I’m not the only one who has muttered for years that The Butterfly Tattoo is the least good book Philip Pullman has written. Not bad, but nowhere near his other books.
I take it all back. I know what my mistake was. I read His Dark Materials first. Then I read Sally Lockhart. Then I went searching for more good stuff by Philip. The setting of a recent, modern Oxford, and a non-fantasy plot made The Butterfly Tattoo look a little ordinary.
I just speed-re-read TBT to get me ready for the film premiere on Wednesday night, and it’s a very good book in its own right. Of course. It may be one of Philip’s earliest books, but it is still a Philip Pullman.
TBT is a clever mix of present time fiction, with a dash of Shakespeare thrown in, and a little bit of thriller on the side. To be honest, I don’t like sad endings, and that could be another thing I used to have against it. But at least Philip is honest enough to start by saying he will kill off a character, just as in The Ruby in the Smoke.
Hope the film does well, and I hope this will bring a new interest in the book too.