I just finished the series and I wrote an e-mail about it. It quickly turned into a bit of a rant, but I quite enjoyed myself so I thought I'd stick it here.
I really want to like it, and I was really into it. But somehow, the books have disappointed me. I feel like it's not fair of me. I wonder how much is because of my ideology... But I thought that would be part of the books that I liked. It's supposed to atheisty and all about truth seeking, but I'm not really with it. The Animals don't have demons (no souls!) even though they speak English and are really smart, what's that about? Conscious elementary particles is too much like the irritating dualist view of mind that even many atheists have ( I know it's fantasy but that's the point, it's exactly a view that lots of people hold in real life). He's also very keen on promoting a very old fashioned wholesome vision of childhood. It's presented in an attractive way and I also think it sounds cool, but it sounds to me like moralising about the way things are now and I get all defensive. He's also very keen on showing that other cultures arrive at the truth in their own ways. They all have their own version of the alethiometer (including modern day world, but naturally we need massive super computers and teams of brilliant scientists whereas other cultures just need to throw sticks). And finally, he tries to make other species that are fundamentally different from us in intelligence as well, which is cool, bears and angels are smart in different ways, great. But why, if angels are MUCH, MUCH smarter, do Mrs Coulter and Lord Asraiel call all the shots. IT DOESNT MAKE SENSE!!!