Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (1995)

by Philip Pullman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: His Dark Materials (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
25,91157444 (4.1)2 / 770
  1. 3413
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (Patangel)
  2. 170
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (staram)
  3. 183
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (sturlington)
  4. 2511
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1) by J. K. Rowling (Patangel)
  5. 186
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
    Leishai: Also a story about fantasy with another world
  6. 115
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  7. 50
    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. 42
    Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Jannes, passion4reading)
    Jannes: Epic and awe-inspiring and steampunk-ish... also surprisingly complex characters and moral ambiguity for a YA novel - just like HDM
    passion4reading: Intelligent and thought-provoking children's/YA fiction with an unusual premise.
  16. 53
    The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (VictoriaPL)
  17. 31
    Pavane by Keith Roberts (timspalding)
  18. 10
    A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (Anjali.Negi)
  19. 21
    Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (SunnySD)
  20. 10
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Aleana)

(see all 29 recommendations)

1990s (10)
Read (10)
Unread books (1,033)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (550)  Danish (6)  French (3)  German (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  All (1)  All (570)
Showing 1-5 of 550 (next | show all)
It's been a long time since I last read this novel, but the word of a new Philip Pullman series inspired me to pick it up again. I'm still not sure I do really consider it a young adult novel either. The novel has a young protagonist and is, on the surface, simply written but it is an incredibly complex novel. The comparisons that it receives to middle grade fiction like Harry Potter is frankly unfair.

The world building is incredible. The political and theological background is deep and complex, and the descriptions of Lyra's journey are so detailed that you can vividly imagine each step. While this adds a sense of reality to the story, my only real problem is that it makes the opening chapters very slow and expository. While never boring, the novel doesn't start to feel like it is moving until Lyra leaves for the north, which around a third of the way through.

Yet when the novel picks up pace, it never looses it. Lyra's adventure is tense, exciting and more than a little scary. The plot is very focused and contains a lot of original and memorable adventures, from flying on a zeppelin pulled by witches to Lyra tricking her way into the court of the armoured bear king. The only disappointment I had with the plot after this point was the ending. While it's shocking and more than a little dark (no further spoilers here), it does break off on a cliffhanger which is a really bug bear of mine.

In terms of character, the novel presents a great protagonist in the form of Lyra. Her voice always sounds genuine, being strong willed and childlike and often resolving problems through her quick wit and ability to convincingly lie. Her relationship with Pan is also very sweet, making some of the threats that they face together difficult to read. However, none of the other characters receive this sort of development. They're memorable - especially Iorek, Lee Scoresby and Serafina Pekkala - but they don't get much development over the course of the story. Even the villains are a little two dimensional, doing terrible things because they want power, which is a little disappointing.

All in all, the book had some great moments but wasn't as fantastic as I remembered it on the whole. I will read on with the series to see if it gets better though, because the word building did blow me away. ( )
  ArkhamReviews | Mar 13, 2017 |
I just love the adventure this book takes you through. A young girl's journey. It's fabulous. ( )
  RinHanase | Mar 11, 2017 |
I really like this story. Pullman is so creative in how he creates the world in this book. The only problem with this book is sometimes it seems to drag. I don't know, maybe it's just me. ( )
  kyndyleizabella | Jan 23, 2017 |
We started listening to this as an audio book on a road trip, but we didn't reach the end before the trip was over, and the suspense was killing me, so I checked it out of the library the next day. I hardly ever read juvenile fiction, and even more rarely bother to review it, but Pullman has pulled off a wonderful storytelling feat with this trilogy. I love the way that the slightly off-kilter world of Lyra Belacqua unfolds bit by bit, rather than all the "rules" of the fantasy world being dropped on the reader in one big expository dump. It's pretty dark and edgy, but that's kind of my style too. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
This book had equal parts religion, science, and childish wonder/magic which was fantastic. I didn't completely understand the Dust and elementary particles, but neither did Lyra so that's okay. We were equally confused, sad, filled with wonder and despair, and pumped with adrenaline and love. Daemons are a fascinating alternative to "inner voices" and Pan represents everything Lyra is: a rough-and-tumble kid with a heart of gold. I managed to tear through the book in 3 days and am very proud of this feat. ( )
  kamikaze2011 | Jan 4, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 550 (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.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Pullman, Philipprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Astrologo, MarinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bailey, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baylay, KateCover artistsecondary 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
Williams, StuartCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
...this was in the seventeenth century.  Symbols and emblems were everywhere. Buildings and pictures were designed to be read like books.  Everything stood for something else.; if you had the right dictionary you could read Nature itself.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Northern Lights was published in the US as The Golden Compass
Please distinguish between the book, abridgements and the movie.
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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 18 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
819 avail.
173 wanted
1 pay2 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.1)
0.5 14
1 107
1.5 19
2 325
2.5 94
3 1139
3.5 336
4 2602
4.5 431
5 3099

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


You are using the new servers! | About | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 114,416,383 books! | Top bar: Always visible