So by now you’ve either read my previous review of His Dark Materials or you’ve skipped ahead to here. So greetings all!
“War asks many people to do unreasonable things.”
The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage is the first book in a trilogy which focuses on some characters you may recognise from His Dark Materials, with la Belle Sauvage acting primarily as a prequel.
The book focuses on a young boy called Malcom Polstead. Malcom is the kind of person who tends to notice everything around him but not actually be noticed himself and as a child he excelled in this skill. Perhaps it’s no wonder that he became a spy.
“How can knowing something be sinful?”
Living in Oxford, Malcom and his Dæmon Asta pay attention to the world around them and one day something captures his attention. A secret message comes upon him regarding a particular substance known as Dust. The spy that the message was intended for finds him and requests that he keeps it secret and safe.
“One hears all sorts of things. The question is whether they matter.”
But life for a spy means that there are suspicious characters everywhere, Lord Asriel, clearly on the run from something but what he isn’t quite sure; agents from the Magisterium trying to enforce their rule, an Egyptian known as Coram holds warnings for Malcom and then there’s a stunning woman, with an evil monkey Dæmon.
What do all these people have in common? Well they all keep asking about a little girl known as Lyra who seems to be a magnet for these people.
“But what matters is not the similarities your imagination finds, but the similarities that are implicit in the image, and they are not necessarily the same. I have noticed that the more imaginative readers are often the less successful. Their minds leap to what they think is there rather than waiting with patience. And what matters most of all is where the chosen meaning comes in the hierarch of meaning, you see, and for that there is no alternative to the books. That is why the only alethiometers we know about are kept in or by great libraries.”
Malcom must now become protector and brave anything and anyone that crosses his path to keep this little girl safe.
“She had been hurt too when they pulled apart; one day, perhaps, they’d be able to talk about it….”
Whilst this book is a slow burner in places, I still absolutely loved it and wasn’t bored at all! Philip Pullman has a magical way of drawing you in and making you feel like you’re a part of the story yourself and not letting you go until the final page.
Like I mentioned earlier, it acts as a prequel to His Dark Materials where we meet Lyra and Pantalaimon as babies, we meet her parents and the dark forces around her which Malcom is trying to protect her from.
Absolutely another 5 star book and would highly recommend reading it, especially if you like His Dark Materials.
Keep an eye out for the upcoming review of The Book of Dust: Volume Two, The Secret Commonwealth.
You can find it in Amazon:
Until next time my lovelies,