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The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman
My rating on a 100-point scale: 98
This trilogy is a masterpiece. The first time I read it I was in the sixth grade, and I have read it another two times since. These books are very-well written and very-well thought out, and I personally love the adventure they provide their readers with.
When I first read them as an adolescent, the end of the trilogy shook me as a Christian. I wasn't technically a Christian yet, according to the current definition I claim, but I was trying to find my place in Christianity. The ending makes the author's atheism very evident, and either makes or breaks the story for the reader. For me, I'm not sure whether it made or broke the story (the first time), since I don't know where I was then in relevance to my religion. But now, being solid in where I stand (as a Christian), I can look around the implications of this fictional story and see the amazing piece of work Philip Pullman has created. It's an amazing story, and despite whatever religion you claim, you should read it, especially if you enjoy reading, adventure, and thought-provoking material. However, if you are a fundamentalist Christian parent who's wondering whether they should allow their child to read this work (from an atheist author) or not, I suggest you read it for yourself before you decide (though I believe you will probably decide to advise against your child's reading of it). Though I encourage you to keep an open mind, I know that "narrow is the gate," and you must do what you must for your child's security of mind. But realize that your child will come into contact with the world and the people in it sooner or later, and you can't stop that (no matter how much you may try).
This story is brilliant. It's fiction at its best. If you have any questions concerning it that I may be able to help with, please email or comment below.
These are meant to be children's books, but I would recommend these books for no one below the age of 8, since the writing and storyline can be complex at times. There are also mythical, mystical, and war-like elements. The bear battle is a bit gory and the main character is a liar, for example; there are things of this world and those of another included in the story (witches, talking bears, spirits, magic, science, daemons, etc.). As always, if you question whether your child should read these books, read them yourself and determine with your own standards.