Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Coming out of the dark

I was a bit worried when I picked up Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass. His books are recommended everywhere I turn, people I've met, from the book itself which listed out many praises, in cyberspace, plus the awards that it has won. Even customers who walked into my bookstore highly recommended it.

We do have his books in the store so I could have just pick it up anytime I want and read it which I always planned to do. But as time pass, the books got sold and my boss didn't bring in anymore copies. And then one day I saw all three of his dark materials at Times Warehouse sale for RM8 each. And I thought what the hell. If it's not that good I won't regret it as much.

Philip Pullman? Not that good? Some of his fans might scream out. But you must understand my situation first.

Have you ever been in this position? The papers, internet, your friends highly recommend a certain book or movie. They say, "It's the best ever!" "Not to be missed!" And then when you do read or watch it you thought "Eh? What's so great about that?"

So I started reading The Golden Compass with a sceptical mind. I was afraid I will experience the same thing with this one, more so because it's a fantasy. But for all you know, it was quite good actually. I got hooked when the alethiometer was introduced.

But the concept of daemon kind of reminded me of digimon. I kept thinking what came first, daemon or digimon?

Another thing that bugs me about this book is this particular snippet, taken from the many praises found in the book,
The most ambitious work since Lord of the Rings...
It got me thinking, if this is equivalent to Lord of the Rings, what does it say about the artistic level of literary works today? The Dark Materials is great but it still doesn't compare to Lord of the Rings, the greatest modern literature for the past century.

It sends chills down my spine.

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