Read The White Mercedes by Philip Pullman Online


A chance meeting with Jenny at an Oxford party leaves seventeen-year-old Chris with hope for a summer romance--and no premonition of trouble. Busy with his job and soon in love with Jenny, whose cheerful surface belies the dark uncertainty of her past, Chris misses all the signs of danger. Before he knows it, he's caught in the sinister web of a criminal whose desire for rA chance meeting with Jenny at an Oxford party leaves seventeen-year-old Chris with hope for a summer romance--and no premonition of trouble. Busy with his job and soon in love with Jenny, whose cheerful surface belies the dark uncertainty of her past, Chris misses all the signs of danger. Before he knows it, he's caught in the sinister web of a criminal whose desire for revenge crushes all those who stand in his way....

Title : The White Mercedes
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780679886235
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 170 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The White Mercedes Reviews

  • randy
    2018-12-30 09:14

    Not gonna lie, this was wholeheartedly disappointing.I was expecting the level of brilliance Pullman brought to His Dark Materials. And well this had none of that. It also lacked the charm and sense of wonder HDM provided.Yes, I understand this was written far earlier in his career, and did not expect it to be on par, but I am astounded by how lackluster this was. It is told in there sections. The first section had promise and lead me to think this was going to get much better. He introduced his main characters, and while none are who you want to be friends with, he filled them out and presented some motivations.Then it moved on to the 2nd & 3rd sections where Pullman became so overwrought in his writing, I had to think the editor fell asleep and left him to his ugly didactic ways. He makes Chris, the protagonist in the story so naive that he believes anything, with little hesitation. Quite a change in characterization, but fine. I can buy this. But then he turns around and presents him as a moral fundamentalist who can only see black and white answers to any solution. In doing so he stops accessing the grey matter in his head. These shifts are sloppy and nonsensical.I get that the lesson Pullman is trying to teach is that fundamental positions are dangerous to you and those around you. But he is a writer not a teacher. And I thought he was a skilled writer to achieve his goals without being sloppy and preachy about it, but this really proved me wrong.I honestly am not sure where he became a much better writer, because he so obviously did. The HDM series and Clockwork are fantastic books full of wonder and promise. This sadly has none of what made those such special reads.I guess this is encouraging, as it implies with enough practice and editorial help, one writing can improve exponentially. I guess this means I should perhaps look at later works of other authors I have dismissed as utter garbage, for perhaps they too will improve.

  • K.J. Chapman
    2018-12-29 15:58

    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.

  • Caroline
    2019-01-05 16:55

    It's confession time (blush). When I read novels I often find it very tempting to skim in places.... even worse, I sometimes get an overwhelming urge to leapfrog over the bulk of book to go for an advance peek at the ending. Am I the only person on Goodreads who flicks down the reviews to find the ones marked 'Spoiler alert'?So, The Butterfly Tattoo should have been very much to my taste. You get a massive hint at the ending in the first line of the book, "Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm night in early June...", and all the skimming has already been done by the author. It is a pretty bare bones story. But it wasn't really to my taste. Whilst I enjoyed the fast pace of the book, I really missed what could have been a much greater fleshing out of the characters. In the end it was a so-so read. This was a pity, as the storyline could have carried a whole lot more.

  • Claire (Book Blog Bird)
    2018-12-22 10:13

    This was an okay audiobook and Phillip Pullman is a skilled writer but his didn't have the breathtaking awesomeness of some of his other work. It's tightly plotted but the characters are only okay. The narrator is the same guy who narrates Doing It in Bolinda Audio. He has a slightly lecherous-sounding voice that I quite like (he can't do a northern accent for shit) but he spoke some of the dialogue differently to how I would have imagined it if I was reading it in a book.

  • Jayne Lamb
    2018-12-30 10:47

    I wonder if PP is embarassed by this now? Having loved His Dark Materials I thought he might have done ok with some YA lit. Bad move, not only is it 'a modern day Romeo and Juliet' (it's the answering machine that screws up the message), the first line is great - if he was an unpublished teenager. Terrible, clunky plot that recycles cliche after cliche, teenage boy in love at first sight (oh please) and of course, all the men that meet Jenny want to have sex with her, because she's beautiful, skinny and stupid, with no will of her own. But that's not her fault , because as we all know, all beautiful uneduacated girls have been sexually abused by their fathers and this marks them out as victims.I don't know what he was thinking when he wrote this trash, it's substandard even for ordinary YA lit, but to think this is the same person who wrote the Golden Compass? He definetly needs to stick to fantasy. Just awful.

