The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage is the first in a new trilogy by Philip Pullman. I first saw the His Dark Materials advertised in my school library when I was young and then went on to watch the film The Golden Compass. La Belle Savauge is a prequel to The Northern Lights book (The Golden Compass in the US) and I have really enjoyed getting back into the series. I first listened to the entire original His Dark Materials trilogy a few years ago thanks to Audible. *Contains Affiliate Links
I was gifted the first Book of Dust La Belle Sauvage for Christmas in 2017 but I have only just got around to reading it and it is the first book I am reading for my 2019 reading challenge. Below you will find what I thought of the book! People may be here for The Book of Dust review, I did not know it was a new trilogy until I was told but the next Book of Dust The Secret Commonwealth will be the second in the new trilogy.
La Belle Sauvage Review
La Belle Sauvage is the prequel to The Northern Lights and really sets up the scene for Lyra’s adventures. The main character is a young boy named Malcolm and his daemon Asta. He is an inquisitive, likeable and hardworking young boy that doesn’t really want to get himself into trouble but seems to be quite good at getting himself into some sticky conversations. La Belle Sauvage is very much an adventure story primarily set in Oxford in The Trout Inn and across the river in The Priory. Many characters from the His Dark Materials series are mentioned and introduced so it’s great to hear a bit more about them and their background.
For those familiar with the series Lyra is in La Belle Sauvage but instead of a scrappy, witty and courageous young girl we find her in The Northern Lights she is instead a young baby. However, for those that haven’t read the other series it really shows how important she is and how many people are really interested in her. The book also goes in to the exploration of Dust and what it is, talking about stream of consciousness and all sorts of other interesting things.
The book reads very easily and is a great adventure story for pre teens and those that loved the His Dark Materials trilogy. It’s a great read for parents to read to older children too although it’s a good 500+ pages so perhaps not one to do in one night. It actually took me around a week to read a hardback copy amongst parenting and family duties that I have to keep up with.
The book has a very pro secular stand point and quite anti-religion. There was a particular chapter in the book that introduces The League of St Alexander which really made me feel how children can turn against an authority very quickly if being told what they’re doing is God’s work, despite it not being morally good, just or kind. Morality is a strong theme throughout the story and doing what is right vs what is good is often what Malcolm feels he has to choose between.
2019 Reading Challenge
One of my goals for 2020 is to read 52 books or around one a week. Some might be new, some are ones I’ve had for a while or been meaning to read, some I haven’t quite finished yet and some will be recommendations from others. You can see all the books I’ve read so far on my Good Reads 2020 Reading Challenge.