The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth

It is twenty years since the events of La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One unfolded and saw the baby Lyra Belacqua begin her life-changing journey.

It is almost ten years since readers left Lyra and the love of her young life, Will Parry, on a park bench in Oxford's Botanic Gardens at the end of the ground-breaking, bestselling His Dark Materials sequence.

Now, in The Secret Commonwealth, we meet Lyra Silvertongue. And she is no longer a child . . .

The second volume of Philip Pullman's The Book of Dust sees Lyra, now twenty years old, and her daemon Pantalaimon, forced to navigate their relationship in a way they could never have imagined, and drawn into the complex and dangerous factions of a world that they had no idea existed. Pulled along on his own journey too is Malcolm; once a boy with a boat and a mission to save a baby from the flood, now a man with a strong sense of duty and a desire to do what is right.

Theirs is a world at once familiar and extraordinary, and they must travel far beyond the edges of Oxford, across Europe and into Asia, in search for what is lost - a city haunted by daemons, a secret at the heart of a desert, and the mystery of the elusive Dust.

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The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman - Book Review
(Updated: November 24, 2020)
Overall rating
Writing Style
If your expecting the same type of books that you’ve been reading in this series, you’d be wrong. This whole book had a darker and more serious tone to it. Lyra and Pantalaimon have been affected by the events they had gone through, which changes the story. Their adventure is different than any of the other ones we have read about. Even though it’s so different, it doesn’t hurt the story - I just wasn’t prepared for it. However, I really enjoyed seeing the difference and how the previous events they encountered had significantly changed them. It is a story of growth, self discovery, and loss. If the other books didn’t make you think, then this one definitely will. My only issue with the book is the length. While Pullman is no stranger to providing details within his stories, there was just too much. I found myself zoning out a lot in the middle because the pacing didn't hold. Personally, I think I would have enjoyed it more if the details weren't so heavy, providing a better pacing.

It’s so hard to write about these characters. I was so excited for some of the old ones came back, like Malcolm. There was the introduction of new characters as well, which some I did enjoy. I loved Lyra in the first books. Her wit and smartness really made me root for her. And I loved her and Pan’s relationship. I know this book was supposed to be different but Lyra and Pan were not the same characters I fell I love with. However, Pullman caught my attention with this. Such a difference between them but at the same time they were both so stubborn to try to work it out. Then the adventure begins. I’m so curious and invested on how it’ll turn out and I can only hope for the best.

Overall, The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman was such a different experience. While all of the other books did have a lot to make you think, this book had a darker tone to it. I really enjoyed it but the pacing really suffered. There was many times in the middle that I just found myself struggling to concentrate. Lyra and the other characters had majorly developed as well. Due to the past events, Lyra and Pan are completely different. They definitely kept me interested in the events of their adventure and I will follow them through to the end.
The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth
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