Posts Tagged ‘philip pullman’

The incredible story of Lyra Belacqua will begin in La Belle Sauvage – the first volume of The Book of Dust. Now you have the opportunity to revisit her adventures in Northern Lights, with this graphic novel adaptation of a masterpiece, which comes to life with incredible full-colour art. Follow Lyra’s story once again in a way you’ve never experienced it before, as the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle – a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armoured bears. Lyra hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, never suspecting the shocking truth, that she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle. This edition combines all three illustrated volumes of the story, now available for the very first time in hardback.

Northern Lights – The Graphic Novel

Philip Pullman

adapted by Stéphane Melchior, art by Clément Oubrerie, translated by Anne Eaton

Doubleday

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Steve

The publication of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights as a graphic novel was inevitable. The book had been published in several languages as well as being made into a film. Surprisingly, the graphic novel was initially French and required retranslation back into English. For those who are wondering why retranslate and not just slip Pullman’s dialogue into the speech bubbles – don’t go there. It’s the arcane worlds of publishing and translation.

To answer the obvious questions, it sticks to the story and to story order. The original 450 pages have been reduced to 280. Considering “a picture is worth a thousand words”, this isn’t a reduction in length and points to the eloquent sparsity of Pullman’s work. It had been quite a while since I read Northern Lights (or watched The Golden Compass), that re-reading the graphic novel wasn’t a chore.

Perhaps the most important aspect of a graphic novel is the artwork, and Clément Oubrerie has done an excellent job. The style is suggestive of drawings by early teens, as opposed to the hyperclean comics of DC and Marvel. The colours are subdued, like those of a Northern Europe autumn. Mercifully, he has eschewed the bright ink of Asterix and Lucky Luke for dull pencil. Melchior has kept the dialogue balloons small and ownership obvious.

While the original version of this story was the text novel, this graphic novel was as satisfying. Plus it is encouraging me to try the French version. Definitely worthwhile.

The publication of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights as a graphic novel was inevitable. The book had been published in several languages as well as being made into a film. Surprisingly, the graphic novel was initially French and required retranslation back into English. For those who are wondering why retranslate and not just slip Pullman’s dialogue into the speech bubbles – don’t go there. It’s the arcane worlds of publishing and translation.

To answer the obvious questions, it sticks to the story and to story order. The original 450 pages have been reduced to 280. Considering “a picture is worth a thousand words”, this isn’t a reduction in length and points to the eloquent sparsity of Pullman’s work. It had been quite a while since I read Northern Lights (or watched The Golden Compass), that re-reading the graphic novel wasn’t a chore.

Perhaps the most important aspect of a graphic novel is the artwork, and Clément Oubrerie has done an excellent job. The style is suggestive of drawings by early teens, as opposed to the hyperclean comics of DC and Marvel. The colours are subdued, like those of a Northern Europe autumn. Mercifully, he has eschewed the bright ink of Asterix and Lucky Luke for dull pencil. Melchior has kept the dialogue balloons small and ownership obvious.

While the original version of this story was the text novel, this graphic novel was as satisfying. Plus it is encouraging me to try the French version. Definitely worthwhile.

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Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy…
Malcolm’s father runs an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.
He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust–and the spy it was intended for finds him.
When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, Malcolm sees suspicious characters everywhere; Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; an Egyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a dæmon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl–just a baby–named Lyra.
Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make shocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

David Fickling Books

Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Steve

Hands up those who wanted a Lyra Belacqua origin story? Philip Pullman has returned to the world of His Dark Materials and delivered one. But apart from being a vehicle for dragging the other characters in, Lyra doesn’t do much sleep, soil herself and feed, mostly because she’s a baby.

Malcolm Polstead, the son of Oxford inn owners, is drawn into a conspiracy because he’s observant; Malcolm’s trick is he notices detail. He’s not a big cog in the conspiracy, but he becomes an important one due to circumstance. This plays out large at the end of the novel. But that’s getting ahead and may even be a spoiler.

The action mostly takes place in the small confines of Malcolm’s world: his parents pub, his school, the priory over the river where Lyra is sequestered. For most of the story, the point of view is Malcolm’s. Occasionally it switches to Dr Hannah Relf, an Oxford academic and member of the liberal conspiracy, Oakley Street. Like Malcolm, she’s a minor cog, but she works with the alethiometer, often on Oakley street business. The world has taken a conservative turn, and the Church is pushing hard against its enemies. Naturally, Lyra’s parents make their separate entrances and in much the way they are initially presented in Northern Lights, Lord Asriel as a benign presence and Mrs Coulter as malign.

This book is the first of Pullman’s new trilogy, The Book of Dust. Pullman’s style is suited to the young adult or older child. The language is about that of the average 10-12-year-old, but I was surprised to see one expletive, even though it was in character. I liked the characters -immensely, especially Malcolm and his sparring partner Alice. Whether they both feature in the sequel can only be guessed. The main villain was very threatening, and making his daemon a hyena heightened his menace. The only thing I found a little unreal was the flood inundating the Thames’ valley.

I enjoyed this book and want to get hold of the sequel the moment the proof copies are produced.

Malcolm Polstead is the kind of boy who notices everything but is not much noticed himself. And so perhaps it was inevitable that he would become a spy…
Malcolm’s father runs an inn called the Trout, on the banks of the river Thames, and all of Oxford passes through its doors. Malcolm and his dæmon, Asta, routinely overhear news and gossip, and the occasional scandal, but during a winter of unceasing rain, Malcolm catches wind of something new: intrigue.
He finds a secret message inquiring about a dangerous substance called Dust–and the spy it was intended for finds him.
When she asks Malcolm to keep his eyes open, Malcolm sees suspicious characters everywhere; Lord Asriel, clearly on the run; enforcement agents from the Magisterium; a gyptian named Coram with warnings just for Malcolm; and a beautiful woman with an evil monkey for a dæmon. All are asking about the same thing: a girl–just a baby–named Lyra.
Lyra is the kind of person who draws people in like magnets. And Malcolm will brave any danger, and make chocking sacrifices, to bring her safely through the storm.

Random House Children’s Publisher UK

 Supplied by Penguin Random House New Zealand

Reviewed by Maree

This is the backstory of Lyra Belacqua, also known as Lyra Silvertongue, the heroine of Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials trilogy. This is the first volume of her story. As a baby she is introduced as being left with the nuns near Oxford. When a major flood threatens the south of England, she is rescued by the book’s protagonist, eleven-year old, Malcolm Polstead and his friend Alice. They have to make their way to safety pursued by the villainous Bonneville and Consistorial Court of Discipline, who want Lyra. This is all to do with the Dust, which Lord Asriel studies and which seems to be a significant component of matter in the idea of entwinned matter and spirit. Spirit being represented by the daemons animal spirit creatures everyone has.  What do you do with a baby who is destined to be the 0catalyst to change the way the world works? With no one they can trust they have to find Lord Asriel, Lyra’s father, so they can take Lyra to Jordan College Oxford and Lord Asriel can ask for Scholastic Sanctuary for the child.

A must-read for fantasy fans both young and old.