So much for attempting to do that weekly posting thing...
It's been a busy month, with lots of personal distractions and news events, as I'm certain everyone who reads this is aware of. There's nothing to add to the horror of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, except that events sickenly confirm whatever suspicions one may have had about how well disaster is confronted by the government.
Suddenly, the Mad Max films and WATERWORLD take on a whole new sheen.
After going through the latest Harry Potter installment in a day, I took a look at another well regarded 'YA' series, the HIS DARK MATERIALS trilogy by Phillip Pullman, comprised of the books THE GOLDEN COMPASS, THE SUBTLE KNIFE and THE AMBER SPYGLASS. Pullman is a better writer than Rowling (not disparging her efforts; Pullman has been at it longer, and the trilogy is more 'literary' than the Potter books; which merely means you may have to refer to a dictionary every now and then to look up meanings of words); and is a lot more comfortable with handling scope.
The trilogy takes place in alternate worlds, and starts off in a world where The Church has become the dominant presence in all aspects of life.
If you've got kids or neices/nephews who are nuts about Potter and fantasy, it's a good series to give to them - but for the older bunch, say 12 and up who are probably more ready to grasp the moral questions that the author poses, and who can handle the grimmer parts of the series... this definitely ain't Potter-esque.