Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass

'The Golden Compass' (or 'Northern Lights' as the version I read was titled) is the first book of Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy. It's the story of Lyra Belacqua, who spends most of her time playing around the Oxford college where she lives. But her playmates are being kidnapped, and her decision to rescue them draws her into much wider conflicts. Pullman shows such inventiveness in creating a new world for his story that it's sometimes hard to put the book down. But Pullman's books haven't had the same kind of bestselling success as some other books of a similar genre. I think part of the reason for this is that Pullman isn't really sure who he is writing for.

Lyra is around twelve years old, and the action in the book suggests that this is sort of age it is aimed at. But Pullman seems to have a negative take on a lot of things - religion, science, parenting, and I think this would make me wary of giving it as a gift to someone of that age. There's also a lot of nostalgia for a bygone age, implying an older audience. I think if I had read it when I was twelve then I would have found it very confusing. But if you are an older reader who has realised that some children's books don't seem so childish after all then you should give Pullman's work a try. info
Mass Market Paperback 368 pages  
ISBN: 0440238137
Salesrank: 69708
Published: 2003 Laurel Leaf
Amazon price $7.19
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Paperback 416 pages  
ISBN: 0590660543
Salesrank: 372123
Weight:0.66 lbs
Published: 1998 Scholastic Point
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Mass Market Paperback 368 pages  
ISBN: 0440238137
Salesrank: 332740
Weight:0.35 lbs
Published: 2003 Laurel Leaf
Amazon price CDN$ 11.49
Marketplace:New from CDN$ 7.90:Used from CDN$ 0.01
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Product Description

***** THE BOOK OF DUST, the long-awaited new novel from Philip Pullman set in the world of His Dark Materials, has been hailed by the New York Times as "a stunning achievement."*****

The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steall—including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.

But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other...

A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which continues with The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.

A #1 New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
Published in 40 Countries

"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years."  —The Washington Post

"Very grand indeed." —The New York Times

"Pullman is quite possibly a genius." —Newsweek