Series: The Book of Dust #1
Published by David Fickling Books on October 19th 2017
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Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .
“He came awake like someone struggling to swim to the surface of a lake of laudanum, where the strongest delights were the deepest and there was nothing above but cold and fear and duty.”
I can’t even begin to describe how much I absolutely adored this book; from beginning to end it was truly spectacular. It had so much potential to be a disappointment, especially when you consider the success of His Dark Materials, and the extent to which this series impacted people’s childhoods. But my boy, Philip Pullman, pulled through and delivered.
This book was worth the wait and without a shadow of a doubt the best book I have read all year.
There is something truly beautiful and whimsical in the way Pullman tells a story. It’s like he grabs you by the collar and sucks you in until you feel like you’re a part of this big great adventure.
La Belle Savage was a slow burn. You’re left wanting and waiting for the little bits of magic and secrets that are strategicially placed throughout the first half of the book; the excitement over seeing and hearing from old familiar faces. It’s not necessary to read His Dark Materials to understand this book or it’s references but let’s be real here… why wouldn’t you want to? It all frames a greater, far more interesting picture.
The second half of La Belle Savage is where this book starts to really hit its stride. A great flood, mythical creatures, a great voyage across Britian. I couldn’t have asked for more. Except I am because this girl is in serious need of The Secret Commonwealth. Just hand over the manuscript as soon as humanly possible and no one will get hurt. I’m already experiencing a serious case of Post-La Bella Savage Depression.
Have you read La Belle Sauvage?
Let me know what you thought in the comments below.