My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This. Is. Epic. Fantasy.
On one hand, the story is thick with heretic allusions; but on the other, it is theologically rather accurate in many aspects, like the tripartite composition of Man and the nature of angels, to name a few examples.
The two protagonists – Will and Lyra – are beautifully crafted: flawed, heroic and empathisable. The antagonists, however, were a little more negligently layered, bordering on being unbelievable at times. Also, the love-conquers-all ending got a little cheesy.
But none can deny the awesome of the trilogy’s milieu, which is fantasy’s trump card. From a single parallel universe, the trilogy burgeoned into a sprawling multiverse that included our world, a limbo world of the dead and even a Garden-of-Eden-esque world. Its epic conclusion was an all-out war (or political revolution) between the Kingdom of Heaven and the Republic of Creation.
Fantastic plotlines don’t get very much more epic than that.