[2021-06-12] “Lyra's Oxford”

Lyra's Oxford” is a short book by Philip Pullman set in the universe described by the fantastic His Dark Materials trilogy. I had immensely enjoyed the trilogy when I first read it, so I was looking forward to reading this book to reinhabit that universe.

This is a really short book (the edition I read has just over 30 pages) comprising a short story, an illustrated map of the fictional town of Oxford, and copies of some other things. The story is set a couple of years after the events described by the main trilogy. It follows the heroine Lyra Belacqua as she tries to find a mysterious alchemist in town, egged on by the daemon of a witch apparently dying of an illness. She saves this daemon, which has settled on the form of a bird, when it was being attacked by a flock of other birds. Things do not turn out the way she expected them to.

The story and the accompanying illustrations are charming, but there is not much in it for people who are not already fans of the trilogy. I would heartily recommend that you first read the original trilogy as it is a nice work of fantasy well worth your time.

If you are a fan of the books, this story presents an amuse-bouche preparing you for the hopefully-delicious meal of the next trilogy of books by the author set in the same fictional universe.

Bon Appétit!

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