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With the aid of fantastically tactile narration, Pullman captivates us with a dark and intense, yet at times upliftingly jovial, tale of mystery and grimey suspense set against a cruel and industrial Dickensian backdrop, where danger lurks behind every alley way corner.
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Although historical novels are not usually my forte, this series is lively, interesting, full of well-developed and likable characters and, of course, well written. It's promoted as a "young adults" series but it really isn't. Not for the younger kids for sure as the stories are quite gritty and do not always end well. Philip Pullman has a knack for original writing. Love him!
I was not sure what to expect after "His Dark Materials" which I enjoyed with my children several years ago. There has been a rash of badly written Victorian detective novels throwing shapes at Sherlock Holmes but this is not one of them. As the series unfolds you realise that you are experiencing the work of a master craftsman. Philip Pullman knows how to tell a story and what's more he knows how to write, and then some. The main character is multi dimensional and fully realised maturing and taking responsibility as the books hold an impressive character arc across the stories in each novel. We listened to the first book on a car trip and on reaching our destination purchased the next two available on Audible and consumed over meals and evening relaxation. There is a fourth and we await its recording. The history, social observation, ethical concerns and impacts of technical progress and violence are so skillfully interwoven that you are enlightened before you notice. A rare set of books with perfect narration like this does not come along often so grab it. This series provoked great discussions with my teenage kids. Months later we are still discussing the story, the characters, the ethical questions and the thoroughly enjoyable experience listening to this book and its sequels gave to us as a family. A layered and satisfying listen for everyone.
31 of 31 people found this review helpful
I first saw the BBC film adaptation of The Ruby in the Smoke, and disliked it. But I had already bought the second book in this series, and that book I ADORED! I quickly gobbled up the third book to, and loved it as much as the second! So I got the first book in audioboook format.
The first book isn't as good as the second and third, but it is still a great book. The story feels a bit contrived at places and the characters a bit unbelievable, but not to a degree that it becomes annoying. Overall, this is a great book, and you simply must read the whole series!
A note about the narrator. He is FANTASTIC and ideal for the time period. The book is worth getting for his narration alone.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
The book was quite good- I love Victorian set books and this one was very atmospheric, and I did like the narrator. Not breathtakingly good, but I stuck it till the end and enjoyed it so definitely not a waste of time.
I loved this book. It was amazing and kept you guessing until the end. There are many plot twists that you can't see until they are upon you. I highly recommend it.