So I thought my last review was not really good. I didn't put much effort into it, but I'll try harder for this one. I will try.
Title: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials #1)
Original title: Northern Lights
Author: Philip Pullman
Year of publication: 1995
Number of pages: 351 (in my paperback-edition at least)
I just finished the Golden Compass
by Philip Pullman, who is awesome, and I'm really pleased with it. The book is really cool, I've read it before, but it's good to read it again.
The book is about Lyra Belacqua (or Lyra Silvertongue) who is a 12-year-old orphan. She's been taken in by a bunch of scholars at Jordan college, which is a part of Oxford University, and they sort of raise her. The action starts when Lyra overhears her uncle, lord Asriel, in the college's retiring room. He talks about Dust and wanting to go North to lead an expedition to look into the Aurora (Northern lights) and Dust. Meanwhile kids in Oxford are disappearing, because they're taken by the Gobblers. She goes to London with a woman named Mrs. Coulter, who is also going North, and she wants to bring Lyra. A lot of action happens and there's so much fun, and Lyra is just really cool.
All the characters in Lyra's Oxford have dæmons, which Pullman describes as their soul. They have this animal friend that always go with them and they know what the other is thinking and they always have someone to talk to. I really like it as a concept because they are never alone.
Lyra is 12 years old and she's an orphan. She's been sort of half raised by the scholars, she's a bit wild and she sort of rules the young servants and children of the servants and they go and fight the children in town and stuff. Lyra is strong, she's a leader, she's tough and she is a good liar. On the flip side she is also vulnerable and she has great honor and integrity. Even if she's tough and she wants to see the cool severed head she also gets scared and horrified when she witnesses something horrible and something that upsets her. She breaks down and cries sometimes as well, and I think Lyra is really great. She isn't very mature, but I think she grows throughout the book, and through the series as well. She tries doing the right thing, and she works hard to save her friends.
Lyra's dæmon is Pantalaimon, and because she's still a child he has the ability to change into whichever animal he wants to be, including a dragon. He is her soul and conscience and he is a really interesting character. He tries to guide Lyra in the right direction, but he also wants to be adventurous.
I also like lord Asriel, he's pragmatic and he's determined, and what he wants makes him come of as quite cruel. He scares me a little, he wants something and he is willing to do anything to get it. I think I feel the same way as Lyra about him, she admires and fears him at the same time.
Mrs. Coulter is really just an awful woman. I mean she's beautifully written and she's exciting, but she's so manipulative and cruel and scary in a way, and she makes me so angry. I think that's a lot to do with Pullman's writing, he's so spectacular.
I think my favorite characters are Lee Scoresby and Serafina Pekkala. They're not main characters, but the minor characters are really cool. Lee Scoresby is a Texan aeronaut, and he is this pragmatic cool dude who is friends with a panserbjørne (armored bear), that is awesome. We don't hear much about Serafina Pekkala, but she's a great, cool witch, I love her. She's a queen and she's exciting, and I want to hear more about her and the witches.
Philip Pullman is an amazing writer. Despite the fact that this is a children's book I really enjoy the story and I enjoy the writing. I like that there's this sort of double voice and it appeals to kids and adults. It's interesting that he has this hidden theme with subtle attacks on the church and God and what Asriel wants, it's really good, and I think Pullman is an amazing writer.
I'm going to give the Golden Compass a big thumbs up, I really like it and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. Yey.