Review of “Once Upon a Time in the North” by Philip Pullman

Title: Once Upon a Time in the North
Author: Philip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials #0.5
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 104
Published: 2008, Alfred A. Knopf
My Grade: 4 out of 5 arctic rabbits

GOODREADS’ DESCRIPTION

In this prequel episode from Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials universe, Lee Scoresby — Texan aeronaut and future friend to Lyra Belacqua — is 24 years old. The story reveals the origins of Scoresby’s friendship with Iorek Byrnison as well as Scoresby’s aeronautical career.

After winning his hot-air balloon in a poker game, Scoresby finds himself floating north. On the Arctic island of Novy Odense, Scoresby and his dæmon Hester become involved in a deadly plot involving an oil magnate, a corrupt mayoral candidate, and a hired killer who is Lee’s longtime nemesis from the Dakota Country. Forming an alliance with one of the island’s reviled armored bears, Scoresby fights to break up the conspiracy.

MY REVIEW

When I read His Dark Materials, Once Upon a Time in the North had just gotten out and I hadn’t gotten my hands on it. Then I continued to not have it and therefore not read it. Until now. And I feel more than ever that I really have to reread the original series. I can’t even remember who Lee Scoresby is and what his role is. The bear, Iorek, I do remember bits and pieces of, but no big details.

It was a short story, very enjoyable. But it might have been more enjoyable if I didn’t read it “before” the original series. Hard to remember after 10 years. But it gets a 4. Maybe I will give it a higher grade after I finish rereading His Dark Materials.

 

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