I have often wondered if the bad guys won the American Civil War. Like every other grade schooler, I was taught all the reasons why the South had to be smacked down, but I have also since learned that history is often just propaganda from the winning side. My friends think I am crazy, but I still wonder.
So you can imagine my happy surprise when the underlying story of His Dark Materials is revealed towards the end of the second book of the trilogy, that thousands of years ago the bad guys won a great war in heaven, and all of Christianity is just their propaganda. This concept, unfortunately, is not explored very much and instead resides in the background.
In the foreground of The Amber Spyglass is a slow and boring tale of childhood friendship and first love, or something. I kept expecting the pace to pick up like it did in The Subtle Knife, but it never did. I kept waiting for the big reveal, but it never came. It wasn’t a bad book–just disappointing after its two predecessors.