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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
27,84960762 (4.09)2 / 825
  1. 3413
    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (Patangel)
  2. 180
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (staram)
  3. 183
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (sturlington)
  4. 206
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
    Leishai: Also a story about fantasy with another world
  5. 2411
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (Patangel)
  6. 50
    Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (Kerian)
  7. 40
    The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (StefanY)
  8. 106
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  9. 52
    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.
  10. 52
    A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle (Anonymous user)
  11. 41
    The House With a Clock In Its Walls by John Bellairs (timspalding)
  12. 52
    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (bibliovermis)
  13. 31
    The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (Aleana)
  14. 31
    Pavane by Keith Roberts (timspalding)
  15. 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.
  16. 53
    The Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (VictoriaPL)
  17. 53
    Paradise Lost by John Milton (Jannes)
  18. 10
    A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (Anjali.Negi)
  19. 10
    Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (Aleana)
  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 30 recommendations)

1990s (10)
Read (11)
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English (583)  Danish (6)  German (4)  French (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (605)
Showing 1-5 of 583 (next | show all)
Really enjoyed the descriptive writing, the characters, the world. Then was disappointed/annoyed by the last few chapters. Definitely can't stand on its own. ( )
  kparr | Dec 8, 2018 |
In Book 1 His Dark Materials the young Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon leave the Oxford college she calls home, to rescue her friend Roger, who is one of many children who has been stolen by the Gobblers. She is gifted an alethiometer and quickly learns how to use this ancient provider of answers, a talent that normally takes a lifetime to achieve. Thus begins an entertaining and fast moving adventure involving armoured bears, gyptions, fairies and witches. ( )
  TheWasp | Nov 21, 2018 |
The Golden Compass seemingly takes place in Oxford, England, but there is an alternate universe at play. Young wild child Lyra Belacourt isn't afraid of much, especially an alternate universe. But in the beginning of The Golden Compass all Lyra cares about is getting into the Retiring Room of Jordan College, a room where, if women are not allowed, then children definitely are not. Tell Lyra she can't do something and of course, that's all she wants to do. She lives in a world where shape-shifting spirit animals called daemon familiars are the norm. Every person has a daemon and when they die their daemon fades away like a wisp of smoke. Lyra's daemon familiar is Pantalaimon, a fiercely protective companion who can be a moth, bird, ermine...whatever the situation requires. Pantalaimon won't fix on a permanent shape until Lyra is older, closer to adulthood. But, I digress. Back to Lyra and the Retiring Room. She and Pantalaimon find a way to sneak into the room and eavesdrop on a secret meeting between her uncle and college officials. Uncle Asriel tells a tale of danger and mystique involving Dust in the North. Soon Lyra finds herself more than eavesdropping. Because of unknown talents she is pulled into a terrible world of evil scientists, kidnapped children, witch clans, and armored fighting bears. In The Golden Compass you will meet Gobblers, Tartars, Windsuckers, Breathless Ones, gyptians, Nalkainers, and many others, but it is Lyra and her daemon who will captivate you. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Nov 19, 2018 |
When Lyra's friend Roger is taken by the Gobblers, she and her daemon Pan are determined to find him. Their search takes them to the mysterious North and brings them into many perilous adventures as they try to find out about Dust and the missing children. Helped along the way by the Gyptians, witches, armoured bears and the aeronaut Lee Scoresby they face mortal danger, moral dilemmas and terrible betrayals. Fantastic! ( )
  AccyP | Nov 18, 2018 |
I read The Golden Compass thinking it was going to be very much like the [b:The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe|100915|The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia, #1)|C.S. Lewis|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1353029077s/100915.jpg|4790821]. I was SHOCKED to find that it was quite the contrary. I did some research on it and dug deeper beyond the plot and found a lot of really dark undertones. I do not at all suggest this book or suggest it for children at the very least. It is well written and some may like it, but I certainly won't be letting my children read it. ( )
  KatelynSBolds | Nov 12, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 583 (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 (19 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
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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.
...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
Blurbers
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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 21 descriptions

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