  • Kindred Spirit
    2018-12-16 10:15

    I have been trying to get my hands on this book for ages and was finding it basically impossible to buy, so I ended up borrowing it from the library. And boy, am I glad I did!This book is amazing. A bit sublte and understated, but at the same time really packing a punch. The characters were all very well done and easy to both relate to and sympathise with and it was really refreshing to see Pullman deal with a modern setting. I particuarly loved the exploration of morals and honour and truth and integrity that was the underlying theme throughout the whole book.Reading this book really reminded me why Philip Pullman is one of my absolute favourite authors.

  • Alicia
    2018-12-30 14:00

    I was all excited to discover there was a YA book by Pullman that I hadn't read, b/c of course I love his other books. Unfortunately, this one was a stinker; described as a "modern-day Shakespearean tragedy", it was really more of a "stupid young boy meets random young girl and somehow there are mobsters involved" story. Pullman never makes you feel for any of the characters, so when the melodramatic denouement finally occurs, I was just glad it was over. D.

  • Charmaine Greenan
    2018-12-24 11:14

    Nearly a 4, but not quite. Enjoyable page turner with some interesting ideas.

  • Becky (Blogs of a Bookaholic)
    2019-01-04 14:50

    You can check out my full review here: odd little book about adolescence and first loves with a few gangsters thrown in.Well, this book was an experience, I can definitely say that. It had such an odd jumble of ideas within it that somehow didn’t quite work in cohesion with each other.The Butterfly Tattoo was written three years before Pullman’s famous book, Northern Lights/The Golden Compass. While there are significant glimpses into his brilliant writing in this earlier novel, it is far more patchy and a little harder to find. There are some remarkably insightful observations throughout about the growing pains of adolescence, the reality of honesty and the naivety of first loves. In a few cases I stopped just to reread a sentence three or four times to take it in. On the other hand, there is also a lot of painfully tedious writing in The Butterfly Tattoo that has the potential to send even the most enthusiastic reader to sleep. You’d think it would be hard to make such a short book drag, but it certainly happens in places.Another issue I had with this book was the plot, apart from the opening chapter the novel moved slowly with several bits of unneeded filler. I think one of the key reasons for this issue was the first sentence of the book: ‘Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm Oxford night in early June.’ While I loved this as an intriguing and ominous start to the novel, it meant that I as the reader knew what was going to happen before it actually did. This probably explains in part why everything seemed to flow so slowly, it was as if I was waiting around for the prediction to come true, making me care less about the everyday intricacies in-between. On the other hand, one element that did impress me was the number of interesting themes and ideas that Pullman tackled. I felt at it’s heart, this story was about the corruption of innocence. Chris starts off as a young chirpy teen full of hope, and in the course of the novel he becomes aware of how many people close to him often lie and cheat, that the truth is rarely black and white and not everyone is who he believes them to be. I found the characters in this book quite frustrating. I enjoyed reading about them to a point because they were used to tackle the interesting themes, but mostly they felt like stereotypes. Pullman gives just about enough depth to pull it off, but it’s a thin line and they could have used some further development. I also felt bizarrely detached from the characters while reading, which meant I felt impartial about what happened to them at the end of the book.So, that about sums up my reading experience of The Butterfly Tattoo. My honest opinion? Probably more of a miss than a hit, although I did enjoy aspects of the novel.

  • Joey Woolfardis
    2018-12-29 17:15

    Chris meets Jenny on a warm Oxford night and falls instantly in love, but he knows nothing about her and can't seem to find her again in the sleepy English city. His boss, meanwhile, had acquired a love nest and is employing Chris to do it up, little knowing that it's actually a hide away from some ruthless London gangsters... Philip Pullman is a wonderful writer and His Dark Materials series is still one of my favourites, but this was a huge disappointment. It was written well, but the plot and characters were just so flat and boring it seemed the 186 pages would never end. The blurb gives you a very definite but blurred detailing of the plot, which was slow and rather droll.I believe this was his first ever novel, however, and that kind of makes sense. There is the and writing ability shining through the murky gaps, but it's obviously the first. He definitely learnt from this, though.Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Shop | Etsy

  • Laura J
    2019-01-14 15:07

    This book wasn't bad, but I don't think it was up to par with the rest of Philip Pullman's work. I absolutely love His Dark Materials and Sally Lockhart, but I didn't find The White Mercedes as, well, good as those. Maybe it's just me and my dislike of romance novels, but I didn't think it was all that compelling or interesting. Although the parts about Barry Miller's connection with a vengeful criminal was fun. I didn't mind the romance so much in His Dark Materials or Sally Lockhart, I guess because it wasn't just an everyday fling, like The White Mercedes seemed. The only difference between whatever was happening between Chris and Jenny and "just an everyday fling" was that Jenny died at the end, whereas the romance in the other two was different and one could care about it. I don't know, I guess the reason I didn't find The White Mercedes all that interesting was because I just didn't care.

