The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Like The Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife, I listened to The Amber Spyglass on audiobook where Philip Pullman narrates his own books alongside a full cast. If you’re going to listen to anything on audiobook, I definitely recommend this trilogy because of how well it’s narrated, maybe not due to how good the book is though…

Will is the bearer of the knife. Now, accompanied by angels, his task is to deliver that powerful, dangerous weapon to Lord Asriel – by the command of his dying father.

But how can he go looking for Lord Asriel when Lyra is gone? Only with her help can he fathom the myriad plots and intrigues that beset him.

The two great powers of the many worlds are lining up for war, and Will must find Lyra, for together they are on their way to battle, an inevitable journey that will even take them to the world of the dead…


“People are too complicated to have simple labels.”

― Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass


This was… an okay(?) finale. I don’t know… When I finished it, I felt a sense of relief because I had listened to about 16 hours of the audiobook (not in one sitting) and I was glad to be able to move on to something else. I reflected on what I had read and there were a few things that I really did enjoy about the book. I really liked the multiple perspectives s so that we could find out what was going on in the different worlds whilst Lyra and Will went on their quest. I also started to like Will’s character ever-so-slightly. When the book had finished, I still didn’t completely like him, but I guess it was a start. It was so much better than the other two book, there was more detail, but less rambling which was brilliant because the previous two books had a lot of waffle and sometimes, I just got bored. Not in this one though!

I just had so many problems with it. Which is a huuuuggge shame because The Amber Spyglass is most people’s favourite book out of the trilogy. It’s definitely not mine, mine is The Northern Lights. Let me just share my list of problems with you:

  • This book was way too long. About 100/150 of the pages weren’t needed so a lot of waffle could have been cut out.
  • I HATE HOW LYRA NOW FULLY LEANS ON WILL! uggghhhhh. In the first book, she was this independent child who did what she wanted, when she wanted and she answered to no one but herself. She leads a number of adults to go and rescue children, she spoke to an armoured bear… ALL BY HERSELF. But then WIll comes along and ruins everything and now Lyra is all like ‘Help me, Will’, ‘Oh, Will…’ and ‘Oh, Will! Whatever shall we do?’. NO. GIVE ME LYRA BACK FROM THE FIRST BOOK.
  • Why do all of the villains get forgiven? Hello, yeah excuse me but Miss Coulter was an amazing villain, she was just brilliant. But now, she suddenly loves Lyra and would do anything for her, and then she gets redemption for being evil? Ummm, no. I want bad guys til the very end. Same with Lord Asriel. He was a non-loving, stupid, horrible father and overall human being who was given redemption. Nope.
  • The ending was just awful. That’s all I’m going to say about that.
  • The explanation of dust was stupid.
  • Pullman once described this trilogy as an anti-religious series. I’m sorry but everything about this book screamed religion to me. The redemption of evil, the land of the dead, the afterlife, the all-knowing, the creator… Everything had positive religious connotations.
  • Lyra and Will do the dirty. Aren’t they like… 13/14?
  • I think there are more things that I didn’t like but my head is way too full and busy to even comprehend them right now.


“I stopped believing there was a power of good and a power of evil that were outside us. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are.”

― Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass


Soooooo. Yeah… Those are my problems. To be honest, the series went downhill after the first book. The first one was my favourite and then The Subtle Knife was ok and then this one?!! Just. No. I am planning on reading The Book of Dust just because it’s about Lyra before she went to Jordan College, so THERE’S NO WILL! WHOOOOOOO! Which means that we’ll hopefully get more of Lyra being her independent self and not relying on stupid Will to do everything.

Sorry for the ranty, bullet points. There was just a lot about this book that I had to get off of my chest. If you enjoyed The Amber Spyglass, then I’m jealous. I really wish that I did, but there were just too many factors that I had a problem with. But at least I’ve read the series now and I can say that I’ve read it, and it just wasn’t for me.

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