August #Bookadayuk – Day 19

His Dark Materials Gift Set (His Dark Materials) - Philip Pullman


Wow. We could be here all day with this one. There have been some truly excellent and ground-breaking YA novels published in the last few years (and some truly dire ones too). However, even the dire books get a pass because anything which encourages children and young people to read has to be applauded. And teenagers are pretty discerning and soon realize what’s crap and what’s worth reading.

If I have one beef with the current crop of YA, it’s there are too many trilogies, series and spin-offs. I would like to see more stand-alone novels. It’s fine if the author is a talented writer and has a strong enough story to carry across three or more books, but usually the second and third books in these trilogies end up being no more than padding and the story suffers. And the spin-offs just always feel like a money-grabbing exercise with a lot of lazy repetition from the original books. Oh, and while I’m on my soapbox, can I ask that we give the love triangles a miss too. Oh yeah, and the P2P fan-fic. Thanks.

But, having had a bit of a whine about trilogies, I’m choosing one. It’s Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials.

I don’t have enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe how much I enjoyed this series. The characterisation, the world building, the concepts were all just stunning. I mean come on, who doesn't want a daemon of their own? Or want to ride into battle with an armour-clad polar bear?


And Pullman doesn’t shy away from tricky subjects either. There are some absolutely heartbreaking scenes in these books. Children are betrayed by those who should be caring for them. The good guys don't always win, and well-loved characters are killed. But there is love and friendship and there is always hope.


I can't recommend these books highly enough.