  • Melissa
    2019-01-01 13:10

    I really wanted to like this book. I love the His Dark Materials series (warts and all) and was happy to pick this up for a dollar at the thrift store and give it a whirl. I figured I could read it and then add it to my classroom library. (No go on that, by the way - the sex scene makes this inappropriate for my middle schoolers.)I did like pieces of it - the first line was intriguing, other bits and pieces of his writing made me really happy. I could see him working out bits of ideas that would be fleshed out and fully realized later in His Dark Materials, like Carson's speech to Chris about eating the fruit of knowledge in the Garden of Eden and choosing wisdom and knowledge and pain over innocence. Overall though I was a bit disappointed. There was more telling than showing in many places and the ending was incredibly dissatisfying. I saw the Romeo and Juliet references coming but I couldn't enjoy them. Depressing.

  • Petergiaquinta
    2019-01-11 10:45

    Published three years before The Golden Compass, this short mystery/thriller takes a look at some of the same themes and elements that Pullman reworks to much stronger effect throughout the Dark Materials trilogy: Oxford, the uselessness of adults, lying, innocence and sin, the Garden motif...Alas, there are no talking polar bears here, and quite frankly the novel really clunks along in places. Maybe Pullman wasn't trying as hard in this shorter book--parts of the novel feel just tossed off--or perhaps he had a better editor three years later, but The White Mercedes lacks much of the cleverness and creepiness that makes The Golden Compass and its sequels so compelling. Nonetheless, this book reads quickly; it's better than most Young Adult fare, and although not as much as The Dark Materials, it too contains a subversive element lacking in most Young Adult reading. I'm not sure many young readers will catch on to the crushing irony of the final paragraph!

  • Scarlette Thorn
    2019-01-03 15:50

    I confess; I gave up. life's too short to read books you can't stand. The only reason I gave this 2 stars instead of 1 is the language, and because it's Philip Pullman, who has my deep respect for "His Dark Materials" which are some of my favourite books. When it comes to fantasy, Pullman has nailed it. But thriller? no. three-quarters of the way through and I still felt no liking for any of the characters, they were written as though we were looking at them in a fish tank, so you didn't feel any connection or affection for them at all. Plus, I got lost. So many stories were made about Barry Miller I forgot which one was true. I guess that's purposeful but for me it just made the book unenjoyable and meant I wasn't gripped or pulled into the chaos of the book like I wanted to be. In conclusion, I feel let down, and I put that in reviews a lot more than I like.

  • Yun Zhen
    2019-01-11 10:03

    It was definitely not as spectacular as I expected it would be at the beginning, there were enough times I was more than willing to put down the book for good. But as all books, we can only judge it at the end. There were a lot of details, not unnecessary, that I didn't understand, perhaps out of context for me, what with mafias and armies and loads of made-up scenarios to make the story more fleshy and realistic. But it got quite thrilling towards the middle once you get a sense of how Pullman is trying to pull it all together and when you see the parts all coming together, you really cannot wait for the ending anymore, which came mercifully quick. Although not as fantastic or mindblowing as I would have expected of Pullman, it doesn't disappoint much either.

  • Kirsty Shark
    2018-12-26 15:49

    This book was pointless. The tagline made me want to read it - "Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm Oxford night in early June". It was supposed to be a tragic story that explores the concepts of truth and trust, I think. It missed the mark for me. The writing was way too simplistic, it felt like a bad attempt to write for young people. The plot wasn't much better and I think it could have gone a lot darker and deeper into its themes. Pullman's meant to be a really good writer so I'll give him another try at some point. Maybe this was one of his dodgier early works or maybe I just didn't get the style or the genre. Either way it just seemed like a bit of an empty, pointless read for me. Disappointing.

  • Allie
    2019-01-16 11:11

    After not enjoying "His Dark Materials" that much I didn't have much hope for this one. But it was a nice - even though short - read. "Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm Oxford night in early June" - the first sentence of the novel already tells you how it is all going to end. The only question is: How is he going to kill her? For me that was enough suspense for such a short book. I found myself wondering as I learned how they met eachother how he would play into her death. I loved the clear cross reference to the history of creation and the Garden Eden. It was one of my favorite parts in the book (plus I used it for a presentation in college). Pullman spoke real truth here.

  • Johanna
    2018-12-30 14:56

    I had never heard of The butterfly tattoo before, until a couple of weeks ago when we began reading it in english class, at school. I had no expectations, and didn’t know anything about it really, except that it was Philip Pullman - the author behind The golden compass - who had written it. So, the book was good, but sadly, there isn’t more to it than that. I felt no kind of connections to the characters, and the whole book was just a retelling of the first sentence of it. Both the story and the characters were a bit flat, but they could have been so much more (!) if they’d only been worked on/and developed further!

