending of HDM makes me cry every single time. The nobility and tragedy of Lyra and Will’s parting, the sadness of their going to the same gardens each year… Lyra’s loss of her ability to read the alethiometer. And now we get to see more.

Will she fall in love again? Will she pine away? I’m not sure I could bear either.

Knowing Lyra, though, she’ll soon be adventuring again.

So I’m generally a bit nervous about the books. But there’s no way this would stop me reading them – and the first title makes me excited already – roll on 19th October!

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