Chabon on Pullman
Michael Chabon has written a compelling review of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. It helpfully situates the book within the epic fantasy tradition (in this case tracing its roots more to Milton than to Tolkien) and Chabon nicely identifies what makes the series so special.
I found myself really enchanted by the books when I finally read them last year (although I agree with Chabon that the series started to come apart in the third volume). They weren't at all what I was expecting; they're not at all children's/YA books, in my opinion (especially thet last book) (and I don't mean that as a knock against adults reading YA books; I love Harry Potter as much as the next person . . .). If you haven't read the books yet, they're worth picking up. (And if you haven't read Chabon yet I command you to immediately get The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which was definitely my favorite book of last year (via Crooked Timber)