His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights)

by Philip Pullman

I chose to read this book without quite knowing what it was. I’d heard of the series His Dark Materials but somehow thought they were about another boy wizard, and not a curious young girl. I was attracted to the UK title Northern Lights but didn’t really connect that it was one and the same with The Golden Compass. I like the UK title better, by the way, as it’s more accurate and more mysterious.

In any case, it was the movie that made me want to read the books. Oh, I know, the movie’s not out yet, but I’ve seen the trailer, and it looks fantastic.

And so I sat down with the first book and got to know Philip Pullman’s characters, especially spunky Lyra, and his alternative history with great air ships (dirigibles, essentially), and daemon spirit guides, and talking bears, and such. It’s such a richly created world, and the writing is amazing – all the scenes in the arctic felt cold to me, and I kept wishing it wasn’t 90 degrees outside so I could justify sipping hot cocoa while I read.

And now I’m hooked, but I promised myself I wouldn’t read books two and three until I’d finished the rest of my stack.