The Oberlin Review

New Pullman Novel Fails to Live Up to Earlier Work

Kirsten Heuring, Staff Writer

March 30, 2018

I attended Catholic school for 12 years, and my first act of heresy involved the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. A high fantasy series rooted in the tradition of Milton’s Paradise Lost, the trilogy is set in a parallel world dominated by a powerful theocracy that suppresses dissent and free thought, commonly referred to as the Church. The world is full of wonderful details, like souls that live outside of people’s bodies in animal forms, powerful armored bears, and magic particles that glide and swirl through the air. But the series is also a scathing critique of the Catholic Church, and in 2007, the Catholic League actively campaigned against the first book in the series, The Golden Compass (titled ...

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