Author: Philip Pullman
For a different hero, we get quite a different tale. The new story is a lot darker than His Dark Materials. The subject matter and even some of the language implies teenagers rather than younger children as the intended readers - not a good read-aloud for the tots. In parts, the story also tends more to the surrealist end of fantasy than the original series did.
Malcolm and Alice, his partner in this adventure, are total badasses. One can't help admiring them tremendously by the end. There is some untidiness in the narrative. For instance, at one point Bonneville is revealed to have a predilection for young boys, a fact presented in such a way that one assumes it to be important to the story but then it isn't. Or maybe it still will be in future books? Hard to see how but we'll see. Overall, Pullman's language, character development and world development are all expert level so I'm certainly up for more. The second volume, The Secret Commonwealth, jumps ahead to the time after His Dark Materials. I expect my wife will be swapping with me for that one soon, too.