Philip Pullman’s prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy is a trip down memory lane. It emersed me back into the world of daemons and I fell back into sync with my fond yet faded memories of the series. In contrast to its predecessors, the first part of the Book of Dust features Lyra before she came to Jordan college. I liked Malcolm as the main character. He is relatable and has the same childlike, imaginative eyes that Lyra had in the Northern Lights.
I thought that Bonneville, the antagonist, was well thought out in some regards but neglected in others. We see the evidence of his insanity with the abuse of his daemon partner and we see the events that lead to his daemon’s maiming but there is little explanation of how he came to be this way. Once a scholar, studying the dizzying yet wonderous concept of dust, and now a self-mutilating baby hunter? It seems a really odd leap and I hope that Pullman revisits Bonneville in the later parts. The negative emotions Pullman has conjured are excruciating in one of his other books, the Broken Bridge.
All in all, I enjoyed it, though not with the same gusto and bright eyes as his earlier works.