Sunday, January 25, 2009

#38 - "The Ruby In the Smoke" by Philip Pullman

Every young adult book I can think of has an orphan as the protagonist. This includes Harry Potter, Lyra (kind of) in Pullman's Dark Series, Liesel Meminger from The Book Thief, and Sally Lockhart from the latest young adult book I recently picked up, The Ruby in the Smoke (1985) by Philip Pullman. I would guess the appeal of orphaned heros has something to do with tweens' and teenagers' strive for independence and such, but now I'm curious if I can think of any young adult books that have main characters with parents playing an actual role in their lives. Not offhand.

I read Philip Pullman's Dark Materials Series when my cousin recommended it, and I loved it. It was dark, exciting, intricate and incredibly creative, so I decided to read some more of Pullman. The Ruby in the Smoke is an earlier book of Pullman's and the first novel of another trilogy; it's an action/adventure/mystery set in London in 1872. Sally Lockhart is an unconventional sixteen-year-old girl who is living with her mean and bitter relative because her father recently died abroad a ship in the East. She gathers around a number of interesting supporting characters around her as she attempts to discover the mysteries surrounding her past and her father's death.

I don't feel very strongly about this book. It was a fun read and an interesting story. I liked the characters and I wasn't bored, but it didn't seem as magical or elaborate as The Dark Materials. I've gotten attached enough to some of the characters that I'm a little concerned about some of them, though; and I'm definitely going to finish the rest of the series.

No comments: