Better than the first installment (which I disliked so much it's taken me over 2 years to get round to reading the second part).
This story starts with Will, a young boy in our own world, placing his Mother in hiding and then accidentally killing a man. While running away he finds a window into another world. Not the world that Lyra belongs to - but another that only seems to be inhabited by children.
Will soon finds Lyra though and the two strike up an uneasy friendship. Lyra's character changes quite a bit as the story unfolds. She becomes a child that is no longer as shelfish and spiteful. She genuinely want's to help Will and he helps her in many different ways. The main aim of this installement of the trilogy is for Will to find "The Subtle Knife", a knife that is capable of cutting through anything, including windows into other universes. But all Will wants to do is find his father - who went missing 12 years ago.
The whole talk about Angels and the war that is brewing between "The Authority", i.e God, and Lord Asriel (who's been building an army for aeons and must have a time travel device of some sort) made me somewhat wary. Good v Evil, The Empire v Rebel Alliance - but I read to relax - not to be preached at and at times it felt it was boardering on that.
The bit that got to me the most though - had to be Lee and Hester, they didn't deserve to go out like that, neither did Will's Dad.
I'm sure I'll get round to the last part of the trilogy - mainly because I want to make sure that that bitch Mrs Coulter get what's coming to her.