Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: The Butterfly Tattoo by Philip Pullman

The Butterfly Tattoo by Philip Pullman 3.5/5

The agony and ecstasy of a teenage love affair inspires this tense, romantic thriller. Sixth-former Chris falls in love with Jenny the moment he sets eyes on her as he works at an Oxford ball. But as their relationship blossoms, tragedy and violence wait in the wings. For Chris’s boss has a shady past that won’t stay hidden. And his ruthless enemies will use two innocent teenagers to exact their revenge on him.


If I had to sum this book up, I’d say it was a story of adolescent love and a side helping of gansters. That being said the narrative was understated, and in Pullman style, the prose was beautiful. The whole story was a retelling of the very first sentence; a corker of an opening line:

Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm Oxford night in early June.

I already knew Pullman had a knack for creating characters that draw you in, and this book was no different. Chris was a superbly well rounded, well written character. Dealing with teenage issues, family issues, love issues, and being in that in between stage of boy and man. Jenny was street wise, toughened, but just as easily broken. I rooted for the pair of them, but that opening sentence lingered in the back of my mind for the whole narrative. At least I was pre-warned of the ending.

I have to put it out there that this book is no ‘Northern Lights’. The plot wasn’t as engaging or compelling. After all, we knew the ending from the first sentence, right? I went in with expectations, which isn’t a great start, and this book fell short. If not for the beautifully written characters and prose, I’d probably not have continued with the story.

The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties.

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review.

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