La Belle Savage

(The Book of Dust)

Hardcover, 449 pages

English language

Published Sept. 12, 2017 by Alfred A. Knopf.

ISBN:
9780375815300

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4 stars (1 review)

Set before the events in His Dark Materials, La Belle Sauvage tells the tale of how Lyra Belaqua came to be at Jordan College with the help of Malcolm Polstead and Alice.

5 editions

Begin as you mean to go on

4 stars

A solid beginning to a prequel series. It kept my interest the whole way, even though ultimately I knew what the outcome had to be, since it's a prequel.

The central characters were believable to me as children and teens. Of course that was some time ago for me, so make of that what you will. There were some YA / coming-of-age topics, but I would not say they were central to the story. There is some violence, but it is not too gory / repetitive. I respected the way the author conveys the effects of violence on the characters, both as doers and receivers.

Some of the "side-quests" in the last third of the book could be taken either as homage to traditional fairy stories, or as cliché, depending on how cranky the reader is feeling.

My overall impression was that although the Christian(?) Church was the overarching villain, …