I don’t think I knew when I picked this up that it was part of the His Dark Materials world, but it doesn’t really matter that it is. It does add another dimension if you can identify why certain things go together, but it works as an atmospheric creepy story, too. Especially as read by Bill Nighy — I don’t often read something only as an audiobook, but this seems very much designed to be an audiobook. The action is almost entirely in dialogue.
The feeling of the story… it’s something like Neil Gaiman’s style, now I think about it. And it feels more like Clockwork, of Pullman’s work, than His Dark Materials. That’s not a criticism, despite the fact that Clockwork is aimed at a younger audience. I think both capture something creepy and bring it across in just the right number of words.
For an audiobook I got for free, this is definitely worth the half hour’s listening. Especially if you are a fan of Pullman in general.