A bit of an unexpected continuation of the His Dark Materials trilogy, this was exactly the kind of book that makes me lose track of time and speed through it.
It, for all of Pullman's theology and philosophy (though perhaps because of it), is a childrens book. It has the abnormally intelligent protagonist, the slow making sense of the world 1, the chases, the mentors.
This book feels much closer to these tropes than the Golden Compasss did, though that might just be because of the distance I have from it.
Malcolm turned to the imaginary dogs. He felt his eyes throwing fire. But he also knew in that fraction of a second that without the dogs he would find himself giving way to pity, and only with their help could he punish the figure who had hurt Alice. But if he didn’t hold them off, he’d never know what Bonneville could tell him—and yet he didn’t know what to ask, and if he held them off for a moment too long, they’d go away and take all that power with them. He thought all that in less than a second.
He could still do simple, everyday things, then. He hadn’t lost the power to live from second to second and to take pleasure, even, in the warm yellow light that filled the canoe.