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The Amber Spyglass  By  cover art

The Amber Spyglass

By: Philip Pullman
Narrated by: Philip Pullman,full cast
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Publisher's Summary

Lyra and Will, the two ordinary children whose extraordinary adventures begin in The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife, are in unspeakable danger. With help from Iorek Byrnison the armored bear and two tiny Gallivespian spies, they must journey to a dank and gray-lit world where no living soul has ever gone.

All the while, Dr. Mary Malone builds a magnificent amber spyglass. An assassin hunts her down. And Lord Asriel, with troops of shining angels, fights his mighty rebellion, a battle of strange allies and shocking sacrifice.

As war rages and dust drains from the sky, the fate of the living, and the dead, finally comes to depend on two children and the simple truth of one simple story. The Amber Spyglass reveals that story, bringing Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials to an astonishing conclusion.

Listen to the rest of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series.
©2000 Philip Pullman (P)2001 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Absorbing...Like Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, [Pullman] invents a world filled with strange divinations and wordplays." (Newsweek)
"A literary masterpiece...[that] caps the most magnificent fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings and puts Harry Potter to shame...A page-turning story that builds to a powerful finish." (Oregonian)
"As the rich tale unfolds, Pullman's voice, elegant with a hint of both whisper and rasp, thoroughly enthralls, sounding by turns forceful and tender. The talented, extensive cast gives a dynamic, nearly flawless performance." (Publishers Weekly)

Featured Article: Dream Big—Meet the All-Star Cast of The Sandman: Act II


Immerse yourself in the world of The Sandman right now with an unforgettable audio experience. The star power alone is worth the price of admission—the cumulative amount of awards that have been won by the cast over the course of their careers is simply staggering. The cast features some of the most talented and esteemed actors working today. So let's dive right into the who's who of The Sandman: Act II.

What listeners say about The Amber Spyglass

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    7,775
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    2,062
  • 3 Stars
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Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Sophisticated and Thought Provoking!

Just when you thought this series of books couldn't get any more fantastic, the author steps up to an entirely new level, introducing characters and concepts that are admittedly pretty advanced for youngsters (although my 7 and 11 year olds absolutely love these books). For early teens, it is a perfect introduction to philosophical and ethical ideas that require some serious thought. The nature of religion versus dogma, the concept of self, the idea of power of self-sacrifice, the portrayal of multiple realities, all are explored in new and fascinating ways.

The audio production of the entire series is top-notch and riveting, and has resulted in my driving around the block many times just to get to the end of the next chapter.

Contrary to claims that this book is anti-religion - it is more a criticism of political authority, ignorance, and power. This is not the God of our world - this is an alternate universe. The church in this story is a repressive political entity that relies on fear and intimidation.

It is frightening to see how many people fear these books and wish to ban them rather than to see them as a starting point for discussion of ideas (do not underestimate your children and their ability to comprehend these ideas). These books do not challenge anyone's faith - it really points out the the pitfalls of blind faith versus the true power of actual deeds. Pulling these books out of libraries as some wish to do would be a tragedy, and it seems to reflect more of a lack of faith in one's own beliefs than anything else.

48 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

an exceptional story that's had bad press

Forget the political reviews of this series as an atheist anthem. This is simply a wonderful story with rich characters, fantastic worlds and heartwarming themes about friendship and loyalty. The full cast reading is worth every penny-a must listen!

32 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A great finish to a fabulous trilogy!

His Dark Materials ends with this book (although there is a follow-up, _Lyra's Oxford_, which includes a short story, a map of Lyra's Oxford, and some other materials), the longest of the three.

The various storylines are tied up nicely, though some may not care for how things are left with the two main characters. Despite this, I loved it - this book and the series - and would love for additional stories from Pullman about the characters and places he's brought to life in these books (as he did with the above-mentioned book).

Great books for children or adults of all ages!

21 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Imaginatioon People

Since when did imagination go by the way of a fallen leaf from the big tree? I have heard so much of how bad this series seems to be but as a Pastor I have heard nothing but happiness and excitement from what comes out of this story. Nobody says anywhere in these books that you have to beleive what you hear. The fun of these types of books is to bring you out of such a hard way of living and go into a world that just takes your mind off your own worries. Love the books and gosh - there are only three in the series. I look forward to more.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing after the first two

I loved the first two books of the series. I couldn't put them down, in fact. I felt the same way with the third book until about halfway through, when it began to drag. The ending was completely anticlimactic and smarmy. Towards the end, the story became disjointed, and several questions were left unanswered. It seemed as though the author was scrambling to make things up at the last minute to make the story cohesive, but failed miserably. Such a disappointment.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

