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The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials Trilogy, Book 2

Narrated by: Philip Pullman, cast
Series: His Dark Materials, Book 2
Length: 8 hrs and 54 mins
4.7 out of 5 stars (559 ratings)

Non-member price: $26.84

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Publisher's Summary

The thrilling second book in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, read by the author and a full cast.

In this stunning sequel to Northern Lights, the intrepid Lyra Silvertongue and her daemon, Pantalaimon, find themselves in a shimmering, haunted other world – Cittagazze where soul-eating Spectres stalk the streets and wingbeats of distant angels sound against the sky.

Here she meets twelve-year-old Will Parry, a fugitive from a third universe. Will has found a small window between Cittagazze and Oxford that brings him into this strange new realm.

Will's father, an explorer, disappeared years ago, but recently some odd characters have started asking questions about him, and now, having accidentally killed one of them, Will is wanted by the police.

Armed with the subtle knife, a tool that cuts any material (including that which separates universes) and Lyra's alethiometer, the children set out to find John Parry, with adults of various stripes in desperate pursuit.

©1997 Philip Pullman (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Read by Pullman himself and a full cast including Julian Glover and Stephen Thorne, this is glorious listening." ( Sunday Express)

What listeners say about The Subtle Knife: His Dark Materials Trilogy, Book 2

Average Customer Ratings
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i love the author narrating their own book

i loved it all, and the fact that Philip narrated it, means that we get to hear it as it was intended to be heard

1 person found this helpful

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Great full-cast dramatisation

The lead kids are both convincing, Pullman is a great narrator, and other cast members like the witches are strong also.

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Another awesome Phillip Pullman book!

When listening to this, I felt like I was part of the story. The story line is full of excitement, suspense and sensitivity, making it really interesting to listen to. Thoroughly entertaining, can’t wait to listen to the third book in the trilogy!

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Whiny Will

Incredible books. Loved everyone except the voice of Will, they made him too whiny. otherwise it was exceptional.

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Great listen after watching tv series

This was a great listen, especially after watching His Dark Mateials tv series. I was able to picture everything clearly as it would happen. Overall voice actors were done well and the narration by Pullman is excellent. This was my first audio book experience and loved it.

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Phillip Pullman is the best narrator

Phillip Pullman is a great narrator. The books were my childhood favorite. Wish he narrated more books

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Great book mostly well performed

I loved Philip Pullman's trilogy as a reading experience and looked forward to the audio versions. This was well told and performed, particularly Pullman's narration, and most of the cast are great -except for whoever plays Mary Maloney, who is awful beyond words. She is like someone reading a Disney book to a room full of preschoolers, so fake and gushing and overdone, totally out of character for the character in the book. As with the first instalment, where the woman playing Serafina Pekkala was also pretty terrible, it almost ruined the book for me. Just not quite....

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brilliant

One of the best audio book series I have listened to. great theatrics to bring this great work to life.

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Great book! Can't wait for the next one!

Loved it. Excellent plot and narration. This series has been a lot easier than I expected.

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I'm an adult and I loved it

The voice acting is amazing and I love the anti-organised religion theme. Recommended for any Free-Thinker with an inner child.

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  • MeganRae
  • 29-11-2019

Gripping from start to end

Once you start listening to this story you won't be able to stop, simply excellent. The only aspect I didn't like was the music added between chapters - it was too loud and overkill because the story is enough.

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  • James
  • 07-01-2015

Subtly brilliant!

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman is a subtle brilliant listen. Lyra meets Will Parry in an alternate Oxford. They join forces together and discover a world where Spectres attack adults and do not bother children. In this world, Will fights to win the subtle knife, a knife capable of cutting through every bond. Will and Lyra then journey together to find Will's father. Once again narrated by Philip Pullman and a brilliant cast of actors, that brings even more life to a great story.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kirsty
  • 06-01-2008

Great book... but why the changes?

I've read 'His Dark Materials' trilogy in print and bought the audiobooks so I could listen and knit at the same time. It's great to hear Pullman's narration and the voice actors playing the characters are really good.

Just one complaint: why the Americanisations? Pullman did not write 'sidewalk' and 'traffic circle', he wrote 'pavement' and 'roundabout'. A minor but very annoying point.

182 people found this helpful

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  • Salter
  • 21-11-2017

Enjoyable enough...

I found this one not quite as enjoyable as book one. It didn't seem to flow in the way the previous instalment did. That said, it continued the story and set the scene for the finale in book 3.
Overall, an enjoyable series thus far...

15 people found this helpful

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  • Christopher
  • 21-06-2013

Superb narration to a great sequel

The Subtle Knife is a great sequel to The Northern Lights. If you liked the first, you will love this one just as much, if not more. This book expands on Lyra’s world from the first book, and introduces several others and the possibility of infinite worlds. It concentrates mainly on our human world though which is parallel to Lyra’s.

