Wellington City Libraries

Te Matapihi Ki Te Ao Nui

Teen Blog

Reading, Wellington, and whatever else – teenblog@wcl.govt.nz

Category: Tremendous Trilogies Page 1 of 2

Tremendous Trilogies Volume 11

Shifting slightly from dystopia to more traditional fantasy, we present to you the Abhorsen trilogy by Garth Nix. Garth Nix is a fantastic Australian author who also wrote the Keys to the Kingdom series, which at a total of seven books doesn’t quite fit into our trilogy theme but we highly recommend it anyway! Find them here.

Similarly to the Graceling trilogy which we have featured in the past, the three books of the Abhorsen trilogy take place in the same universe, but are about different characters.

Image courtesy of Syndetics Image courtesy of Syndetics Image courtesy of Syndetics

Book one follows 18-year-old Sabriel in southern Ancelstierre, where the technology and society are similar to that of early 20th century England. Sabriel discovers her father, the Abhorsen, has gone missing and she must enter the Old Kingdom, a land of magic and dangerous spirits, to find him. Necromancers have the power to raise these spirits into powerful undead beings, and only the Abhorsen has the power to put them back to rest. Along her journey, Sabriel collects companions – a Free Magic-constructed talking cat named Moggett and a Royal Guard named Touchstone long-imprisoned by magic – and she is plagued by a Dead creature shadowing her every move. Sabriel must keep moving, face her destiny and creep ever closer to an epic battle of life and death.

The second book in the trilogy follows Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr. She looks different to the other Clayr, and she is different – her expected abilities of clairvoyance have not appeared at the usual age of eleven, and Lirael is already thirteen. On her fourteenth birthday, Lirael is appointed to the position of librarian for the Clayr where she explores the vast mystical library. Five years later, Lirael encounters Sabriel’s son Sameth and together they must undertake a mission cloaked in dread and evil.

In the final book, Orannis the Destroyer has been freed from its ancient subterranean prison and seeks to escape the silver hemispheres, the final barrier between it and terrible destruction. Lirael and her companions are the only ones with any chance of stopping the force of Orannis, the ancient Ninth. Those she thought were her allies have turned on her, and further allies have disappeared without a trace. It is the responsibility of young Lirael to prevent the destructive force of Orannis before it’s too late.

There are a LOT of elements to these books, which makes them very difficult to sum up succinctly! There’s magic, realism, romance, friendship, the underworld, necromancy, clairvoyance and a talking cat! What more could you possibly need? Also, this one is kind of cheating the trilogy theme as well, as the fourth book in the series is scheduled for release in September 2014. However, the release of this book has been announced and changed numerous times in recent years, so who knows when it’ll actually show up…

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Ten.

Since this is the third dystopian themed Tremendous Trilogy in a row, let us tell you a little bit about the genre. The word dystopia comes from Ancient Greek and translates to “bad” or “hard”. Dystopian settings are often characterized by dehumanization, totalitarian governments, environmental disaster, or other characteristics associated with a cataclysmic (what an excellent word, thanks Wikipedia) decline in society. More often than not, this translates into some form of social commentary as the cataclysmic decline has been caused by a current day (for us, the reader) socio-political issue. So something like pollution, poverty, societal collapse, political repression, or totalitarianism for example, has lead to said cataclysmic decline. There’s often a good old fashioned good vs evil storyline; the evil component usually being the one in power which leads to a battle or revolution at some point. There might be some characters with extraordinary abilities thrown in and of course, a love story. Of course that’s just a quick overview of some of the tropes of the dystopian genre, we’re sure we’ve missed something.

And after all that learning, let us reward you with the most excellently named Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness. Bonus! All the books have wonderful titles as well (in our humble opinion anyway).

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Knife of Never Letting Go

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee – whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not – stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden. But it’s a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Ask and the Answer

We were in the square, in the square where I’d run, holding her, carrying her, telling her to stay alive, stay alive till we got safe, till we got to Haven so I could save her – But there weren’t no safety, no safety at all, there was just him and his men… Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd has carried a desperately wounded Viola right into the hands of their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss. Immediately separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s new order. But what secrets are hiding just outside of town? And where is Viola? Is she even still alive? And who are the mysterious Answer? And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsMonsters of Men

“War,” says the Mayor. “At last.” Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle, with no chance of escape. As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? How can there ever be peace when they’re so hopelessly outnumbered? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await? But then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge.

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Nine.

We’re on a bit of a dystopian fix at the moment (isn’t everybody?) and so for this Tremendous Trilogy we bring you: Beth Revis’ Across the Universe trilogy.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsAcross the Universe

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsA Million Suns

It’s been three months since Amy was unplugged. The life she always knew is over. Everywhere she looks, she sees the walls of the spaceship Godspeed. But there may be hope: Elder has assumed leadership of the ship. He’s finally free to act on his vision – no more Phydus, no more lies. But when Elder learns shocking news about the ship, he and Amy race to discover the truth behind life on Godspeed. They must work together to unlock a mystery that was set in motion hundreds of years earlier. Their success (or failure) will determine the fate of the 2,298 passengers aboard Godspeed. But with each step, the journey becomes more perilous, the ship more chaotic, and the love between them more impossible to fight.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsShades of Earth

Amy and Elder have finally left the oppressive walls of the spaceship Godspeed behind. They’re ready to start life afresh and build a home on Centauri-Earth, the planet that Amy has travelled 25 trillion miles across the universe to experience. But this new Earth isn’t the paradise Amy had been hoping for. There are giant pterodactyl-like birds, purple flowers with mind-numbing toxins, and mysterious, unexplained ruins that hold more secrets than their stone walls first let on. The biggest secret of all? Godspeed’s former passengers aren’t alone on this planet. And if they’re going to stay, they’ll have to fight. Amy and Elder must race to discover who, or what else is out there if they are to have any hope of saving their struggling colony and building a future together. They will have to look inward to the very core of what makes them human on this, their most harrowing journey yet. Because if the colony collapses? Then everything they have sacrificed – friends, family, life on Earth – will have been for nothing.

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Eight.

It’s been a while since we did one of these but there have just been so many other exciting topics that needed to be covered! Like Nicola’s brilliant guest posts! (check them out here and here)

In honour of the movie coming out, volume eight of Tremendous Trilogies is Veronica Roth’s Divergent. The trilogy takes place in a dystopian Chicago where society is divided into five factions. Each faction is dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue – Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsDivergent

In the first book we are introduced to heroine Beatrice Prior who’s torn by the faction decision she has to make. Stay with her family or be who she really is? She can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves or it might destroy her.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsInsurgent

Every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris must continue trying to save those she loves – and herself – while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love. Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grow. In times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

book cover courtesy of Syndeticsand the yet to be published Allegiant (October though, not long to go!)

Spoiler Alert!! The faction-based society is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

You can reserve it by clicking on the title 🙂 Hope you enjoy!

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Seven.

We’ve always loved Maurice Gee since being introduced to him at school with The fire-raiser and Under the mountain. Imagine our excitement then at now being able to rave about his tremendous YA Salt Trilogy! This tremendous trilogy takes place in a part dystopian, part fantasy world where one group of citizens, Company, exploit everyone else. Never fear, there’s a resistance movement against these dasterdly rulers and their cruel inforcers, the Whips. What struck us the most about this novel was that the narration felt very much like an oral tradition society telling the story of their origins. The flow of the sentences, the words chosen, the cadence for example all suggest this story is best read aloud.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsSalt, Maurice Gee

The first book in the trilogy opens with the father of the hero, Hari, being forcably taken by the Whips to work in Deep Salt, the mysterious mines from which no one returns. Hari has a secret gift: he can communicate with animals. With this and his own smarts he sets out to rescue his father from With him is the beautiful Pearl, born into Company, she runs from a life of subservience as a married woman and has learned forbidden things from her mysteriously gifted maid Tealeaf.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGool, Maurice Gee

