I need to re-read La Belle Sauvage. Were I a real book reviewer, rather than just an enthusiastic amateur, I’d re-read it before writing this short review. Why? Because I was so caught up in what was happening and what was going to happen next that I didn’t have time to properly appreciate the world and its weirdnesses. Not the faeries, not the river spirits, not the fact that a part of people’s souls live outside themselves and take animal form.
That description makes it sound fantastical and weirder than it is. In truth, it’s populated by very practical, pragmatic people. Maybe that’s why the fantastical elements work so well.
This is the first book in a prequel series to His Dark Materials, which I highly recommend. La Belle Sauvage is part set-up, part quest to save baby Lyra from the evil Magisterium – organized religious fanatics with political influence. They might run Switzerland? It’s unclear, and the Swiss association always makes me think they’re Calvinists.
The whole universe is entertaining and thought-provoking to explore. If for no other reason than to think about what animal your dæmon – the part of your soul that lives outside your body – would be.