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February Book of the Month

Book of the Dust

For those that are familiar with Philip Pullman and the trilogy His Dark Materials will be delighted by the return of the trilogy’s heroin Lyra. In Pullman’s new story, which is the first volume in a new trilogy, we learn about how Lyra came to reside at Jordan College. In this story, set about 10 years before the storyline of Northern Lights, Lyra is only a baby and being taken care of by a group of nuns near Oxford, England. We meet the main character Malcolm, an 11 year old boy who is curious about the baby, Lyra. Malcolm is just the son of innkeepers, but he grows to be the hero of the story. We follow him on his path of becoming a spy and eventually saving Lyra’s life in his boat, La Belle Sauvage, the namesake of this book.

This book is a little slow in the beginning, but picks up the pace of a raging river after a great flood, much like the Biblical one, sweeps across Oxford. Malcolm, Lyra, and Alice (the kitchen help from the local inn) must traverse the great flood in order to keep Lyra safe, yet strange, mystical things occur along their journey making the reader wonder if they will ever get to their destination or back to their families. There is no need to shy away from this book if you have not read any book in His Dark Materials. I was able to jump right into this book with little previous knowledge of Lyra’s story. It might even be more helpful to know Lyra’s backstory before reading the main trilogy. This book will pique your interest in the main characters and get you excited for the next installment.

Reviewd by Colleen Hallfrisch,

Beaver Dam Community Library

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