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February 3rd, 2009

Rain’s a Pain, Snow’s for Hoes


Oh, that Momma Dukes! Weeks later, when I told her I’d be drawing a comic about this little conversation nugget, she had no recollection of ever saying it. Hmm. Someone needs to eat more blueberries. Or play Brain Age.

Question of the day: Would you rather be caught in the rain or buried in the snow?

It’s gonna take a lot of time
Before I can cross that finish line
And when I can’t take the fall
I really wanna make that call

- “Commerce, TX” by Ben Kweller

Books in 2009, #6

#6. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

Ah, the end.

I really enjoyed The Golden Compass, felt that The Subtle Knife moved a little too slow and was overly depressing, and now we come to it, the end, after what seemingly appeared to be a boundlessness adventure, with The Amber Spyglass, a book that I put aside numerous times before finally devouring its final few chapters.

Lyra’s in a deep sleep thanks to her loving mother Mrs. Coulter, and Will, after all that he had lost in The Subtle Knife, is determined to find his friend and help her. To his aid come the fantastic: angels and the polar bear king named Iorek Byrnison; to deter him come the beyond cool: Gallivespian spies on dragonflies. Elsewhere, Dr. Mary Malone is interacting with the mulefa, a bizarre race of creatures with wheel-like seedpods for feet and their own intricate language, and she discovers by means of building a telescope something quite peculiar about Dust. Hmm, what else is happening? Let’s see, let’s see. Right, Lyra’s father Lord Asriel is busying searching for his daughter while simultaneously looking for a way to defeat the Authority, the first angel to come into existence, thus assuming he is God. Then there’s a trip to the land of the dead, a dealing with turbulent harpies, ghost family reunions, and a Final Battle, with Spectres and lost daemons and betrayed lovers.

Whew. Yes, it’s a busy book.

Don’t believe me? Someone had to go and make a graphical timeline just to get the who-where-what-when down.

So, I didn’t like The Amber Spyglass for the longest time. It was draggy, it was talky, it was too much other people. Our heroine was asleep for at least 150 pages, and Will, while a decent lad to root for, never really got me to care. A lot of the first half of the book felt like it could’ve been included in The Subtle Knife, and this is even more true when one realizes just how much of the early stuff is resolution. But there’s a lot of great moments, and most of them happen without warning; some, on the other hand, are unavoidable and therefore they come after much moping and discussing, but they still twist one’s innards all the same.

However, the good does not outweigh the bad here. The problem, for me, lies in the characters. In a series as unrelenting and harsh as His Dark Materials, I have a hard time following the villains around as they go about with their wicked plots and evilness. Lord Asriel is a jerkface, Mrs. Coulter is cruel and her golden monkey is Not a Nice Monkey, and Father Gomez is a murderer who is only reduced to gibbering apologies when his life depends on it. Even Will’s not a piece of sunshine, but he does have a few redeeming qualities, and his love for Lyra does not go unnoticed. Unfortunately for The Amber Spyglass, the reader spends a good amount of time with these nastynosers. They are not terribly written or uninteresting; I just can’t let them into my heart.

Also, thanks to ignorance, I allowed the whole Adam and Eve allegory and church-fearing to fall on deaf eyes. Amen.

If you wanna discuss The Amber Spyglass some more (especially, um, the part about world-saving sex), feel free to in the comments. Spoilers are welcomed. Those that don’t want the magic ruined have now been warned...


It was all about the parka, really.

Speaking of Scott Pilgrim, I’m possibly going to be cosplaying as the leading lad for the upcoming New York Comic Con. So long as I can find a cheap parka to wear, that is. If not, I’ll just be a dude with an SP shirt and a lot of excitement, also known as a Scottaholic. Either works for me, really.

Question of the day: When did Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy get married (1984, 1988, 1996, 2001, or 2006)?

Let’s make a date out of the cinema
Then stay out until early in the morning
I always like it ’cause we take it slow
While everyone around us seems so hurried

- “On My Mind” by New Found Glory

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