Choosing my favourite author was easy, but picking a book I hadn’t read yet was the hard part. To make up for my time lapsed on the last book, I figured I would treat myself and read two this time! 

So firstly, I chose;

Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman

I may have mentioned it before but Philip Pullman’s Dark Trilogy series are my favourite books. The Northern Lights being top of that list. I have read it numerous times and still fall in love with the story and boo my eyes out at all the same bits! 

If you have not yet had the pleasure, the plot follows Lyra, an orphan raised by scholars at a college in Oxford in an alternate universe to our own. Kids are being stolen and while trying to find her best friend, Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon are whisked into a path of adventure, daring and heartbreak. 

Reading a short story about Lyra and Pan set a couple of years after the trilogy was like visiting an old friend for a catch up and seeing how they’re getting on. 

They still like to prowl the roofs of Jordan College and she lives up to her alternate name of Lyra Silvertongue. But she is now attending a proper school for girls her age and actually doing her studies. It was nice to learn that after her separation with Will she has softened and still has him in the forefront of her mind. 

The story was very short but it has inserts like the map she uses and an excerpt about Jericho, an area of Oxford she visits. Clearly Pullman’s imagination of the alternate world isn’t waning! Good news for fans like me! 

After finding out how things progressed after the Dark Materials trilogy, it was time to read about events that had happened before. So my second book is;

Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman 

Rather than a sequel, this was a prequel to the trilogy, explaining the story of how Texan aeronaught Lee Scoresby and armoured bear Iorek Byrnison met and became comrades. 

This started off a little slower but that was mostly to set the scene as there was a lot of political background to cover. We follow Lee as he allbut crash lands into a harbour town in the north. He’s a quick thinker and easily makes both friends and enemies. 

One of those enemies turns out to be the enemy of Iorek, and as such they both offer their help to another man caught up in the politics of the town. 

The story gets very intense when it becomes a shoot out between lee and a man he has had dealings with in the past. At this point I was hooked and had to continue to the end! 

Hester, Lee’s daemon was always one of my favourites in the original stories so it was great to read about her again. I love the relationship between her and Lee, as it is much more casual and straight up than any other characters, which is a reflection on their personalities I suppose, as they are one soul. 

Both stories would be highly recommended to anyone that enjoyed the original trilogies and wants to revisit the other world again. 

I only wish there were more books based on the characters from His Dark Materials. 

My next task is;

A book with a colour in the title

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