  • Dora
    2018-12-17 08:54

    2.5 stars.A thoroughly underwhelming novel from the much herelded author Philip Pullman, that in terms of magic draws closer to his The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ than the superb His Dark Materials trilogy.Set in Oxford, it follows the story of teen Chris and his relationship with wayward Jenny, whilst he carries out a job for his boss with a shady past. It's easy to read and sometimes compelling, and the ending earns it an extra half star, but it's by no means a masterpiece, and feels like it has more potential to it than what was delivered. A disappointing read, but not a tradegy.

  • Sonja Isaacson
    2019-01-12 16:08

    OK, not great. I had read a review by a girl who says she cries whenever she reads it. Sure, I've got a book or two like that, but this is SO not one of them. I'm also not sure how many would relate to it... though abused girls and boys of divorced parents need their own protagonists I suppose and not just Janice Dickinson and... well now I can't think of a famous guy with divorced parents. I'm sure there are a number of actors with such families though. Plus, the tattoo is only mentioned once which to me doesn't make it significant enough to be the title.

  • Emily
    2018-12-19 16:04

    I'm pretty sure this was supposed to be two books, but for some reason Pullman decided to throw the love story and the crime thriller together into one book. The love story was moderately entertaining, but the crime drama consisted of LONG passages of the criminal telling various versions of his story - by the third time he started talking, I started skimming, because none of the stories was particularly interesting. Also, my copy of the book had a blurb on the back that gave away the ending, so I spent the whole book anticipating what should have been an unexpected ending. Boo all around.

  • readmuchrunfar
    2018-12-18 13:58

    This had all the building blocks of a tragedy, including the inexorable feeling that no matter what decisions the characters made, they were already trapped by fate into a tragic outcome. Still, some of those decisions did seem contrived. I also admit I was thrown by the sex scene. I thought it was a pretty good sex scene really, but I started reading what I thought was a standard YA novel, so I was just a little surprised.

  • Curiousity
    2018-12-24 12:14

    I have to say when I read the back of the book I expected something completely different from the author. I guess it is probably my fault when the book didn't give me what I wanted.It was still a pretty good book that didn't have a typical storyline. Unfortunately for me I felt that the book fell short of being a brilliant read as I usually feel Pullman's books are. I guess the only thing that got me through the book was how Pullman writes and that is one thing that'll draw you in. :)

  • Laura
    2019-01-15 16:59

    The White Mercedes is a slowly unwinding suspense/mystery for young adults. While the plot holes and the brooding pace may frustrate some readers, it's a dark and bleak sort of noir novel that kept me very captivated up until the end. It reminded me very much of a Coen Brothers movie in its mood. Recommended for older teens (there are definitely some more mature parts to this book than one might expect) who prefer the dark and twisted to happily ever after.

  • Rianna (RiannaBlok)
    2019-01-10 13:53

    A lot of people don't like this book. I wouldn't be that harsh. The book is easy to read and has a nice build up. Towards the end I was capable of guessing the plot, but the plot wasn't obvious from the beginning. All in all it was a pleasant read, but I wouldn't re-read it. (I have enough other books to read)

  • Malia
    2018-12-29 17:11

    Firstly, no it is not at all like His Dark Materials. It's a quick read, well structured and with decent characters. It's suspenseful and fast paced. I felt it had the same sort of feel as a bbc crime drama, with a hint of the Romeo and Juliet brand of tragic romance. Overall, I thought it was simple and effective, but it lacks any lasting impression.

  • Jacoline Maes
    2018-12-19 10:54

    I tried to read this book several times, but I never got through it. I loved Pullman's His dark materials, but unfortunately I couldn't find the magic I felt in those books in The butterfly tattoo. The writing style did nothing for me, while in his books about Lyra everything he described was so easy to imagine.

  • Melissa
    2019-01-13 12:09

    This book struck me, ultimately, as convoluted and just sort of ugly. Though I liked the main female character, and her story was at least somewhat engaging, the primary character was just kind of bland. I appreciate a novel that dares to have an unhappy ending, but this one felt more cynical than poignant.

  • craige
    2019-01-12 09:11

    It's definitely YA, and it's nowhere near as good as the Golden Compass, but it's not bad. It would have satisfied that part of me when I was 14 that enjoyed reading about people who are misunderstood or to whom bad things happen. Jeff gave me this book, but I think he would understand if I gave it away. So, if you want it, let me know.

  • Piee
    2018-12-25 12:14

    Compared to Pullman's other works, this novel is weak and lacked character depth. The characters didn't grow on me and I didn't feel much empathy for them during the sad moments. The plot didn't engage me and it felt rather flat. The climax of the story was predictable and I was disappointed by the lack of creativity with this story.