Considering how good Philip Pullman s His Dark Materials trilogy was, and considering how much I loved those books, I had high expectations for anything that would be published as part of that universe. I was excited to find out that Pullman was publishing a little story featuring Lyra. The book weighed in at about 60 pages, so I knew it wasn t going to be epic, but the expectations were there.

I was disappointed. The story is that Lyra is back at Oxford several years after the events of His Dark Materials. She, and her daemon, see a daemon bird flying in being chased by a huge flock of birds. She rescues the daemon who tells Lyra that she needs to help the daemon find a professor, one who can help the daemon s witch. It is a very short story, and while there is a wee sense of adventure, this slim volume has none of the charm and wonder of His Dark Materials. Other than our familiarity with Lyra, we are given no reason to care about anything that happens.

This book feels like a teaser. In the introduction, Pullman writes that the extras (there is a map, a post card and sundry extra information besides the story) may be from a different world, may be from stories already told, and may even be for a story yet to be told. He is teasing us with a larger story, a grander tale than Lyra s Oxford. It raises my expectations that Pullman will deliver a story large in scope, reminiscent of His Dark Materials. But, even that hint of something to come only deepens my disappointment with this book. Simply put, there is nothing there. As a story, it is weak. As an continuation of His Dark Materials, it does not live up to the past greatness. All this book does is serve to remind me how good the main series is, and how much I would love to see a new series. Skip this book.