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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
22,705None53 (4.11)2 / 670
2007 (88) adventure (318) alternate universe (147) British (132) children (201) children's (433) children's fiction (117) children's literature (205) daemons (151) England (116) fantasy (4,194) fiction (2,218) His Dark Materials (769) magic (219) novel (242) own (136) Oxford (116) paperback (86) Philip Pullman (103) read (406) religion (433) science fiction (390) series (399) sff (160) steampunk (155) to-read (203) trilogy (147) YA (494) young adult (900) young adult fiction (105)
1990s (8)
Unread books (1,078)
  1. 3412
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (Patangel)
  2. 150
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (sturlington)
  3. 140
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (staram)
  4. 2210
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) by J. K. Rowling (Patangel)
  5. 165
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
    Leishai: Also a story about fantasy with another world
  6. 113
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  7. 40
    The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (StefanY)
  8. 40
    Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (Kerian)
  9. 52
    A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle (Anonymous user)
  10. 41
    The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs (timspalding)
  11. 52
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (bibliovermis)
  12. 52
    Paradise Lost by John Milton (Jannes)
  13. 53
    The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (VictoriaPL)
  14. 20
    The Witches of Willowmere: Book 1 in the Chronicles of Fairie (Willowmere Chronicles) 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.
  15. 31
    Pavane by Keith Roberts (timspalding)
  16. 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.
  17. 21
    The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (Aleana)
  18. 10
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Aleana)
  19. 10
    Cold Magic by Kate Elliot (Jen448)
  20. 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

(see all 27 recommendations)

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English (490)  Danish (5)  German (3)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (508)
Showing 1-5 of 490 (next | show all)
I loved this book. It was full of adventure and magic. I liked the spunky, free thinking girl. I liked the different concepts of thought. Wouldn't it be nice to have our own piece of soul right where we could talk to it? Love it? ( )
  lsfayne | Apr 16, 2014 |
The Golden Compass tells the story of Lyra who goes on a quest to solve the mystery of disappearing children. The plot is very complicated. People in Lyra's world have animal-like companions that are part of their personality. An evil group is trying to rid the world of these Daemons. This is at the heart of the disappearing children mystery that Lyra must solve. ( )
  aleader | Apr 11, 2014 |
Really enjoyed this trilogy. The world-building and detail in here is amazing. Almost on par with Lord of the Rings, but really, Lord of the Rings is pretty hard to measure up to in terms of world-building. ( )
  linda.temple | Apr 9, 2014 |
Well, I finally got around to starting this series. Even after so many years of this book being out, I still had to go to two different libraries to get a copy. Oh wait, that was because I had just returned this book to the first library, after not having had time to finish it, so that I would not accrue any fines (because I am an upstanding rule-abiding librarian, who admittedly misses the days of unlimited checkouts and no due dates that I enjoyed while working in a public library). As for the book itself, well, of course it was amazing! This weekend I will be picking up Book Two. I do have several comments, though. Stacking this book up against the Harry Potter books and Paolini's Inheritance cycle, I would say that while those books excel in their details, the descriptions of settings and scenes, Pullman's series (so far, at least) is stronger in its pacing and perhaps even the originality of its plot (at least in comparison with the Inheritance cycle, which has a rather straightforward plot). Of course, this book is much shorter than those other books. Pullman is much more of a to-the-point writer, while Rowling and Paolini are quite indulgent in their prose. As a result, though, the reader is not left hanging out on a limb for quite as long while wondering just what exactly is going to happen next. And I appreciate that. ( )
  S.D. | Apr 4, 2014 |
Lyra is a young girl living in a world where people have daemons, an animal manifestation of a person's soul, and where children are suddenly in peril of being kidnapped by a beautiful woman with a golden monkey daemon. When Lyra's friend Roger is taken, she decides to rescue him from the experimentation facility in the North, where things are not quite what they seem. "The Golden Compass" has long been a favorite of mine; the book blends fantasy, adventure and suspense in a beautifully told story. I'm still amazed that this is marketed as a children's book, as the language and storytelling are on a much higher level than is typically found in juvenile literature. This is an excellent recommendation for fantasy and science fiction lovers. ( )
  TheMadHatters | Apr 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 490 (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
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.

AR 7.1, Pts 19.0
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 17 descriptions

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