I admit: I didn’t have the right frame of mind as I read this short novella about a familiar character: Lyra. I am an avid reader of Philip Pullman and eagerly await the next book in his most recent series The Book of Dust. This small book — Serpentine — is a sort of in-between, set in the time when the first series (His Dark Materials) ended and the current series (Book of Dust) begins.
I didn’t realize that it was little more than an lingering idea of Pullman that came to fruition during a charity auction, and it was then that the story he wrote and sold off was pulled into this small novella, filled with evocative charcoal illustrations by Tom Duxbury. The story isn’t really a story, and would confuse anyone not familiar with the two series. The book is more of a written sketch of Lyra and her daemon exploring the notion of being separated, and what that means, as they head back north to ask questions of an old acquaintance about their situation.
Not much happens, plot-wise, and little is revealed, but the narrative here does connect to The Book of Dust and forms a bit of a bridge between the two series, which Pullman explains was his whole idea for conceiving Serpentine. I borrowed this novella from the library, so it was a quick afternoon read that pulled me back into Pullman’s world for a bit, and that’s worked just fine.
Peace (connected by a string),