Book two introduces a different kind of horror to Hari’s world. The Gool cannot be seen, not properly, but its evil presence can be sensed. It lurks in the jungle in rock clefts, an enemy from outside nature. And now, a fragment of Gool holds Hari by the throat, draining the life from him. Hari’s friends set out on a perilous mission to find the Dog King Tarl, Hari’s father who they hope will be able to find the source of the Gool and destroy it before it’s too late.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe limping man, Maurice Gee

The final book involves Hari and Pearl’s grandson Ben. He’s been raised by them, and doesn’t quite fit into their world (in the wilderness) or his father’s world (in the city). Back in the burrows Hana has just watched her mother die, and she seeks a way to take revenge on the Limping Man, who has caused her death. Hanna and Ben meet in the forest where they learn of the advancing armies that will wipe out all those who have sought refuge in the wilderness. And so begins their quest to destroy the Limping Man whose secret they need to discover because none of them–alone or together–is strong enough to fight the evil the Limping Man embodies without knowing his secret.

Oh, Maurice Gee, you do battles of good and evil so very well. We loved The Halfmen of O and we love this Tremendous Trilogy just as much!

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Six.

Okay so we may be cheating a little bit in this one. We’ve talked about the first book in this Tremendous Trilogy before, back in our ‘books with such long titles you forget what they are before you can find them on the shelf’ post. But then we read it and loved it so much we decided it deserved a second outing, along with the rest of the trilogy. Without further ado, we give you: the Flora Trilogy by Ysabeau S. Wilce.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFlora Segunda : being the magickal mishaps of a girl of spirit, her glass-gazing sidekick, two ominous butlers (one blue), a house with eleven thousand rooms, and a red dog, Ysabeau S. Wilce

This trilogy takes place in a world like you will never have encountered before with unusual and fantastical language. It takes a bit of getting used to; handy hint: read it in big chunks as it’s rather hard to follow if you pick it up and put it down a lot. Invest though, and you will be rewarded. Flora is one kick-arse heroine! She’s scrappy, determined, brave and best of all, gets up and keeps going even when things aren’t going her way. Things like, her house changing on her, the elevator not stopping when she tells it too and a magical (if rather diminished) butler trying to steal her soul. In the first book of the trilogy Flora goes on a quest with her best friend to rescue one of her greatest heroes. It’s a quest that will take her far from home into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFlora’s dare : how a girl of spirit gambles all to expand her vocabulary, confront a bouncing boy terror, and try to save Califa from a shaky doom (despite being confined to her room), Ysabeau S. Wilce

Flora has stood up to her mother; she’s come clean about her desire to be a ranger. But to do so she must master the magical—and dangerous—language of Gramatica. Along the way, she finds herself thrown into yet another life-altering adventure. Would a true ranger be intimidated by a tentacle that reaches for her from the depths of a toilet? Be daunted by her best friend’s transformation into a notorious outlaw, thanks to a pair of sparkly stolen boots? Be cowed by the revelation that only she can rescue the city of Califa from the violent earthquakes that threaten its survival? Never. Saving her city and her best friend are the least a Girl of Spirit can do! As Flora grows up, so too do the issues she faces. While book one was completely (and refreshingly) romance-free, book two introduces a dash of romance, introduces us more to Flora’s world and its history, and provides a much bigger role for the wide cast of fascinating characters and their relationships.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsFlora’s fury : how a girl of spirit and a red dog confounded their friends, astounded their enemies, and learned the importance of packing light, Ysabeau S. Wilce

Everything Flora thought she knew about her life has been severely shaken (isn’t it always) and in the final book of the trilogy she’s on a quest to find some answers. To be honest, we’re struggling to write this summary without giving away some serious spoilers. So what we will say (vaguely) is that Flora is venturing further afield on this adventure as she goes looking for someone everyone else thinks is dead. Along the way there’s more than a dash of romance, several kidnapping attempts and general non-stop action. Warning: the final book is incredibly open ended. We’re taking this as a good sign for more adventures in Flora’s world. Especially as Ysabeau S. Wilce has said (on Facebook): “Nini Mo’s comment on the end of the Saga of the Second Flora: ‘Everything has an end, except for sausages, which have two.'” Fingers crossed for more! We were left with too many questions to be happy for this tremendous trilogy to end just yet. Which means that, technically, it would no longer be a trilogy. But as it stands, it is one tremendous trilogy.

