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  • A Smith

The Book of Dust: Volume 1

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

While the phrase “the next Roald Dahl,” is an incredibly overused coining, and not one I will use here, it is a phrase this book is perhaps deserving of; the fantastical world created by Pullman in the first prequel to the legendary His Dark Materials series is certainly one to be highly commended, although written in a very different style.

This book (the first in the Book of Dust trilogy) follows the story of Malcom Polestead, a young only child raised in an inn by his parents, not an orphan, not possessing secret powers and not any of the other cliches you would normally expect from such a character, which is refreshing, and the descriptions used for him create a far more detailed picture of Malcom than many other authors can come close to. Malcom is living his everyday life, when a baby is entrusted to the nuns nearby to look after, bringing the villain and Malcom's two close allies in the plot neatly into play. Not long after that, their lives are thrown into more disorder by abnormal downpours, taking Malcom and a girl called Alice into a gruelling adventure of the supernatural and danger, changing the course of their lives, as well as providing a fascinating backstory to many of the key characters in the “His Dark Materials'' series.

I would recommend this book a hundred times over, although it might be worth (it was for me) reading the original trilogy first - I believe you will gain more enjoyment of all the books by doing so; the realisations involved as you progress through the series is something you won't find anywhere else.

Picture: Random House Children's


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