The His Dark Materials books (Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass) are indeed interesting. They're a fantasy series for young adults, though much more original and, indeed, fantastic than the usual wizards-and-dragons-and-gnomes stuff. Oh, and then there's the notorious humanist subtext, so not found in the post-C.S.Lewis world of fantasy. Which is quite refreshing.
Rumour has it that the minor villain in the second Harry Potter book (the charlatan magician) was a backhanded reference to Philip Pullman; J.K. Rowling, you see, is a devout Christian and an admirer of C.S. Lewis, whom Pullman denounced in a Guardian article as "racist and sexist", among other things.
>J.K. Rowling, you see, is a devout Christian and an admirer of C.S. Lewis,
I didn't know about that part. Doesn't lend much support to some peoples' theories that J.K. Rowling was contracted by the Satanic conspiracy to corrupt young minds.
Mainstream Christianity seems quite positive on Rowling (the Pope and Anglican (ObUS: Episcopalian) leaders, for example, are on record as approving of Harry Potter). Mind you, those who believe that Harry Potter is a Satanic plot probably believe that the Pope is the Antichrist, or a servant thereof, and are probably well beyond the reach of anything resembling common sense.