Review: The Shadow In the North by Philip Pullman

Review: The Shadow In the North by Philip PullmanThe Shadow in the North by Philip Pullman
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 361
Series: The Sally Lockhart Trilogy #2
Published by Laurel Leaf Books on January 1st 1970
Genres: Historical Fiction

Six years after solving the mysteries surrounding the death of her father (in The Ruby in the Smoke), Sally Lockhart has set up her own consulting business. But her photographer friend, Fred Garland, has a habit of drawing her into his private detective work owing to her skill in both finances and firearms. When one of Sally's clients loses a large sum of money invested in a shipping firm and Fred encounters a conjurer on the lam from underworld thugs, the two begin to find links in these apparently disparate cases.
Exquisitely written and packed with a wonderfully diverse, often terrifying cast of characters and dark twists and turns of plot, the second installment of the Sally Lockhart trilogy--an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a Booklist Editors' Choice, and a nominee for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Mystery--is entirely impossible to put down. Make sure book 3, The Tiger in the Well, is close at hand as you near the end of this one. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter


I love Philip Pullman. I’ve yet to read a book I didn’t love by him. If you haven’t read His Dark Materials series then I suggest you stop whatever it is you are doing, head to a library/bookstore/etc and read it. And then pick up the Sally Lockhart mystery series for some well written, fast paced, Victorian-era mysteries!

Shadow In the North picks up several years after Ruby in the Smoke. Sally is now 22, and is running her own financial consulting business (an impressive feat given the Victorian England setting). Plot wise there is a lot going on an evil plot involving a whole assortment of characters involving a false medium, runaway magician and an evil business man who plans to build a horrible machine of destruction.

One thing I love about these books is how Pullman shows us both sides of the mystery, and manages not to loose interest when he switches POVs. He manages to capture these intricate people who all feel so tangible, like you could meet them around the corner from your house or pumping gas or something just so ordinary and everyday. He’s also a master of describing absolutely boring tasks. At one point he details Sally’s routine and honestly it wasn’t boring. Pullman is a master at descriptions.

That ending. Oh god I don’t know if I can read the next book after what happened! (But I love Pullman so I probably will, and just sob throughout it). I just don’t see the ultimate goal in Fred’s death.

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