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Book Review: His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials trilogy, stacked books, photo

His Dark Materials stacked books

 

Ever since a young age I’ve loved to read and can often be found with my nose in a book and, more recently, a coffee in hand.  My favourite stories have always been fantastical, and the intertwining universes of the His Dark Materials trilogy are as fantastical as they come. (Side note: plural of universe? Universes?)

 

I’ve done my very best to keep this review spoiler free. Although the first book has celebrated it’s twentieth birthday and was adapted in to a star-studded film which ultimately flopped (remember The Golden Compass?), it is my opinion everyone should read it at least once and I don’t want to spoil the story for anyone yet to experience it for the first time, because that feeling is the best.

 

Golden Compass Movie poster

Summary

The first of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Northern Lights, is set within a parallel universe whereby people’s souls live externally from their bodies as animals.  Each soul, known as their dæmon, takes a different species depending on the individual’s traits.  The story centres on a young girl called Lyra Belacqua …

When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. The ensuring quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her – something with consequences, which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights.

Characters

Like many of the greats, each character within the series is detailed, motivated and serves a purpose to the narration and growth of the story in a beautiful way.

 

Lyra is an adventurous yet innocent rebel, making her the perfect protagonist and heroine for the story arc; humanity’s fight for the acquisition of knowledge and experiences from childhood to adulthood.

 

By The Subtle Knife, the second lead character is introduced; Will Parry is strong-willed, decisive, and mature beyond his twelve years as a young carer. Unlike Lyra, he is from our world.

 

Alongside armoured bears, witch-queens and a Texan aeronaut, he and Lyra embark on a quest, which impacts a myriad of universes.

 

DaVinci's Lady with an Ermine

Pullman used DaVinci’s Lady with an Ermine as a source of inspiration for the character’s daemons.

 

 

Plot

The plot is complex. You’ll need your basic Bible knowledge of Adam and Eve’s Fall from Grace in the Garden of Eden. While the Church attempts to retain the blissful ignorance of childhood in the people opposition forces strive to ensure humanity’s right to knowledge and free will beyond the control of a higher authority. It can take quite a bit of brainpower to keep up with which characters are where at any one time. But once you get your head around it, the intertwining character arcs manage to keep you on the edge of your seat.

 

Through tackling themes such as religion, sex positivity, free will, the abolition of Destiny, friendship, courage and the coming of age, His Dark Materials weaves a fantastical story, which by the end has the potential to be plausible; at least with a stretch of the imagination. This potential plausibility is one of my favourite things. In my opinion, it is what captures people’s hearts and minds and enable the stories to live in us forever.

 

Lyra and Will's Tree artwork

I love it when people create beautiful artwork based on characters. 

 

It’s fascinating that authors can lace concepts and characters in to enchanting stories, which can break your heart and build it all at once. This series is a prime example of storytelling at it’s finest.

 

If you enjoyed Stardust by Neil Gaiman, Harry Potter by J.K Rowling, or The Divide Trilogy by Elizabeth Kay then you’ll love His Dark Materials.

 

4 Star Rating!

I give the His Dark Material trilogy 4 stars!

 

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Foodie Favourites

Is anyone else completely clueless as to where July has gone?
As a food fanatic, today I’m sharing my two foodie favourites of the month; super simple but completely delicious!

Tomato and Mozzarella

Obvious ingredients are a must, of course. But sprinkle on some fresh basil and lashings of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Add a ripped up slice of bread to soak up the deliciousness and you’ve got an amazing lunch!

Tomato and mozzarella salad with basil, olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Chicken Satay

I successfully made this from scratch for the parents, which proves its simplicity. And they loved it, which proves it’s delicious!

I got the recipe from Rosie The Londoner. As well as being simply written and containing ingredients easily found in the local shops, there’s some fantastically puns thrown in too!  #Ilovepuns

Amazing chicken satay, which I served with couscous and roasted red peppers – yummy!

 

Unfortunately for me, I only discovered chicken satay while having fun in Warsaw at the end of June, so I think I’ve got some catching up to do!!

 

What are you current favourites? I’m always on the look out for new deliciousness to sink my teeth into…

I’ve Graduated!!

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Yesterday was magical!

Grad

Photography credit: Sarah Warsaw

It is a firm belief of mine that you have to earn your cap and gown – through hard work, long hours, and questionable cooking as is customary of the university experience.  After all, it is the mark of the end of your academic education and your achievement!  So now, I can finally say that I DID IT!

“…Remain humble, be passionate, and attribute importance to what you do, not what you are.”

– Honorary Graduate, Judge Cuno Jakob Tarfusser of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

 

Snapshots from Devon

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Last week my family and I spent a wonderful seven days down in South Devon.  A spot of sunshine, plenty of coffee, and a view of the ocean and estuary kept us all happy.  Here’s a couple of photos because we had lots of fun! 🙂  Sometimes, travelling within your own country is perfect.

 

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Heartbeat in Covent Garden

While in London last week, I heard about an installation by French photographer Charles Pétillion, which is in Covent Garden.

On Wednesday afternoon, we ventured into Central to see over 100,000 white balloons, each with their own dimensions and lit from within.  Entitled Heartbeat, it’s part of a photograph series called Invasions, in which these white balloons occupy unusual spaces.

Heartbeat

 

It is by Péttillion’s design that the slowly pulsating light from within the balloons, which stretch down the length of the Market Building, represents how it is the beating heart of the locality; vibrant and alive with energy!

I can certainly feel this energy; Covent Garden is one of my favourites places in the whole of London!

The installation is on display until the 27th of September, so if you get chance do check it out and let me know what you think!


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Keeping Busy!

Such a successful week:

1. Monday morning saw me take on motorway driving without bringing harm to others!

2. I spent Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday down in London Town. My friend and I walked across the city, ate too much delicious food, drank the infamous Pumpkin Spice Lattes (FYI, amazing), and visited the National Archives in Kew. 

Pumpkin Spice Lattes are definately worth the hype

Strolls in St James’ Park with the bestie

3. On Friday I packed up my clothes and extra bits and pieces to move properly into my university room on Saturday, ready for Fresher’s Week and the start of term! 
4. This week I have also started my second Blogging U course, Blogging 201; a free and casually timed series of assignments to improve the blogging experience for both blogger and reader. Such a busy week means I’m super behind on this whole course, but who’s checking, right?! 

Have you been busy too? Sharing is caring…


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Photography Thursday – Three Queens, Liverpool 

My photograph of Queen Mary 2 during the Three Queens event

Over May Bank holiday weekend my local city, Liverpool, helped celebrate Cunard’s 175th Anniversary by playing host to three of Cunard’s cruise Ships; Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2.  

This marked the beginning of Liverpool’s One Magnificent City – 7 weeks of cultural celebrations! 

So for this month’s Photography Thursday I wish to share the beautiful work of my fellow Instagramers and the local press!

Photo by kevjamesl19 over on Instagram – click to go to his profile!

  

Photo by Mark Easton over on Instagram – click for link to his profile!

 

Birds-Eye view from the Liverpool Echo – click for the link

  

Cunard panoramic


Find out more about Cunard at their website here