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The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
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The Golden Compass (1995)

by Philip Pullman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: His Dark Materials (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,74053445 (4.1)2 / 700
  1. 3413
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (Patangel)
  2. 150
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (staram)
  3. 153
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (sturlington)
  4. 2211
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (Patangel)
  5. 166
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
    Leishai: Also a story about fantasy with another world
  6. 114
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  7. 40
    Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (Kerian)
  8. 40
    The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (StefanY)
  9. 52
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (bibliovermis)
  10. 41
    The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs (timspalding)
  11. 52
    A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle (Anonymous user)
  12. 31
    The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (Aleana)
  13. 20
    The Witches of Willowmere by Alison Baird (mene)
    mene: "The Willowmere Chronicles" series includes daemons, but focusing more on the Ancient Greek version. "His Dark Materials" series has a parallel world where everyone has a daemon, but in a different way than the daemons in the Willowmere Chronicles.
  14. 53
    Paradise Lost by John Milton (Jannes)
  15. 53
    The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (VictoriaPL)
  16. 31
    Pavane by Keith Roberts (timspalding)
  17. 10
    Stravaganza: City of Masks by Mary Hoffman (Jannes)
    Jannes: Similar themes: parallel worlds, dimension-traveling youths, splendid cities... Pullman's work is, in my opinion, far superior, but both are worth checking out if you like this sort of thing.
  18. 21
    Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (SunnySD)
  19. 32
    Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Jannes)
    Jannes: Epic and awe-inspiring and steampunk-ish... also surprisingly complex characters and moral ambiguity for a YA novel - just like HDM
  20. 10
    Cold Magic by Kate Elliot (Jen448)

(see all 26 recommendations)

1990s (5)
Unread books (1,094)
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English (511)  Danish (6)  French (4)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (531)
Showing 1-5 of 511 (next | show all)
There probably isn't anything that I could say that has not already been said about The Golden Compass, but I will still marvel about this imaginative, beautiful story about clever kids, breathtaking sceneries, heartbreakingly loyal creatures and Dan Brown's worth of conspiracies.

The book is divided into three parts: at the beginning we see Lyra's life as it has been her whole childhood, plus we get a bunch of cryptic messages about her future and destiny. The second part is all about Lyra setting North and saving the kidnapped children. Finally, the third part is about her reaching Lord Asriel. And if the first part screamed carefree, happy, wild and free, later on we see how much Lyra has grown up during her journey. Plus, I always like a kid who asks gazillion questions and can talk their way out of everything.

The Golden Compass is a magical story I cannot wait to read more of. ( )
  v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
I don't know where to start... that was a piece of awful fiction. I should have known this wouldn't pan out when I hear the author in an interview stating that he wrote the book as a secular counter to J.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. That is a terrible way to create literature; trying to parrot someone else's master piece using an alternate philosophy.

The narrative was horrible and the dialog atrocious but the worst thing of all was the stupidly contrived theology. I am so glad that I never watched the movie because now I don't have to. I'm not sure what genre this belongs in but I am quite sure that it was a complete waste of my time. ( )
  jimocracy | Apr 18, 2015 |
One Amazon reviewer called The Golden Compass Harry Potter on Training Wheels. I'm not a big reader of Young Adult fiction, having only read the first Harry Potter, but I concur with this statement. The Golden Compass is dense and philosophical in a way that the HP novels are not. Lyra lives in a parallel earth whose history and geography are recognizable (many places and events are real) yet also is populated by intelligent warrior bears, witches, daemons (animal soul mates attached to each human who are mutable through childhood and eventually take on a permanent animal form). The Golden Compass sometimes gets weighted down by heavy metaphysical discussions of strange Catholic like religious orders, boards, and the mysterious dust which may or may not be the root of evil and unhappiness. But at its core its a coming of age odyssey of a young, tough, and smart girl named Lyra. It kept my ten year old son (and me) captivated and he can't wait to enter the new world that Lyra is embarking on in book two. ( )
  OccassionalRead | Mar 10, 2015 |
I really enjoyed this series - though I preferred the first one just a bit more. I found the characters interesting, and the whole idea fascinating... his version of the multi-verse is rather neat. I have my complaints about the books (I always do), but overall, these are keepers in my library. ( )
  KVHardy | Jan 2, 2015 |
(6.7)
  mshampson | Jan 1, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 511 (next | show all)
As always, Pullman is a master at combining impeccable characterizations and seamless plotting, maintaining a crackling pace to create scene upon scene of almost unbearable tension. This glittering gem will leave readers of all ages eagerly awaiting the next installment of Lyra's adventures.
added by Shortride | editPublishers Weekly
 

