The ruby in the smoke / Philip Pullman

The ruby in the smoke

Philip Pullman

יצא לאור ע"י הוצאת Random House, בשנת 1985,
שפת הספר: אנגלית

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תקציר הספר
‘Have you ever heard the phrase The Seven Blessings?’
That question causes a man to die of shock, and propels Sally Lockhart into a desperate adventure that will expose the deepest secrets of the corrupt and murderous opium trade.

You read that quick summary, and you’d expect that this would be a pretty thrilling book. And at only 200 pages, it’s got to be action packed, right? Sadly, very sadly, no. At least not for me. Or for any of the members of my book club. In fact, the only reason I finished it (and it was a struggle to do so) was so that I’d have it read in time for book club.

Before I get too far into the disapointing-ness of this book, I will say that it started off well enough. Include this sentence in the first paragraph of your book, and I am going to be intrigued: Her name was Sally Lockhart; and within fifteen minutes, she was going to kill a man. Yes! More of that, please. The Seven Blessings are introduced, abounding in mystery, and I was starting to kick myself for not buying this book when I had the chance. And then, somehow, it all fell apart.

One of the biggest downfalls for me was Sally herself. For the first part of the book I had to keep reminding myself that Sally was 16. She seemed so much younger, at least 12 maybe, even younger. I’m not sure if Pullman had written her simpler/younger because he was writing for a younger audience or if she had been too sheltered to act her own age, or what. And so, while she’s supposed to be all fierce and independent, and yes, she was independent, she seemed more naive than fierce. Although, there were a couple parts where Sally totally showed off her brains, and it was awesome. But then, while in hiding with another young fugitive, she sees nothing wrong with both of them posing in photos – that will be sold to the public, and how was that not the reason they were found?? And it was even her idea! I am having a really hard time letting that part go. I just don’t get it.

Skipping all the way to the end (and the multitude of ‘important’ characters that are randomly introduced and half heartedly developed), the other downfall for me was the *SPOILER* Big Reveal re: Sally’s parentage. *END SPOILER* I generally really like when something like that is revealed and I’m all ‘Woah! Where did that come from?!’ But usually you’re working through everything with the character and there are clues that make sense once the secret is revealed. But with this one? I really have no idea how Sally came to the conclusion that she did. Did I miss something? Had an important page been ripped out of my library copy?

I know lots of people love this series, but it’s just not one for me.

Ending on a positive note – I do still really want to see the made for tv movie adaptation of The Ruby in the Smoke, starring Billie Piper & Matt Smith. I know!

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