The Secret Commonwealth: The Book of Dust Volume Two
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: Penguin Publishers

Pullman’s wordplay and his prowess to juggle many themes together are delectable yet baffling at times. It takes a lot of patience and focus to understand the metaphorical references in the world that he calls his own! It was definitely a challenge to understand this part of the series as I hadn’t read the previous part. Amidst kindle shopping and long reading hours, I finally did finish reading this masterpiece. No wonder I am now tempted to read ‘His Dark Materials’ now to understand the author’s point of view in more depth.

In the previous part of the Book of Dust Series (La Belle Sauvage), Lyra was just an infant. Her protector, Malcolm, too appears in this book and seems to be in love with her. However, Lyra now is more keen on exploring the plausibility of the idea of having a parallel daemon (Pantalaimon, in her case). Knowing that Pullman’s favourite Lyra forms the pivot in most of his stories, here she inarguably moves the wheels of the plot further. Owing to the differences with her daemon, Lyra is ‘melancholic’ (not depressed). While she struggles to choose fancy over reason, Pantalaimon or Pan decides to leave her all alone claiming that she has lost all imagination. Heartbroken, Lyra embarks on a journey that promises dangers, precarious stories about relationships and scepticism. In every chapter, we see Lyra grow and learn. One one hand she is preoccupied with the thought of reuniting with her daemon and on the other hand, she has to save herself from the various henchmen who have been sent for her. Lyra’s journey from being a moody, unwise and much in love to becoming more composed, intellectual and audacious- is praiseworthy.

Overall, The Book of Dust (Part II) is quite engaging as it oscillates between the bitter reality of Lyra’s life and the diabolical maze her mind weaves. Whether this book is suited for children or not is still debatable as the author touches upon rape, arguable concepts about spirituality and inner daemons. Children who have already read ‘His Dark Materials’ might find solace in meeting a grown-up Lyra here but the plot (with too many subplots) might not be easy to digest! It is, no doubt, an interesting read for the fantasy lovers though!

Best wishes to the author!

Buying Link: Amazon

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