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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
33,24970265 (4.07)2 / 922
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.
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    Sabriel by Garth Nix (staram)
  3. 203
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (sturlington)
  4. 207
    The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (Leishai)
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  5. 2512
    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling (Patangel)
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    The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander (StefanY)
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    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.
  8. 50
    Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (Kerian)
  9. 52
    The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman (Aleana)
  10. 52
    A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L'Engle (Anonymous user)
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    The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett (bibliovermis)
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  14. 31
    Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox (SunnySD)
  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.
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    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 29 recommendations)

1990s (1)
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English (673)  Danish (6)  German (4)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Italian (3)  Finnish (2)  Swedish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (698)
Showing 1-5 of 673 (next | show all)
I was 100% obsessed with Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass when I was growing up (far more so than Harry Potter), so you best believe that I was super stoked to find out that this gem finally got a proper illustrated treatment. The story, obviously, remains the same complex and magical tale of discovery and adventure, but having illustrations to illuminate the text softens the story somewhat. That’s not to say that Chris Wormell’s illustrations are childish, but more so that they bring a lighter sense to the story in its darker moments. Pullman doesn’t shy away from challenging themes (parental abandonment, illicit government activity, and questioning authority), so while Wormell’s pictures show the story with accuracy, their simple woodcut line style and rich palette keep the tone more in line with Lyra’s curiosity, the glow of Dust, and the magic of childhood adventure – regardless of the high stakes. The Grimm’s-esque fairytale inspiration for the narration is strong for all that it is set in a modern and realistic world just a breath away from ours, and Wormell’s woodcut style drawings tread the same careful line of harkening back to a childish innocence with darker undertones. I’m definitely planning on picking up the rest of this illustrated sequence to round out my bookshelf, since this is a perfect pairing! ( )
  JaimieRiella | Sep 20, 2022 |
Philip Pullman's famous fantasy story "The Golden Compass" had been on my to-read list for a very long time, my copy of it being more and more bathed in dust over the last couple of years as it waited on my shelf before I could finally bring myself to read it.

For quite some time, I hadn't been in a particularly fitting mood for anything fantasy-related when it came to reading - except for listening to Paolini's Eragon audiobooks, my interest in the genre had somewhat faded as I tried to read 'serious' literature more regularly (whatever that means). However, Pullman's novel came at exactly the right time to convince me that the genre hadn't yet lost me completely. Much has been said already about the originality of this novel, and a lot of criticism has (not always undeservedly) been shed on the character development. This book doesn't necessarily have to be classified as a children's fantasy novel - it can easily be enjoyed by teenagers, but also adults will likely be able to find a compelling story in here. That's the most powerful aspect a fantasy writer can choose to adopt for their stories, in my opinion: to be able to write something that can be classified as enjoyment, but also easily holds up for more demanding readerships seeking more intellectual elements. Pullman's exploration of the importance of science and religion in this first installment of the "His Dark Materials" series invites the reader on a journey through an interesting world filled with complex society dynamics.

It's easy to see why this book has become so popular during the 1990s: it's a quintessential modern classic of the fantasy genre, and I am glad I finally decided to get over myself and give the genre another well-deserved chance. ( )
  Councillor3004 | Sep 1, 2022 |
I think Pullman is a wonderful writer. That being said this series is pretty dark and deep. I know I wouldn't read it to my kids. More a series of grown-up fairy tale books. ( )
  panamamama | Aug 2, 2022 |
The Golden Compass is a deceptive joy. It paints simplistic watercolor pictures of idyllic life in a mirror universe close, but not too close, to our own. Philip Pullman's writing begins as simply as any painting--with a few sketches and pencil marks, but it only outlines a much bigger subject matter and fantastic story.

I enjoyed The Golden Compass, despite my doubts I held about it at the very beginning. Like any story, it takes time for it to build itself and a reader might be dissuaded from continuing on early in. Sticking with the story meant a much richer reward as the writing tackled more complex, adult issues.

I was presently surprised and as of writing this, look forward to starting The Subtle Knife--possibly as soon as I wake up tomorrow.

