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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
23,92353645 (4.1)2 / 711
  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 Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) 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
    Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (andomck)
    andomck: Young female protagonist, loss of innocence, not quite real world setting
  18. 10
    Cold Magic by Kate Elliott (Jen448)
  19. 21
    Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (SunnySD)
  20. 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.

(see all 28 recommendations)

1990s (8)
Unread books (1,162)
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English (513)  Danish (6)  French (4)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (533)
Showing 1-5 of 513 (next | show all)
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 |
The Golden Compass is a wonderful book for both YA readers and adults, as well as a fantastic start to this trilogy. There are plenty of twists ad turns as well as subtleties that younger readers may not catch, which is why I'm glad I read this as an adult. I love Lyra's unending drive, childish as it may sometimes be, and her faith that everything will turn out right if she just tries hard enough. Every character in this book is multifaceted and well developed and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next installment of His Dark Materials. ( )
  morgtini | May 15, 2015 |
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 |
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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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
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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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