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Five.

Gosh, volume five! That means we’ve been finding you gems (we hope) for nearly six months now! This is exciting for us, even if it’s not for you. Anyhoo, remember ages ago when we raved about Kristin Cashore as one of our favourite authors? That’s because of her Seven Kingdoms trilogy which really needs to be talked about as a whole. There’s Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue, all of which are awesomely awesome. Tamora Pierce goes as far as to say (about Bitterblue) “There aren’t enough words to describe how awesome this book is.” So that’s a pretty big recommendation!

book cover courtesy of Syndetics book cover courtesy of Syndetics book cover courtesy of Syndetics

Unusually, all three books feature the same villain (who is one scarily sadistic psychopath) but at different stages of his life. If you read them out of order the second book will give away a MASSIVE plot point of the first book. This is a fantasy trilogy and as such it takes place in a magical realm separate from our own. What makes it different is the presence of ‘Gracelings’ who are ordinary people with incredible abilities. Their eyes are two different colours and they are (mostly) feared and hated by everyone else. Their abilities can go from things like being able to hold one’s breath forever or being a master in the kitchen to extreme fighting skills or the ability to read people’s minds. In the spirit of three, we’ll give you three reasons why we love these books:

1. The badass heroines. Each book features a very different young woman, all incredible for different reasons, but who are all embarking on major ‘save-the-world’ quests. All three go through a transformation as they work out who they are, what their place is in the world, and accept the power they have (in this case, a literal power that no one else has). It’s so well done though, you almost don’t notice the coming-of-age element. Because there is just so much awesomeness happening. BUT after all that they don’t get their happy ever after. Well, not in the traditional sense anyway. This is a sneaky reason number four why we love these books. You may not agree, (plenty of people on GoodReads hate this part) but we think that while it makes it frustrating, it also makes the books a whole lot more believable. We don’t want to ruin it for you but essentially they all choose to be part of something bigger than them at a personal cost.

2. Kristin Cashore is a marvelously adept storyteller and gets more so with each book. The books are told entirely from each heroine’s perspective and function like a mystery, we discover things as they discover things. It’s obvious that this is Kristin Cashore’s world and that we’re only visiting. As such, you feel like she has the entire narrative carefully worked out in her head, with each piece of the puzzle released to keep you guessing till the end. But at the same time you know that all the mysteries will be solved and a happy ending (of sorts) reached, making it an extremely enjoyable read.

3. The diegesis (fancy talk for setting). Often when I read fantasy novels (especially those that are grounded in our world like The Raven Boys) I find it hard to fully embrace or believe in the world (or diegesis) of the characters. Kristin Cashore makes it so easy to do this. She explains her diegesis and it doesn’t change (their almost magical capabilities are never increasing for example). The aspects that link this world to our world are in human nature. For example, being (magically) different in the Seven Kingdoms makes you feared and an outcast. Which is similar to how difference is treated in our world. Furthermore, the plot is driven by human conflict. So things like rivalry and love and anger and friendship are the cause of character’s actions firstly, and then secondly will be the influence of their magical component. When you can relate to a character’s emotions, it makes their world so much easier to believe in. Well, that’s what we thought anyway, feel free to disagree.

The best thing about this tremendous trilogy? Kristin Cashore hasn’t ruled out a fourth book!

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Four.

