‘The Broken Bridge’ by Philip Pullman

How many times have you chosen a book only because of its author?

Then you know: sometimes it’s a win, sometimes it’s a bust.

I was lucky when I put my hands on ‘Starter for Ten‘ and surely you can’t go wrong with authors like Stephen King or Neil Gaiman (go the List of Authors to see which of their novels I have written about), but is it always a safe bet?

I thought so when I got myself a copy of ‘The Broken Bridge’ by Philip Pullman.

I mean, after something as epic as the trilogy of ‘His Dark Materials‘ (review of the third chapter coming soon), I truly believed another magical experience was awaiting for me amongst the pages.

As the story unfold, though – that of the only mixed-race girl in a little Welsh town, who never knew her Haitian painter mother and who’s soon getting a brand new half-brother – I quickly realised there was very little magic into it.

That’s all right, though, isn’t it? You can’t always have daemons running around town, right?

Except something didn’t quite fall into place in the whole story. I am not much referring to the plot, as to the characters.

If Lyra had been a real, flesh and bones character, Ginny for me was little more than a shadow.

Of course, part of the blame goes on me for building up my expectation before even opening the first page, something that’s just as bad as reading ‘The Casual Vacancy‘ expecting Harry Potter to appear at any given moment (he won’t).

However, while J.K. Rowling sucked me into Pagford’s small town drama, giving little chance to miss the young wizard, Philip Pullman left me hanging and waiting for more.

So, it’s with sad eyes that I look at ‘The Broken Bridge’ and admit that I got it wrong.

Even though Philip Pullman remains one of my favourite, a lesson is to be learned: a book is not its author.

Let’s give space to the story.


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