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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Amazing
This first instalment of the His Dark Materials Trilogy is the best book in the trilogy. The characterization is beautiful, something that is unsual in fantasy novels. So many fantasy novels are original, but lack imagery and characterization. This book will not dissapoint- perhaphs one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written.
Published on March 11 2006 by luv2read

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely Boring
This book was completely boring to me. It was well written, but I formed no attachment to the characters except perhaps, the polar bear. The plot was a little better, but I found myself skimming pages.
The basic plot: Lyra is a girl who lives in a world where everyone has a daemon. A daemon is like an companion that is connected to a person though some special...
Published on Nov. 15 2000


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Amazing, March 11 2006
This first instalment of the His Dark Materials Trilogy is the best book in the trilogy. The characterization is beautiful, something that is unsual in fantasy novels. So many fantasy novels are original, but lack imagery and characterization. This book will not dissapoint- perhaphs one of the greatest fantasy novels ever written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Completely Boring, Nov. 15 2000
By A Customer
This book was completely boring to me. It was well written, but I formed no attachment to the characters except perhaps, the polar bear. The plot was a little better, but I found myself skimming pages.
The basic plot: Lyra is a girl who lives in a world where everyone has a daemon. A daemon is like an companion that is connected to a person though some special bond. There seems to be a conspiracy afoot that involves Lyra's uncle and the scholars at Oxford University. Lyra's best friend is kidnapped along with other children. Lyra sets out to find her friend.
...The plot continues from there, and seems very dark and serious. There is murder and violence, but I was so uninterested in the book, that I hardly felt it. I don'tthink that this should be listed as a children's book, but I don't think that children(or adults) will find this interesting at all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Amazing Book!!!!!!!, Feb. 1 2005
By A Customer
This is one of my favourite books of all time and I truthfully do not understand half the things people have written about it. For all those offended religious people this is JUST A BOOK! Just because someone says things about the church that you do not agree with does not mean it is a bad book. I am christian but that does not change my perception at all. My best friend is an extremely strong catholic and she is tearing through these books at top speed. It is just a book! Also, Lyra is my favourite character of all time and I cried for a month after I finished the Amber Spyglass because I felt like she had left me. For those who think she is bratty, what do you expect from someone whohas been practically ignored her whole life? By the way, she is 12, not 11. Besides, she really grows as a character over the course of the novel. Another thing: I do not understand why no one has mentioned the brilliant creation of daemons. After reading these books I spent a year wishing for one! The first half of this book is not boring and the second half makes you bust into tear every ten pages.
This book is the most beautifully written book I have ever read and my mom agrees. My mom is book reviewer and she says that its only flaw is the end. However, there are two other books that come after so the end doesn't really matter.
I am telling you to dismiss all the reviews that diss the Golden Compass and read it as soon as you get the chance.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite pleasant., June 28 2004
By 
This is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy (before The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass).
Set at the turn of the twentieth century in an alternate Europe where everyone is inseparable from their animal daemons, shape-changers that only settle at puberty, this is the story of Lyra Belacqua (and her daemon Pantalaimon), a teenage orphan girl living in Oxford College in charge of her powerful uncle, Lord Asriel.
Being a curious little girl, Lyra hears lots of gossip in the old halls. Some, about Dust, as well as pictures of a mysterious floating city in the aurora, make her dream of travelling North on one of her uncle's expeditions. But soon she also hears rumours of children, mainly from Gyptian families, who have started to mysteriously disappear, lured and captured by what people call the "Gobblers".
And when her playmate Roger the kitchen boy is kidnapped, she's desperate. But at the same time arrives Mrs. Coulter, an elegant and fascinatingly intelligent woman, who wants to take Lyra to her school in London. Believing that she'll learn more about Dust and maybe travel North with her, she soon becomes Mrs. Coulter's protégée. Until she realizes that the woman is none other than the head of the General Oblation Board of London, in other words the "Gobblers", and runs away.
The rest of the story tells how Lyra finally travels to Lapland, setting out in search of Roger and the other missing children with the help of the Gyptians, with whom she first takes refuge, of Panserborne (armoured bears) and witch-queens, and of the alethiometer, a strange compass-like device that reveals the truth to anyone who can read it, which the Master of Oxford College secretly gave her just before she left. Little by little, she'll become caught up in the adults' intricate powerplay.
