Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Golden compass

by Philip Pullman

The Golden compass is not a new book, but it is one that I have only just read. Since there is a big-budget movie being filmed now, I suspect that the His Dark Materials series will be of interest again very soon.

I found the Golden compass to be very difficult to begin. I started it several times and ended up putting it down before I was finished with the first chapter. This time I determined to stick with it, and I'm very glad I did. Once I was truly invested in the story I found I was hooked!

Lyra is an orphan girl living at Jordan College in Oxford England. She has been allowed to roam free, picking up an eclectic variety of book learning and an extensive street education. Her life begins to change one night when she hides in a closet and witnesses a meeting that is not intended for her eyes and ears. The things she learns that evening catapult her into an incredible adventure, crossing Arctic regions and meeting talking bears, gypsies, witches, and evil humans. Ultimately it is her fate to save the world as she knows it.

Thus begins the His Dark Materials Trilogy. Pullman introduces us to a world very much like our own, yet different enough to feel new and strange. His prose is powerful and beautiful, and worth a chance.

Although Lyra is not a teen, I think that this trilogy would most appeal to older teens and adults. It tackles complex issues and requires thoughtful reading.


1 comment:

  1. Just wanted to follow up on this post. It's true that this book has been around for quite some time, but it still remains unknown to many people. If you are one of these people, READ IT NOW!

    I am relunctant to say this, but it is the BEST book I have ever had the pleasure of reading (this includes Harry Potter!).

    The movie will attract a lot of attention to this book, though I fear some of it will be negative. If you thought the Harry Potter book burning parties were bad...

    I can't remember where I heard the following, but it's been said that this book is a fantasy/sci-fi children's version of "Paradise Lost." There is a strong presence of anti-organised religion, not to mention characters such as daemons, witches and agels, and subtly addresses topics such as original sin, homosexuality, sexuality, and more... definitely a title that should be kept in YA, not Junior.

    Having said this, there are many younger readers that will enjoy this book. They do not have the "educated imagination" to read the multiple layers, but they will become instant fans (especially if they liked Harry and LOTR).

    Ok, enough rambling... can you tell that I am passionate about this book? And I absolutely CANNOT wait for the movie!!!