My Review of Dark Matter: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Philip Pullman has now been published in the USA by IVP. Publishers Weekly, a major trade publication for the book world, has published a favourable review:
'Philip Pullman's acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy, a sweeping retelling of Milton's Paradise Lost and The Fall , has caused great controversy among Christian readers. Watkins, a self-proclaimed Christian and managing editor for Damaris's CultureWatch Web site, offers a perspective on Pullman's work that is anything but dark and is sure to enlighten the debate among Christians. Watkins explains that while his intention is to provide readers the opportunity to appreciate Pullman in general, he also believes fervently that "it's helpful for all fans of Pullman's work-Christian or otherwise-to understand a Christian perspective on it." The book is divided into three parts, the first a walk through Pullman's life and background and the second an overview of the major dimensions of each book in the trilogy. It is not until the third section that readers will find what they are really looking for: a critical evaluation of major themes and story dimensions such as dæmons, sin and the infamous "death of God" - an assessment that is smart and wisely restrained. Watkins's critical appreciation of Pullman's trilogy will surely appeal to a Christian audience, but will reach well beyond this market to a general readership looking for a solid, substantially sourced, and well-written analysis of this beloved work of literature.'
Publishers Weekly, 3 April 2006