Story – 4/5

This is probably my favourite of the 3 books. My only criticism relative to the first book was that it was too short. It doesn’t take away from the story at all; it just didn’t last very long and left me wanting a lot more (a bit picky really I know)

Although the world expands into something more complex, Phil still writes in a way that makes it very simple to understand and follow

It takes you on a bit of an emotional rollercoaster; there are funny moments, sad moments and some very heart-warming ones. Very unusual for a YA book but I prefer it this way. This just shows how good the character development is, as we end up genuinely concerned for what happens to them.


Performance – 5/5

As with the first book, it is still Phil Pullman with a cast of voice actors – which is absolutely superb. If you are reading this review to see if all the books are good before delving in (I do the same), you will not be disappointed with the consistency and high production value of the performance.

All other audiobooks I have read have been with a single person acting all of the voices. Although a lot of them are excellent, nothing compares to have females doing females and males doing male voices. This contrast in each voice also allows you to relax more when enjoying the story and not worry about who is who in a conversation.

Overall – 4.5/5

Warning – If you are easily offended by little ‘digs’ at Christianity, you may want to not read these stories. They are subtle and mostly happen in the 3rd book, but I would consider this book to Paganism what Narnia is to Christianity. That aside, they are very good young adult fantasy books.

Definitely suitable for adults – I am a 27 yr old man

25 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 07-07-2014

Why Americanise?

Wonderful story, well told, but why do we have to put up with an American translation? Sidewalk, traffic circle... It really annoys me and spoilt the presentation. Don't do it.

45 people found this helpful

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  • lucinda f
  • 16-03-2019

Lovely sequel

What’s a cell phone, traffic circle and shopping cart. Shame I would rather it was in English English

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Simon
  • 28-08-2012

A fun and engaging story.

In this second installment Philip Pullman manages to answer a few questions from the The Northern Lights and also opens up new ones for The Amber Spyglass. He does so by expanding the worlds and revealing the extent of his imagination. And it's all tightly knit together by strong characters and a fun and engaging story.

Having taken a while to get used to the storytelling style of the previous book with Pullman as the narrator and other actors as the individual characters, I found I was now fully immersed and simply enjoyed the story with Pullman's reading as engaging as all the other actors.

Highly recommended.

7 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Frances
  • 05-01-2008

Fantastic Fantasy

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (Unabridged)

Summary & Review by Frances Darwin (Age 10 ?)

In this story William Parry leaves his mother to try and find his father, but he does not know that in a few weeks he will meet Lyra Silvertongue. Lyra and Will, with the help of the witches will set out on a perilous journey which will be blighted by Mrs. Coulter and her dangerous allies. In a world parallel to Will?s, called Cittagazze, he finds Lyra and they start their adventures. In Cittagazze there is a man who is holding the Subtle Knife Bearer hostage. Will and Lyra have to fight their way through to save the knife bearer, but Will does not know that the knife is waiting to be held by him. Will does not know that this knife will save him and Lyra numerous times in the near future. Lyra and Will set out to find Will?s father but they meet many dangers along the way. Along the way Lee Scoresby and Dr. Grumman are in the middle of a raging battle and only Grumman survives. Grumman just so happens to be the man Will was looking for. Soon the angels persuade him to abandon Lyra to go and bring Lord Asriel exactly what he needs to overthrow the authority. Meanwhile Lyra has been captured and taken to Mrs. Coulter?s camp a little way ahead of them??

Review

The actors did very well with the emotions of the characters. The actress playing Lyra sounds a little younger than I imagined her.

The story was very well narrated by Philip Pullman.

Philip Pullman was very good at describing what was happening, all the action!

Some of the sound was slightly muffled but it did not stop me from enjoying the audio book.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-01-2015

In love with the story and the ideas

The music is overdramatic between acts and the witches always sound winded.
But I love the story and Will's voice actor especially.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • C. V. Burdett-Clark
  • 13-04-2013

Perfect for Car Journeys

This dramastrised book is a fantastic story to listen to in the cars with the kids. Hand on heart I can say that the children are completely engrossed in the story and piece and quiet as soon as the story starts. My kids now ask for the story and also stay in the car till the chapter ends, so they don't miss anything .

Audible on the iPhone is a god send and would recommend everyone to download the app and enjoy the story and quiet while you drive. 150% fabulous

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paula
  • 09-01-2008

Not a Let Down!

This is the second book in Philip Pullmans 'His Dark Materials' trilogy. I was worried that this couldn't in any way compare with the first book 'Northern Lights' which i throughly enjoyed. How wrong was i, this had me enthralled even more so!
Once again Pullman and the rest of the cast manage to draw you into the adventure so that you could actually be a daemon yourself!
The story spans a new world with new & old friends and enemies for Lyra, you are taken on a rollercoaster of an adventure which manages to shake your emotions on all levels.
The only downfall i can see is that i only have the last book now left to listen to, once i've listened to that i'll miss Lyra and her friends as it's a priviledge to be allowed on such an adventure.

13 people found this helpful