I liked Northern Lights (US title: The Golden Compass), and found it quite pleasant to read, but I wasn't overly captivated by it. I was moved by Lyra's friendship with Iorek Byrnison, an exiled Panserborne, and deeply shocked, appalled, when I discovered what the "Gobblers" do to the snatched children, but that's about it. Lyra's a tad too temerarious and quick-witted, and in the end, I found her hardly believable. I'm very fond of Pantalaimon though.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quite pleasant., June 28 2004
By 
This is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy (before The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass).
Set at the turn of the twentieth century in an alternate Europe where everyone is inseparable from their animal daemons, shape-changers that only settle at puberty, this is the story of Lyra Belacqua (and her daemon Pantalaimon), a teenage orphan girl living in Oxford College in charge of her powerful uncle, Lord Asriel.
Being a curious little girl, Lyra hears lots of gossip in the old halls. Some, about Dust, as well as pictures of a mysterious floating city in the aurora, make her dream of travelling North on one of her uncle's expeditions. But soon she also hears rumours of children, mainly from Gyptian families, who have started to mysteriously disappear, lured and captured by what people call the "Gobblers".
And when her playmate Roger the kitchen boy is kidnapped, she's desperate. But at the same time arrives Mrs. Coulter, an elegant and fascinatingly intelligent woman, who wants to take Lyra to her school in London. Believing that she'll learn more about Dust and maybe travel North with her, she soon becomes Mrs. Coulter's protégée. Until she realizes that the woman is none other than the head of the General Oblation Board of London, in other words the "Gobblers", and runs away.
The rest of the story tells how Lyra finally travels to Lapland, setting out in search of Roger and the other missing children with the help of the Gyptians, with whom she first takes refuge, of Panserborne (armoured bears) and witch-queens, and of the alethiometer, a strange compass-like device that reveals the truth to anyone who can read it, which the Master of Oxford College secretly gave her just before she left. Little by little, she'll become caught up in the adults' intricate powerplay.
I liked Northern Lights (US title: The Golden Compass), and found it quite pleasant to read, but I wasn't overly captivated by it. I was moved by Lyra's friendship with Iorek Byrnison, an exiled Panserborne, and deeply shocked, appalled, when I discovered what the "Gobblers" do to the snatched children, but that's about it. Lyra's a tad too temerarious and quick-witted, and in the end, I found her hardly believable. I'm very fond of Pantalaimon though.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Open your mind to the beauty of words..., June 26 2004
By 
I've been astounded to read some of the reviews on this book, The Golden Compass. I first read it when I was 12 years old, and now, at 16, I have read it many, many more times. Some of the reviews on here are so obviously from the point of view of a very small-minded christain. i am not christian, in fact I believe there really is no true religion. I embrace the world as it is. In accepting no religion, I have been able to remain a very open minded young woman.
The attacks on this book by religious fanactics are so out there, that it is easy to tell that religion has corrupted the minds of many, many people. This book, no matter what the content, is just a book. The beliefs of the author, Phillip Pullman are his own, and none of you religious types writing in reviews that blatently attack his beliefs, can change what he thinks. When you pick up a bhook keep one thing in mind- Read. Don't judge. Open your mind to something you normally would not accept. But don't attack a person's beliefs, for our beliefs and values are all we can really hold on to as a person- that we can call our own.
I believe there shoudl be no censorship. All of you parents who are saying you don't want your children to read this book are not sheltering them from anything. This book holds no information that they are not going to stumble across on the course of their lives. Please keep only one thing in mind and that is- Read. Don't judge. And especially don't allow your judgements and your views take over the minds of others. Let them read and see for themselves. It doesn't matter if you are tryingt to shelter someone from something you find appalling, something you find to be untrue., you can't hold it back from another person. This is censorship, and without books, without a free range of any book, every book, what kind of people would we be?