Our next feature is on the Thieves Like Us trilogy by Stephen Cole. This series is a genuine action-adventure story filled with nail biting antics, loads of fun and wonderfully sarcastic heroes.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThieves Like Us is the first book that the trilogy takes its name from. Jonah Wish is a teenage computer-hacking delinquent with an awesome name, a perfect recipe for a member of a teen thievery ring. He joins Patch, Motti, Con and Tye, each with their own special skill which is instrumental in the execution of the plans they come up with. The team work under the watchful eye of Nathaniel Coldhardt as they race from one exotic location to the next to find the ancient artifacts outlined in Coldhardt’s missions. The artifacts may bring riches, or perhaps uncover a long lost secret the human race would like to know about…

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn The Aztec Code (also published as Thieves Til We Die) the team return empty-handed after Coldhardt requested the retrieval of the lost sword of Cortes, which had been used to conquer and destroy the Aztecs. In the wake of the mission’s failure, Tye is kidnapped from under their noses and the other teen geniuses are desperate to get her back. Coldhardt is less concerned. The team uncover an organisation called the Sixth Sun, which could be the key to the location of both Tye and the lost sword. Again racing from one exotic location to the next, this time they are against the clock, counting down until they potentially lose Tye forever.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Bloodline Cipher is (regretfully!) the last in the trilogy. “Jonah and the rest of the elite team of teenage thieves have been sent on a mission by Coldhardt to retrieve an ancient grimoire. He believes it to be a magical book of the law of the dead. Something like that could fetch a very good price in the right market. But when they go in to get it, the discover another team of thieves has beaten them to it. Even more disturbingly, this team is better trained, and better informed. It seems Coldhardt’s old mentor, a man he thought was dead, is not only very alive, but has a highly efficient rival organisation, and a devilish plan to wipe out Coldhardt. Only the best will make it. In a thrilling adventure with brilliant plotting and fiendish twists, join Jonah faces his toughest challenge yet – but will it be his last?” – Goodreads

After I (Rachel) finished book three, I went feverishly searching for the next in the series when I came upon Thieves Til We Die (which I first encountered as The Aztec Code) and was hopeful for all of a second that I had a new book to read, but it wasn’t to be. This is a warning so you don’t make the same disappointing mistake as I did.

We’re slightly sheepish about recommending this trilogy because we feel it had so much more to give than just a trilogy and we fear you might end up wishing as much as we do that it had gone on longer! It felt like the series had a lot more to give, at the very least with two more books so that each of the main gang of five had their ‘own’ featured book. Alas, there are only three and we will forevermore be saying to ourselves (and everyone else, for that matter) “what if?”

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Three.

Hullo! Today’s Tremendous Trilogy takes a step away from the fantasy genre and into the genre of awesomeness. That’s how good they are. They’re just one huge analogy of amazeballs that we can’t quite think of right now. And with that hype, we give you: Evil Genius, Genius Squad and Genius Wars by Catherine Jinks

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsIn Evil Genius we are introduced to Cadel Piggot who by the age of seven was illegally hacking into computer networks. Now he’s fourteen and studying for his World Domination degree, taking classes like embezzlement, misinformation, forgery, and infiltration at the institute founded by criminal mastermind Dr. Phineas Darkkon. But how did he get there? Cadel is a hugely likeable protagonist and one who certainly doesn’t appear intrinsically mean spirited. He just grew up with some truly evil influences in his life. That is, until he meets the charming, equally intelligent, and inherently kind-hearted Kay-Lee. And so, Cadel begins to question the moral implications of his studies for the first time. But is it too late to stop Dr. Darkkon from carrying out his evil plot?

