The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: A far more detailed and extensive alternate universe than I’ve seen in a while. I can’t decide what time period it’s supposed to take place in, as there are guns and telephones and arrows and zeppelins. Perhaps it’s a sort of steampunk. Anyway, every person has a daemon, which is in the form of an animal, and is more or less their soul. Scholars have discovered a new elementary particle, referred to as “Dust,” and it is causing quite a stir. When Lyra’s best friend Roger is kidnapped by the mysterious Gobblers, she and her daemon must journey north to rescue him. Lyra is a charming, if brash, little girl and the characters she meets are marvelous. I really enjoyed this one, and am a little sad I can’t rush off to read the next in the series, as the ending leads right into it.

I came into this expecting something somewhat controversial but didn’t really find anything. I can almost see the bristling of the Catholic Church over this – except at the very beginning of the book there is mention of Pope John Calvin, implying that the Church of this book doesn’t particularly resemble the real one. But oh well, some people get quite bored unless they have something to be offended by.

The original title of this book was Northern Lights, which is far more fitting, as the item to which I assume the title is referring is not a compass at all. Publishers are funny things.

  1. I highly recommend the full cast audio versions as well. The movie… not so much considering what they did to the ending (but I own it if you want to borrow it). The allusions to the Church are more strongly made in the next books. But it doesn’t bother me and I agree with you about the reaction. I hope you enjoy the next book as much– my favorite character comes in during the next book *G*

    • I listened to the full cast audio. Good stuff. I’ll probably check out the movie eventually just because I’m always curious to see how filmmakers interpret books I’ve read, but I always take it with a grain of salt. It didn’t do too well with the critics IIRC.

  2. I did not read this book but watched the movie. I enjoyed the movie but maybe that would not be so if I read the book first.

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