I went to see the movie The Golden Compass over the weekend. Before I went, I didn't know it was based on a series of books...and I also didn't know about the controversy surrounding them. A friend of mine gave me all three volumes as an early Christmas gift, and I just finished reading them today.
These three books, especially the last one, The Amber Spyglass, are without a doubt the most disturbing books I've ever read. Perhaps it's his treatment of his characters, twelve-year-old children, forced again and again to face cruel horrors beyond anyone's imaginings but Pullman's.
I'm torn, because the writing was fantastic, the characters rich and real, the story riveting, and yet, rather than the post-great-book afterglow I usually experience, I felt nauseous, like I'd been forcibly strapped into a bus climbing the road to Machu Picchu. Yeah, the view was great, but...
If anyone else has read them too, I'd appreciate hearing your thoughts. And if you haven't, they're selling a nice big fat compilation at Walmart under the title, "His Dark Materials" for a decent price.
Oh, and p.s.; if you have a child, DON'T take them to see the movie unless they're thirteen or older. Trust me.