Buy this book, and buy many others, for as long as you live- words are more powerful than anything. The Golden Compass is a beautiful story, weaved of stuff stronger than magic. Don't judge it for what its not. Open your mind, and just...read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Joe's Review, June 10 2004
By A Customer
Title: The Golden Compass
Author: Philip Pullman
Genre: Science Fiction
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman is very well written and entertaining. This fantasy about Lyra and Pantalaimon, her daemon, is exciting, scary, and adventurous. It would be horrible if this book didn't win any awards. There is a lot of suspence especially after the chapter when Lyra meets a Gobbler, or her mother, for the first time and doesn't know it's her because Lyra was told her parents were dead. The Gobblers, or the General Oblation Board, take the children to the North where they cut them from their daemons. Lyra meets many friends that are witches, bears, ands Gyptions. They fight evil while she learns about her past and what she must do. Lyra gets the golden compass which is really an alethiometer and has to learn how it works. The alethiometer is a truthmeasure that can answer any question you ask it. Lyra uses her friends and the alethiometer to gain knowledge about her parents who both want to get into the city inside the Northern Lights and eliminate original sin. It all starts when she hides in the retiring room where girls aren't supposed to go and she spies on her father. She sees the Master try to poison her father who is also Lord Asriel. In this exciting novel Lyra gets herself into trouble and almost always gets herself out of it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Eat Your Heart Out Harry!, May 13 2004
This review is from: Northern Lights (Paperback)
I'm reading this book because it(His Dark Matierials) ranked SO highly in The Big Read (number 5).I read it over a couple of days so it's easy to read,compulsive, and good fun.The prose,every paragraph is concise and not as disordered and messy as J.K.Rowlings. NOT as great as the media suggest(so far!).Also I'm forty and this is obviously a childrens book which is why I've maybe been a little generous with the mark.Am I alone also, in thinking Harry Potter can't cut the mustard when up against Lyra?I found it better than the Harry Potter books and, I think ,would have loved it when I was younger.I'm also hoping that it(the whole trilogy) will merit a 5/5 when I've finished.The concept of Daemons/severed children is clever and,emotionally,gives you something to 'hang on to'.I've found with some adult fantasy books that I've read recently that the respective authors really struggle to get you to care that much for characters outside the 'main cast' spectrum.I.E.Although HP's parents are dead,I've read too many of that type of cliche d device for it to really pull me in,though this could be due to age and too much experience again.Reading this,my first childrens book for a year,was very enjoyable but,as I said earlier,I hope for better in the next two volumes.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Some find this a fantasic read but I think it rather slow!, May 11 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Northern Lights (Paperback)
Northern Lights is quite well written however the reader is lost in a weak begining which begins in the action. I don't really like this book.
This essay was written in the classroom.
In Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman, readers meet for the first time 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own - nor is her world. In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal dæmon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely entwined.
Northern Lights is set in a world that parallels ours in many ways, yet very different. In this world lives Lyra, a girl left to be raised amongst the staff and scholars of Jordan College in Oxford, a sprawling mass of gothic buildings, great halls, subterranean passages and secret crypts. Pg 47 'Ancient stone arches rose above them supported by pillars as thick as ten trees...'
What makes Lyra and her kind different and alien to us is that she carries with her a lifelong companion. The companion is the person's daemon, something like a human soul but instead of being unseen it is alive and vibrant, sharing and responding to moods and feelings. Pg 16 "... and Lyra felt the force of his glance almost as if it had physical form, as if it were an arrow or a spear." As a child, Lyra's dæmon Pantalaimon still has not settled to one constant form, and so he changes to suit her mood, desire or situation. Pg 73 "...though Patalaimon wouldn't settle...when he became a hedgehog out of pique.' As she grows up, Lyra's true personality will become apparent, and it is only at this point that Pantalaimon will take on his true form in reflection of this development.
The study of science, theology and magic are very important to these people. The church still holds much of the power, dictating what is and what is not a valid course of scientific study. In doing so, boards are set up to perform scientific research. People who get in the way of the church will be prosecuted. The level of scientific knowledge is similar to ours but more advanced in the spiritual/magical realm.
Overall this book was ok- good enough to read the triology.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The golden compass, May 10 2004
By 
jonathan (Wilmette, IL USA) - See all my reviews
When I began this book I wasn't sure how much I was going to enjoy it, the fantasy genre is one of which I can easily be bored by. Philip Pullman however has writen this book with just the right balance of realism and fantasy so you are kept interested by the witches, armoured bears, and other magical beings but problems can't be solved by the swish of a wand.
Lyra (the main character in the book) is a typical 11 year old girl, so true to life it feels as if you could actually meet her. She gets caught up with an organization taking children up north and doing research with them. Little does Lyra know but she is the key to the destiny of her planet and numerous others. Early on in her travels she recieves a magical golden compass that can answer questions but only lyra can read it. Lyra has a grand adventure leading her to the north full of danger, excitement, courages acts, and brilliant plans. After things are finally coming together their is one more surprise in store for her, one to big for me to give away in this review. This book is definitely a must read for fantasy lovers and even those who aren't that into fantasy would find it a good read. This book is great for teens and many adults would probably enjoy it also.
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The Golden Compass Deluxe Edition by Philip Pullman (Hardcover - Oct. 24 2006)
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