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Philip Pullmanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Astrologo, MarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beck, IanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooks, TerryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rohmann, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrescasana, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tutino, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Into this wild abyss,
The womb of nature and perhaps her grave,
Of neither sea, not shore, nor air, nor fire,
But all these in their pregnant causes mixed
Confusedly, and which thus must ever fight,
Unless the almighty maker them ordain,
His dark materials to create more worlds,
Into this wild abyss the wary fiend
Stood on the brink of hell and looked a while,
Pondering his voyage...


     -- John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II
Dedication
First words
Lyra and her dæmon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.
Quotations
We are all subject to the fates. But we must all act as if we are not...or die of despair.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
'The Golden Compass' was originally published in Britain, Australia and elsewhere as 'Northern Lights'
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
In a universe somewhat like our own, children are beginning to disappear from cities around England. For Lyra Belacqua, a half-wild orphan girl living at Jordan College, Oxford, the kidnappings are just another excuse for games, battles and tall stories - until her best friend Roger is reported missing. Vowing to rescue him, Lyra embarks upon a journey to the savage North, where physicists and theologians alike are conducting controversial research into the nature of something known only as 'Dust'. Apart from her friends the gyptians, her only guide is a curious golden instrument called an alethiometer. If she is to survive her ordeal, she will have to learn to interpret its cryptic and peculiar messages. 432
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0440418321, Paperback)

Some books improve with age--the age of the reader, that is. Such is certainly the case with Philip Pullman's heroic, at times heart-wrenching novel, The Golden Compass, a story ostensibly for children but one perhaps even better appreciated by adults. The protagonist of this complex fantasy is young Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Oxford University. But it quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own--nor is her world. For one thing, people there each have a personal daemon, the manifestation of their soul in animal form. For another, hers is a universe in which science, theology, and magic are closely allied:
As for what experimental theology was, Lyra had no more idea than the urchins. She had formed the notion that it was concerned with magic, with the movements of the stars and planets, with tiny particles of matter, but that was guesswork, really. Probably the stars had daemons just as humans did, and experimental theology involved talking to them.
Not that Lyra spends much time worrying about it; what she likes best is "clambering over the College roofs with Roger the kitchen boy who was her particular friend, to spit plum stones on the heads of passing Scholars or to hoot like owls outside a window where a tutorial was going on, or racing through the narrow streets, or stealing apples from the market, or waging war." But Lyra's carefree existence changes forever when she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, first prevent an assassination attempt against her uncle, the powerful Lord Asriel, and then overhear a secret discussion about a mysterious entity known as Dust. Soon she and Pan are swept up in a dangerous game involving disappearing children, a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon, a trip to the far north, and a set of allies ranging from "gyptians" to witches to an armor-clad polar bear.

In The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman has written a masterpiece that transcends genre. It is a children's book that will appeal to adults, a fantasy novel that will charm even the most hardened realist. Best of all, the author doesn't speak down to his audience, nor does he pull his punches; there is genuine terror in this book, and heartbreak, betrayal, and loss. There is also love, loyalty, and an abiding morality that infuses the story but never overwhelms it. This is one of those rare novels that one wishes would never end. Fortunately, its sequel, The Subtle Knife, will help put off that inevitability for a while longer. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:03:41 -0400)

(see all 10 descriptions)

Accompanied by her daemon, Lyra Belacqua sets out to prevent her best friend and other kidnapped children from becoming the subject of gruesome experiments in the Far North.

» see all 19 descriptions

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