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The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book…

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) (1995)

by Philip Pullman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: His Dark Materials (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
23,97553845 (4.1)2 / 712
  1. 3413
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (Patangel)
  2. 160
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (staram)
  3. 2311
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (Patangel)
  4. 153
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (sturlington)
  5. 176
    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
    The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (StefanY)
  8. 40
    Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (Kerian)
  9. 41
    The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs (timspalding)
  10. 52
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (bibliovermis)
  11. 52
    A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle (Anonymous user)
  12. 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.
  13. 53
    Paradise Lost by John Milton (Jannes)
  14. 31
    The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (Aleana)
  15. 53
    The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (VictoriaPL)
  16. 31
    Pavane by Keith Roberts (timspalding)
  17. 10
    Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (Jen448)
  18. 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
  19. 21
    Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (SunnySD)
  20. 10
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Aleana)

(see all 28 recommendations)

1990s (7)
Unread books (1,164)

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English (513)  Danish (6)  French (3)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (532)
Showing 1-5 of 513 (next | show all)
From Common Sense Media - Ages 10+.

"Parents need to know that this fantasy book contains some vivid descriptions of battle scenes. There are also some tense escapes from evildoers, two of whom are the heroine's parents, and two kids are killed. One of Lyra's virtues is her ability to lie convincingly, but she prizes friendship and loyalty: Indeed, readers will root for this scrappy street fighter as she uses all her wits to outfox the villains, and discovers mystical talents that she never knew she had. The British dialogue and clever twists on common words may confuse some Americans, but the fantasy will make readers' imaginations soar. Good choice for fantasy lovers who've outgrown the kid stuff -- and enough adventure for reluctant readers (especially if you start by reading aloud). Read by the author in the audiobook version."

Note that this is listed as the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy. This book is known in the USA as The Golden Compass. This is a UK Scholastic version.
  ExpatLibrary | Sep 4, 2015 |
I wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get into it. I had no trouble putting it down right at the climax of the story. It just didn't hold my interest at all. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
Score subject to change.

I think I will need to come back to this entry as I'm not really sure how I feel about the book yet. It's certainly not straightforward entertainment and has many notions/concepts which I feel could make it a bit confusing to young readers. It's a sort-of pseudo/emerging science meets alternate-Christianity story and I'm not sure what I think about all of it. I'm not eager to immediately grab the second book.

Anyway, just finished last night and will digest a while. More (possibly) to come.
( )
  Industrialstr | Aug 7, 2015 |
Loved this book when I first read it because it has armoured bears and each kid has an animal that can speak and is their counterpart and that can change into any animal it desires until it settles on a form. I enjoy anything that takes an entertaining shot at organised religion and the fact that this had nut jobs all over the world claiming it was full of evil and witch craft is enough for me to recommend it. ( )
  areadingmachine | Jul 6, 2015 |
This really is a fantastic book. A sort of steampunk fantasy with unique twists. Love the whole concept of dæmons. I want one! It's also a superb thriller. At one point it was almost unbearably exciting. I am writing this not long after that poor little Gypsy girl was taken away from her parents because she was blonde. This gave some aspects of the novel a topical significance that Pullman, of course, never intended. Nice to see Gypsies portrayed positively for once. Shame he hates Catholics! I have the other volumes in my possession and ready to be read, thank God. ( )
  Lukerik | May 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 513 (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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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
First words
Lyra and her dæmon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.
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
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:41 -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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