Thursday, 2 April 2015
His Dark Materials Readalong - Once Upon A Time In The North
Once Upon A Time In The North is a prequel where two characters meet for the first time, around thirty-five years prior to the events of the His Dark Materials trilogy. The Texan balloonist, Lee Scoresby, and the armoured bear, Iorek Byrnison.
When the young Lee Scoresby and his daemon, Hester, land their balloon in a small Arctic town, they find themselves flying straight into a political brawl. The political factions want control of the town and its oil, and the resident bears are treated with contempt and like second-class citizens. It doesn't take long before Lee and Iorek meet and their friendship begins. But with political tensions also at fever pitch, it wouldn't take long before blood will be spilt.
Ok, I admit it, it took me a good 20 or so pages before I found my stride with this story. It's very different from Lyra's Oxford - the book is longer than Lyra's Oxford (almost double) and the type is smaller, so we got more story. But because it has been so long since I read Scoresby (he wasn't exactly a character I remember really well, if I can be truthful with you all), I felt like I had to get to know him again. Which was nice. I feel ready to meet him again when I feel brave enough to try and reread the trilogy again (stupid reading slump).
The illustrations/engravings by John Lawrence fitted the story very neatly and, unless I am mistaken, he also did the illustrations for Lyra's Oxford. I really liked these so I might write a seperate blogpost to show them off.
If I can be honest, the only thing that bothered me was, at times, one of the characters felt out of place. I can't put my finger on why I feel like this.
But I liked this a lot more than Lyra's Oxford. And if you're a fan of the series, this is a must.