Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford’s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however,nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called “Gobblers”—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person’s inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.
I first watched the movie version of this in 2007. As most of you know, it is now 2013. Almost seven years have passed since I first watched the movie The Golden Compass. I didn’t even know that this was a book, I just knew that I adored the movie. Approximately in the fall of 2010, three years after the movie came out, I read this book.
When I finished the book, I was amazed. I read that book over and over again. I loved the rich suspense of it all, the introduction to the darkest realms of the science fiction and fantasy world. The characters are what really struck me in this book. I loved the witch Serafina Pekkala, who has got to be the awesomest witch ever.
She can fly, for one thing. And she’s not a ninny with warts and black cats who has to hunch over her cauldron all day just to get her powers working. Pretty much immortal, too. Oh yeah, and she’s an amazing archer who has a tragic story of having to watch the man she loves die. (He’s not immortal).
I recently saw the movie Hansel and Gretel, Witch Hunters, so that put me in the mood to read this book again just to see Serafina in all her glory once more. (The movie was good, by the way. It wasn’t my favorite Jeremy Renner movie, but it was a lot of fun. I still think it could’ve been rated PG-13). Even though I see see some short-comings in this book now, this book and trilogy still rocks–in my opinion. Highly recommended. 4.1 stars.
pg count for the hardback: 409
Series: His Dark Materials