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Reviews of Golden Compass, the (1995)

Review by lynxdaemonskye (2006-06-06)
I absolutely loved this book (and the rest of the trilogy).
The best part is the idea of daemons. Daemons are like a physical manifestation of your soul, though outside of your body. They take the form of animals, and when you're young, they can change shape with your emotions. As one matures, the daemons settle as the animal you're most like.
The characters have wonderful personalites. I loved reading about how deliciously wicked Lyra is as she runs through the streets of Oxford with the other children.
Philip Pullman has said that these books speak out against the evil things organized religion has done, in the name of religion, in our past. Not just one religion--all religions. He is not against the idea of religion by itself, but what people do to other people because they do not have the same beliefs. I am Catholic, and I don't take offense to anything in these books.
When rereading this book, I have noticed that it seems a little slow until Lyra leaves Mrs. Coulter. If you aren't getting into the book yet, wait until you get past that part!
Lyra's world is wonderfully thought out, and you'll be caught up in her travels with all of her unusual friends.
I'm tempted to tell you everything that's so great about this book, but I'd get into spoilers... I'll just give you a list here: witches, armored bears, gyptians, mysterious disappearances, intrigue, suspense... Oh, just go read it!

To follow up on a previous review--there is still a movie in the works, set to be released in 2007, though it seems likely to fall into 2008. It will not be directed by Peter Jackson, but New Line Cinema (the production company behind LOTR) is producing this movie. It will no longer be shortened into two movies.

Review by danipoo27 (2004-09-14)
although it takes a bit to get to the good part, as soon as you're there you fly through the book. Overall, its a great read. You learn to love Lyra, and Pan. Pullman creates the beginning of a very powerful plot.

Review by Bluegirl11375 (2004-07-07)
The book first appeals to all readers because of Lyra's simple innocent character that we all have forgotten in our past. Her daemon is what the present American would call an imaginary friend, but really represent a part of us that we have left, like Lyra left her daemon in the third book. This is like a story of our life, from when we were like the heartless Lyra growing up to learn more while abadoning some. As we follow her trial, we get a sense of self realization. Things are never the same. One day, everything means this and the next day, everything is the opposite. This happens to Lyra many times throughout the series, and while she goes through these tough changes, we can cheer ourselves on through our journeys.

Review by Jago360 (2004-03-27)
I'm tempted to call this book a poor man's "Harry Potter." While not a bad story overall, nothing in the plot made me really want to finish the book to find out what happens. I admit that I have not read the other two books in the series, but that's because the "The Golden Compass" gave me little incentive to do so.

Some people seem to find this story anti-Catholic. I personally disagree...I think what Pullman is criticizing is the power of the church and the danger of using its power excessively. While I don't believe this is happening in the real world (I'm Catholic, by the way), I can understand Pullman's concern.

Therein lies another caveat of the book - it tries to mix political and religious elements into what is essentially a fairly simple story. I don't think that works very well...give us one or the other, not both, unless you're a truly remarkable writer.

Review by lozzina (2004-01-22)
this book is called Northern Lights in england. slow start but absolutely brilliant!

Review by Ranic (2003-07-17)
The Golden Compass is the first book in a wonderful fantasy series. The storyline has quite a few underlying themes that may be apparant to adults, creating an easy-reading intellectual experience, while children can enjoy it at face value.

The book left me speechless. I think the story panders to both children and adults and Pullman's writing style flows very well, creating a quick, but interesting read. It's not the typical sword vs. sword, spell vs. spell type fantasy novel, but more of a curious alternate reality, which he delves into deeply throughout the trilogy.

Review by RicDod (2003-04-08)
I read this book in three days, which as I have a full time job, I think is quite good going. I found it very difficult to put down as I always wanted to find out what happened in the next chapter. It is more than just a brilliant read, it actually has something to say about the nature of humanity and the bonds between children and their parents.

Review by MaLuoDan (2003-03-09)
This is a great book and a pretty good series, not just for kids but for adults as well.

Review by coranon (2003-03-09)
A wonderful start to a wonderful series. Rumors abound about a movie in 2005, directed by LOTR's Peter Jackson. The series movie is supposedly done in two parts. Nonetheless and regardless, this is a strong book for readers of any age. The underlying church vs. science argument runs brilliantly throughout it.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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