9 Must-Reads for Fans of His Dark Materials on HBO

Who else is obsessed with the new HBO series His Dark Materials? The show is based on the bestselling fantasy series by Philip Pullman.

Full of mystery, magic, and supernatural creatures, like angels, armored bears, and witches, this beloved book series has excited fans for over twenty years, and features plenty of sequels and prequels and even a spin-off. We put together a list of book recommendations that fans of the show need to jump on immediately. It'll be just like Lyra learning to read the alethiometer for the first time...

Start with the original series by Philip Pullman:

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass

By Philip Pullman

The first volume of His Dark Materials tells the story of Lyra Belacqua, a young girl growing up in an alternate version of our world. Lyra goes on a quest to the North with her mysterious truth-telling device, the alethiometer, to find her missing best friend, Roger. The treacherous North is dominated by witch clans, armored bears, and terrifying Gobblers who steal children. And as Lyra comes to understand, there’s a war brewing between the magisterium and those who are opposed to its rule, and she is heading right into the front line.

His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (Book 2)

His Dark Materials: The Subtle Knife (Book 2)

By Philip Pullman

The second book in the His Dark Materials series introduces us to Will Parry, a twelve-year-old who runs away after accidentally killing an intruder. In the deserted city of Cittàgazze, he meets Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, and joins them in their search for Lord Asriel. The trio also investigate a phenomenon known as Dust, which involves mysterious particles that the magisterium associates with original sin. This sequel is full of new fascinating characters, magic, mystery, and another complex quest for Will and Lyra to journey on together.

His Dark Materials: The Amber Spyglass (Book 3)

By Philip Pullman

By the third installment of His Dark Materials, Lyra has been drugged and trapped in a remote cabin by her evil mother. In the city of Cittàgazze, angels are preparing to fight the Church, but Will refuses to join them until his friend Lyra is rescued. It’s a dizzying, fantastical journey in a setting as richly detailed as the first two of Pullman’s novels, and while it is the official third book of the trilogy, the story doesn’t end here!

Then read the spin-off series by Philip Pullman:

The Book of Dust:  La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1)

The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage (Book of Dust, Volume 1)

By Philip Pullman

In this first installment of an unfinished new trilogy set twelve years before the events of The Golden Compass, eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead, his friend Alice, and their respective dæmons try to protect Lyra and Pantalaimon during a huge flood. Though she’s just a baby, Lyra attracts all kinds of danger, and Malcolm and Alice must make great sacrifices to ensure her safety. This prequel explores the origins of Lyra’s alethiometer, and expands upon the nature of Dust and the growing strength of the Church.

The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)

The Book of Dust: The Secret Commonwealth (Book of Dust, Volume 2)

By Philip Pullman

And now fast forward to Lyra at 20 years old in the second book in Philip Pullman's new spin off series.

The windows between the many worlds have been sealed and the momentous adventures of Lyra Silvertongue’s youth are long behind her—or so she thought. Lyra is now an undergraduate at St. Sophia’s College and intrigue is swirling around her once more. Her daemon Pantalaimon is witness to a brutal murder, and the dying man entrusts them with secrets that carry echoes from their past. The more Lyra is drawn into these mysteries, the less she is sure of...

Then check out these other great fantasy reads we think you'll love: 

Eragon

Eragon

By Christopher Paolini

Christopher Paolini wrote this fantasy epic YA novel when he was still in his teens, and the story of an ordinary farm boy named Eragon who finds a stone that will later hatch into a dragon has become a modern classic since it was first released in 2002. The first book in the Inheritance Cycle, Eragon, was influenced by myths, folktales, authors like Tolkien, and a number of medieval stories. Fifteen-year-old Eragon and his fledgling dragon Saphira embark on a revenge quest against an evil king whose cruelty knows no bounds.

Spin the Dawn

Spin the Dawn

By Elizabeth Lim

Mulan meets Project Runway in this fanciful YA fantasy book that’s chock-full of richly layered world-building and amazing characters. Maia Tamarin has always dreamed of becoming the imperial tailor of A’landi, but she lives in a world in which girls are expected to focus on marrying well. When her sick and grieving father is summoned by the emperor, Maia decides to go in his place disguised as a boy. At the palace, she soon realizes she’s not the only tailor who has been summoned, but is one of twelve vying for the coveted job by competing a number of increasingly difficult magical tasks. The final task is nearly impossible, and involves sewing three magic dresses, one from the sun, one from the moon, and one from the stars. With gorgeous writing and an amazing lead character, Spin the Dawn secures Elizabeth Lim as a YA author to watch!

The Alchemyst

The Alchemyst

By Michael Scott

In the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel YA series, Nicholas Flamel is acknowledged as the greatest alchemyst of his day, seven hundred years after his birth. While records show that he died in 1418, rumor has it that he discovered the secret to eternal life, and his tomb is eerily  empty. The secret to immortality is hidden within a magic and incredibly powerful book called the Book of Abraham the Mage, and the nefarious Dr. John Dee wants to get his hands on it. Fifteen-year-old twins Sophie and Josh Newman are spending a rather ordinary summer working at a bookstore, until Dr. John Dee steals one of their ancient books, and the two teens become the only hope for humanity.

Blood Heir

Blood Heir

By Amélie Wen Zhao

This is the first book in a new epic fantasy series about a princess hiding a dark secret. In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

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