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Book Review: Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke

The Ruby in the Smoke, Book One of Philip Pullman’s Sally Lockhart series, never gained the same fame as The Golden Compass and the rest of Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, perhaps for good reason. It’s a cute story but doesn’t have quite the magical draw of epic world-building that bolsters his other works. From a feminist perspective, I appreciated the feisty female protagonist who demonstrates math skills and business acumen, but on an intersectional level, the book fails. The novel is meant to be a treatise against opium and the role England played in encouraging the opium industry, but it is rife with simplistic or downright racist depictions of Asians and the East. Continue reading Book Review: Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke