Mr Pullman may call this a “stepping-stone,” but I call it an all-out tease. It’s a short story and some objects and an intro that explains it all… well, a little bit. The story is just long enough to drum up some excitement and then it ends. At the very least it relieved any notion that continuing the story might lead down disappointing and uninteresting paths.
I wasn’t intending on reading this so soon after ﬁnishing the series, but I noticed the nice, hardcover 10th anniversary editions of His Dark Materials and then spotted a hardcover version of this one for sale. It was impossible not to crack it open at the earliest opportunity.