La Belle Sauvage is the first book in Philip Pullman’s second trilogy to take place in the world of His Dark Materials. Pullman describes the trilogy, named The Book of Dust, as an “equel” rather than a prequel or a sequel to the events of His Dark Materials. La Belle Sauvage takes place prior to the events of the first trilogy and follows a young innkeeper’s son, Malcolm Polstead, as he tries to protect baby Lyra from the forces that seek to do her harm. This is the story of how little Lyra ended up in the care of the scholars of Jordan College.
“War asks many people to do unreasonable things.”
I love this return to Lyra’s Oxford. It’s just as rich and as magical as the original trilogy, and it’s so exciting to see the origins of some of my favourite characters from His Dark Materials. I found it to be really fast paced which kept me on my toes and had me finishing the book very quickly considering its size. I was hesitant at first about having a protagonist that wasn’t Lyra, but I quickly grew very attached to Malcolm; he has such a sweet disposition and a desire to learn that is so endearing. I loved seeing the relationship between Malcolm and Alice develop from annoying adversaries to co-protectors and friends. The book also introduces new characters, like Dr Hannah Relf, who is tasked with studying the Oxford alethiometer, and I hope that the upcoming books return to her story. I thought Gerard Bonneville was a fantastic and terrifying villain, and he’s definitely set the scene for a much darker trilogy than we got with His Dark Materials. I loved delving back into Lyra’s world and I can’t wait for the remainder of the series.
Rating: 5 / 5 stars