Lyra and Will, her newfound friend, tumble separately into the strange tropical otherworld of Cittàgazze, “the city of magpies,” where adults are curiously absent and children run wild. Here their lives become inextricably entwined when Lyra’s alethiometer gives her a simple command: find Will’s father. Their search is plagued with obstacles–some familiar and some horribly new and unfathomable–but it eventually brings them closer to Will’s father and to the Subtle Knife, a deadly, magical, ancient tool that cuts windows between worlds. Through it all, Will and Lyra find themselves hurtling toward the center of a fierce battle against a force so awesome that leagues of mortals, witches, beasts, and spirits from every world are uniting in fear and anger against it.
I felt like this novel was definitely suffering from second in the series syndrome. The whole way through I felt that this novel was just bridging the gap between the first book and the last book in the series. I admit that I struggled to finish this novel and the only reason that I finished it was because I have heard so many good things about the series, that I wanted to love this novel.
This novel was full of religious symbolism which I feel add a lot of uniqueness to the world that Pullman has created. The symbolism used helped me to continue reading this novel when I was considering putting it on the do not finish pile.
I feel like the ending for this second novel in the series was very rushed and left a big cliffhanger. This is one of the reasons that I am very happy that I already own the next book in the series, as it would be torture having to wait to find out what happens next.
I recommend this novel only because I have heard great things about the series and I have been promised that the last book will make me love the series all over again. This novel does provide a bridge between the first book and the last book and I feel like it has to be read to fully understand the series.