If you were a bit like me, hedging at picking up this book due to thinking it was a child's story; don't be like me. Stop hedging and pick this trilogy up. ( )
  HotPinkMess | Jul 31, 2022 |
Elsőosztályú... mi is ez? A címke szerint ifjúsági regény. A fene tudja. Van benne gyerek, az igaz, ő a főhős. De ugyanakkor ott van benne ez a... minek is nevezzem? Vallásfilozófiai szál, mondjuk. Ami bomlik ki szépen, lassan, és bevallom, engem igen-igen izgalomban tart. A szín: egy alternatív univerzum. Ennek kulcsa, hogy Kálvin János itt pápa lett, aki Genfből konkrétan Rómát csinált*. Minek következtében a felvilágosodás érdeklődés hiányában elmaradt, nincs szekularizált Európa, és mindenféle erőszakosnak tűnő egyházi csoport presszionálja a polgári létezést. Ebben a párhuzamos univerzumban vannak még különös dolgok: páncélos jegesmedvék (hajlok rá, hogy nincs kúlabb dolog egy páncélos jegesmedvénél), boszorkányok, no és persze a Por, ami valamiért rettegéssel tölti el az egyházatyák (következésképpen: maga a hatalom) szívét. E körül bonyolódik a cselekmény.

Ja, és van még egy fontos dolog. Talán a legfontosabb. A daimónok. Ebben a világban ugyanis minden egyes embernek van egy „szellemállata”, egy lény, aki folyton ott van vele, élete fogytáig elkíséri, ha az egyik meghal, vele hal a másik is. Ez a valami tulajdonképpen az ember jellemének, lelkének kivetülése, ami a pubertáskorig alakját változtatja, de aztán állandó formát nyer – nem tudhatod, milyet. Nyilván te valami tekintélyeset és gyönyörűt akarsz, hópárducot például, légyszilégyszi, legyen hópárduc! De az Ismeretlen jobban tudja: daimónod tarajos sül lesz vagy hullámos papagáj. És onnantól együtt kell élned vele. Jóban, rosszban, egészségben, betegségben. Segítőtársad, barátod, a lényed része. Nem kertelek: odavagyok a daimónokért. Mint koncepció, fantasztikus, gazdag lehetőségeket ad az írónak, hogy kiélje fantáziáját. És amúgy is: tök jó lenne egy daimón. Nem is kell, hogy hópárduc legyen. Lehet sivatagi róka is, vagy kerti pele. És úgy sosem lesz az ember egyedül.

Ezek az alapok, a regény csontszerkezete. És erre megy rá a cselekmény, meg az írói készségek. A cselekmény amúgy nem nem egy komótos csordogálás, nincs hosszas felvezetés, a szereplők lassú felépítése: rohadt nagy rohanás van. Már az első fejezetben kulcsfontosságú dolgok történnek, és a lendület a későbbiekben is csak szusszanásnyi időre torpan meg. Pullman ügyesen kerüli el, hogy ettől az egész mű felületes legyen. Erős, életteli jellemet sikerül faragnia Lyra (a főhős) köré, és bravúros, ahogy univerzuma sajátos törvényeit is a nagy szaladás közepette, kvázi erőltetett gyalogmenetben ismerteti, az olvasó pedig érti, összerakja magának, mert nem hülye ám az olvasó. De ami a legszebb, hogy Pullman azt is tudja, ami tulajdonképpen minden epikus regény, minden történetmesélő próza alapja: az érzéseket (szeretetet, dühöt, melegséget és undort), amit a szereplők egymás iránt éreznek, át tudja csatornázni az olvasóra. Mert az egy dolog, hogy imádtam a daimónokat, és izgat ez az egész filozófiai katyvasz, ami csak eztán fog igazán kibomlani. De hogy olvasás közben szerettem és dühöngtem, az a valami.

* Morgunk a katolikus pápákra, mert gyerekeket csináltak, a szimóniapénzből reneszánsz festőket szponzoráltak, hogy a katedrálisokra eltapsolt ménkű sok aranyfüstről ne is essék szó. De lehet, pont az volt a szerencsénk, hogy ilyen világiasan korruptak és haszonlesők voltak, mert egy olyan fanatikus puritán, mint Kálvin, ugyanebben a pozícióban alkalmasint sokkal veszedelmesebb és alaposabb lett volna. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 673 (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 (10 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
Beck, Rufussecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berdage, RoserTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borbás, Máriasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooks, TerryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rohmann, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rooijen, Quirijn denEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabino, ElianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sahlin, OlleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ströle, WolfgangÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targo, LindaToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, StephenNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Torrescasana, AlbertTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tulinius, Gretesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tutino, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Williams, StuartCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wormell, ChrisIllustratorsecondary 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.
...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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Northern Lights was published in the US as The Golden Compass
Please distinguish between the book, abridgements and the movie.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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
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