This book contains a story and several other things. The other things might be connected with the story, or they might not; they might be connected to stories that haven’t appeared yet . . .
Two years after the conclusion of The Amber Spyglass, Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon sit high on the roof of Jordan College, gazing down on the streets of Oxford. But their peace is shattered by a flock of enraged starlings, who seem intent on knocking another bird out of the sky – a bird that Lyra and Pan quickly realise is a witch’s daemon. The daemon carries worrying tidings of a terrible sickness spreading in the north, and claims that only Lyra can help him – but is he really friend, or foe?
"Everything means something," Lyra said severely. "We just have to find out how to read it."
Lyra’s Oxford is pretty short, but it was nice to get back into this world for a quick visit with Lyra and Pantalaimon. My favourite part was definitely when Lyra channelled Will to feel brave. It was a sweet homage to their connection lasting beyond their forced separation.
All of the alchemy stuff was a strange misdirect from the rest of everything that happened in the His Dark Materials series. I know it’s a novella, but it only makes sense if this is the setup for something else moving forward. Maybe the Book of Dust series? I’m not entirely sure how this fits into the bigger picture, but I guess (or at least hope) we’ll find out eventually, and I loved the chance to hang out with Lyra and Pan again, even if it was only for this short story.