Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass

These are the second and third books in Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.  I reviewed the Golden Compass (the kale one) earlier this year.  Obviously, The Subtle Knife is a big FU to non- English speakers.  I mean, two silent letters?  Really?  And of course, Amber Spyglass is the name of Phillip Pullman's favorite stripper.  Real appropriate for young adult readers Pullman.

So, these are fun and even better than the first book.  For some reason I love reading an epic fantasy series at this time of year.  Is it some sort of heathen rebellion? I was reading LOTR at Christmas every year and this was pre-movies. Of course, I always love me some HP.  Of course I mean Hewlett Packard.  The best book in that series is Hewlett Packard and the Deathly Low-Ink Levels.

As this series continues it gets more complex and yet makes more sense. Think of it this way, as you add more and more pieces to the puzzle you realize...oh yeah, that's a puppy's face!  But even though this was targeted to young adults its pretty darn sophisticated.  Two people that I know love these books have some educational background in Religious Studies.  If you do, you will realize how clever some of this stuff is, but you don't need that knowledge to enjoy it.  Pullman is lifting ideas out of the Old Testament and The Book of Enoch.  (The OT is craaaazy and the Apocryphal books even crazier).  ♫ Angels we have heard on high, don't come down here im-preg-nating me...Gloria...♫.

Fear not, these books are not just about religion but also have theoretical physics, philosophy, and its just plain good epic fantasy adventure. The ending is not ideal in that it kind of hits you on the head with its message.  Its saving grace is that there are magical animals which include but are not limited to: kitties, ermines (a kind of stoat) and pine martens, yes, magical pine martens. 

Drink with a Christmasy cocktail that will make you feel warm inside.   Brandy Alexander: 1 & 1/2 oz of brandy, 1 oz dark creme de cacao (you could substitute Kahlua I suspect) 1 oz half and half  and 1/4 tsp of freshly grated nutmeg.  Put all of the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain and top with the nutmeg.     


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