The Secret Commonwealth

The Secret Commonwealth

Book - 2019
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The #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Return to the world of His Dark Materials--now an HBO original series starring Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott, and Lin-Manuel Miranda--in the second volume of Philip Pullman's new bestselling masterwork The Book of Dust.

The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue's youth are long behind her--or so she thought. Lyra is now a twenty-year-old undergraduate at St. Sophia's College and intrigue is swirling around her once more. Her daemon Pantalaimon is witness to a brutal murder, and the dying man entrusts them with secrets that carry echoes from their past.

The more Lyra is drawn into these mysteries, the less she is sure of. Even the events of her own past come into question when she learns of Malcolm Polstead's role in bringing her to Jordan College.

Now Lyra and Malcolm will travel far beyond the confines of Oxford, across Europe and into the Levant, searching for a city haunted by daemons, and a desert said to hold the truth of Dust. The dangers they face will challenge everything they thought they knew about the world, and about themselves.

Praise for The Book of Dust

"It's a stunning achievement, this universe Pullman has created and continues to build on." -- The New York Times

"Pullman's writing is simple, unpretentious, beautiful, true. The conclusion to The Book of Dust can't come soon enough."-- The Washington Post
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, c2019
ISBN: 9780553510669
Branch Call Number: YA PUL
Characteristics: 633 pages :,colour illustration ;,24 cm


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Nov 08, 2020

Second in Pullman's new series. There is a great 300 page novel trapped inside this mammoth book. Not bad but does not compare to "His Dark Materials."

PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 27, 2020

I go into this review freely admitting that of the His Dark Materials series, I have only read the first book, and so, perhaps, luckily, unlike many other readers, I am not disappointed in Lyra as a young adult. The Book of Dust series started with La Belle Sauvage, a backstory to how Lyra gets to Jordan College as a baby, and while I enjoyed it, it had a dreamlike quality, a string of events that didn't necessarily have an arc, so much as a flow. Here, we've skipped past the materials of His Dark Materials and Lyra is now a 20-year-old student at St. Sophia's, and she and Pan have grown apart to the point that they can't bear to be around each other.

Many reviews have been unhappy with the book for one of two reasons. One, Lyra has changed. Lyra has become the epitome of the cynical college student, mistaking cynicism for intelligence. In a July 18, 2018 review of a study on cynicism, Ephrat Livni, in Quartz says “Self-identified cynics pride themselves on skepticism and their ability to be wary of other people’s motives as a sign of discerning intelligence.” Of course, the study finds that “cynicism isn’t as smart as we think it is” (the article’s title) and Pullman would seem to agree. Lyra can no longer read her alethiometer without the aid of books, and Pan tells her it is her lack of imagination, her rejection of anything but the concrete, that has changed her and pulled them apart.

Of course there is a load more going on. The Magisterium is not only still running the world, but a man named Marcel Delamare becomes a more direct threat to freedom of thought, and uses the Magisterium for his own ends. There’s another Bonneville; and Malcolm Polstead, Alice and Hannah all make return appearances. Secret relationships are slowly revealed, and the mystery surrounding a simple vial of rose water comes into sharper focus. And that juggling act, and slow burn are the second reason that some reviewers have been unhappy.

But if you are willing to give this book some time, Pullman works his magic. Yes, it is a slow burn, and this is a doorstop of a book, but when all the individual fuses start to burn, they come together in a magnificent explosion of action and understanding. I simply could not put this book down once I got to the last third. Sleep, laundry, family, they all took second place as bomb after bomb went off in my brain. It’s a pretty amazing trick to leave the reader with a cliffhanger, yet feeling satisfied with the conclusion of a middle-of-the-series book, but Pullman has done it. Don’t let the teen/YA marketing throw you off, this is an important book, and an important series.


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PimaLib_ChristineR Jan 27, 2020

"'You're in a world full of color and you want to see it in black and white. As if Gottfried Brande was some kind of enchanter who made you forget everything you used to love, everything mysterious, all the places where the shadows are.'"

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