A disappoining ending

The “His Dark Materials” series uses a unique blend of fantasy and reality to create what could have been a powerful storyline. Book one does an excellent job of establishing the story and its characters and is a genuine fight between good and evil that leaves the reader expecting more of the same excellent writing. Books two and three stray from the fantastic creativity and rest their premise almost exclusively on the battle against “The Authority” which is later explained to be “God.” A portion of the original storyline persists to hold the plot intact while the antagonist is more and more clearly made out to be something other than was originally alluded to. “God’s” literal attempt to defend himself as a weak and near-immortal being is soon overshadowed by a teary tale of love and devotion between two twelve-year-olds, one of which has accomplished great deeds then shows the maturity and self-control of a nine-year-old. The first books were clear and concise but book three is exceptionally verbose. It feels as though a project that started on the right foot by a talented writer quickly changed tone to that of an over-extended and tired novel.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Fizzles Out

The most disappointing of the series. Will grows more and more tiresome, and the plot gets more simplistic as it crawls toward the end. I loved the first book, quite enjoyed the second, but this one left me cold. However, if you've gotten this far, may as well read it anyway, no?

14 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Pretty Disappointing

The story just doesn't hold together. The creativity and imagination, which was high in the fist book of the trilogy, disappears.

The characters and story lines are inconsistent and at times downright boring. The story line involving the Amber Spyglass itself is painfully boring and seems to be more of an Orson Scott Card ripoff of the Piggies from Card's Ender series.

Lastly, the ending is a total let down when the anticipated temptation is not played up as it was built up throughout the story.

At times I just wanted to turn it off, but hung in there only because I listened to the first two and wanted to see how it ended.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

An Unsatisfying Ending to the Trilogy

I really didn't enjoy the wrap-up to this series as much as I enjoyed the set-up to this series. I can't really articulate why, though; I just didn't enjoy it.

Update: I've spent some time trying to figure out exactly what it was about this book that was unsatisfying. One might suggest that it's the blatantly anti-religion aspects of the third installment. I mean, God (or The Authority as he's know in the book) literally dies in the course of the plot. In addition, Mary Malone explains in great detail to the children why she stopped being a nun and became a physicist (and mind you, these things are certainly mutually exclusive in the worldview the author presents). Her rationed speech is full of sentiments along the lines of 'why waste our time on earth not enjoying ourselves when there is nothing to go to afterwards.' With these anti-religion aspects and many more, it is possible to see how they would be the root of someone's dislike of the book. The thing is, they didn't really bother me; atheism has been a theme from the beginning of the series and is organic to the story being told.

For me, it was the Mulefa (forgive my spelling; I listened to the audiobook and thus am not sure how to spell it). I'm good with an alien race of sentient beings that don't look like humans (check out my review of Out of the Silent Planet for proof). Not just the Mulefa, though; The Mulefa, the Gallivaspians, the journey to the world of the dead. The plot just seemed over the top, and not in an exciting way. One can almost picture the author at his desk saying to himself, "I can't think of what should logically happen next so I'm going to invent a new thing and go from there." There was no real goal for the story as there had been in the previous books. Golden Compass: find Roger. Subtle Knife: get the alethiometer back. Amber Spyglass: ???.

So there it is, this book was unsatisfying because it really didn't have a goal. Without accomplishing a goal, it's impossible to have a satisfying ending.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Disappointing conclusion to a great trilogy

The author did such a good job telling a story in the previous two books, that I looked eagerly forward to this concluding book. Unlike the others, he launches into repeated sermons on the evils of Christianity and the church. He could have been so much more effective by keeping it in terms of a story as he did in the previous two books and as C.S. Lewis does in Narnia and others do. Being hammered is too much.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • AGGELOS IOAKIMIDES
  • 06-07-18

Book just wouldn’t finish

Even though the story all in a more elaborate way, turned into to dimensionals romance. There were some aspects of the book that showed potential, and yet gave me The overall impression that there was a need to hurry up and finish it no matter what the story would say. I guess the performances work as the director ordered, quite good, but very little made the original sense that the first two books made. Overall it was a little bit of a letdown compared to the other two books even though it gave around conclusion albeit unsatisfying.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Becci Johnston
  • 10-25-15

Magical

I wouldn't have guessed the ending in a million years; what an amazingly beautiful story this is!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • "ddowns27"
  • 06-18-15

Fanastic

I think there it could have Gina less lovey dovey towards the end but that aside, fantastic trilogy. Would recommend to anyone into fantasy, Harry Potter, LoTR, and terry pratchett type books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr
  • 04-13-13

Completes the set

Really excellent narration of all three books by Pullman and this brilliant cast. You need to listen to the first two first but I can't think of any reason why you would not then go on and download this one. They should probably be reviewed altogether but as a set well worth the five stars.