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsGenius Squad introduces a host of other characters, good, bad, and a whole lot falling somewhere in the middle. It turns out that everything Cadel thought he knew about his life isn’t really true. He doesn’t know where he was born or who his father is. On top of this, there’s a dangerous criminal mastermind after him. And so, Cadel finds himself a part of the Genius Squad; a group formed to investigate GenoME, one of Dr. Darkkon’s pet projects. As awesome as the second instalment is, we have to confess; a huge part of why we loved Evil Genius was the intellectual meeting of the minds between Kay-Lee Sonja and Cadel which unfortunately disappears somewhat in Genius Squad. Instead the focus is on Cadel’s struggle with his new found morals and the dubious Genius Squad.

book cover courtesy of SyndeticsTime passes, and by the time we meet Cadel again in Genius Wars he has abandoned a life full of deception and mistrust. He’s found his niche, he has a proper home, good friends and loving parents. He’s even studying at university. But he’s still not safe from the criminal mastermind of the previous two books who is now a fugitive from justice and determined to smash everything that Cadel has struggled to build. When Cadel’s nearest and dearest are threatened, he must launch an all-out attack on the man he once viewed as his father. Can he track him down before it’s too late? And what rules will he have to break in the process?

Reading bits and pieces of these books again in preparation for this post reminded us how much we love them. Enough to read them all over again! Yes, Cadel is an engrossing protagonist with some incredible people in his life but mostly the awesome factor we raved about earlier comes from Catherine Jinks’s writing style. Some parts are laugh out loud funny and some parts will break your heart but without fail, each 400+ page book will draw you into the amazing world of Cadel Piggot.

Tremendous Trilogies, Volume Two.

Continuing on from last time with the fantasy thread (many, many trilogies are fantastical or supernatural themed, so it seems) we’re spotlighting His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. They’re reasonably well-known, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to recommend them to you!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe first book, Northern Lights (also published as The Golden Compass) follows 11 year old Lyra Belacqua, a young girl living at Oxford University and spending her days playing and warring with the kitchen boy and other young ruffians. Lyra’s uncle Lord Asriel is a famous scientific researcher, and during one of his rare trips home to Oxford, Lyra overhears Lord Asriel’s theory of the existence of multiple worlds, as well as learning of a mysterious substance called Dust, with a capital D. As well as all this, children all over England are going missing by child snatchers known among kids and adults alike as the “Gobblers”. Lyra fights for, then is abruptly hurled into an epic adventure to the Northern Lights in the Arctic in order to rescue the missing children and prove Lord Asriel’s theory of the universes. In 2007 there was a movie adaptation of the book (which you can reserve here), but in our opinion it doesn’t live up to the beautiful language and imagery of the novel. They did, however, get the look of the armoured talking bear Iorek Byrnison just right, then did even better by having him voiced by Ian McKellan. Perfect!

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsThe Subtle Knife is the second in the trilogy. Lyra and Will, her new travel companion, find themselves in the tropical world of Cittàgazze where there are no adults and the kids run wild. With the aid of the alethiometer (a symbol reading device which only Lyra is capable of using) Lyra and Will must work together in order to find Will’s father. The alethiometer also leads them closer to the titular Subtle Knife, an ancient and deadly object with the power to cut open windows to other worlds. Witches, spirits, beasts and the worlds themselves are banding together like never before and bracing themselves for an epic battle with an extreme force that will affect them all.

Book cover courtesy of SyndeticsLastly is The Amber Spyglass. Lyra and Will are still in danger, but even more so now! With Iorek Byrnison and some other smaller companions they must travel to a world where no living soul has gone before. Meanwhile, Dr. Mary Malone, a physicist from Will’s world, has invented the Amber Spyglass after learning of the existence of Dust. She finds her way though a window to another world where she meets a species of creatures named the Mulefa (the descriptions of the Mulefa’s world are marvelous!). The Mulefa can see the mysterious Dust naturally, and Mary becomes fascinated by the strange creatures. Lord Asriel is fighting a rebellion, and Lyra and Will must face the realisation that the fate of the living, the dead and everything in between is now up to them.

This trilogy is pretty epic, and it’s challenging to summarise each of the novels, let alone the whole series! But since we have to, it’s about fantastical creatures, witches, talking polar bears, angels, adventure, discovery, friendship, and love of all kinds.

The trilogy is also available in one massive book here.

Page 1 of 2