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The Golden Compass His Dark Materials, Book…

The Golden Compass His Dark Materials, Book I (original 1995; edition 2006)

Series: His Dark Materials (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
36,16574266 (4.07)2 / 943
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.
Title:The Golden Compass His Dark Materials, Book I
Info:Listening Library (2006), Audio CD
Collections:Your library

Work Information

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (1995)

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» See also 943 mentions

English (709)  Danish (6)  Spanish (5)  German (4)  Italian (3)  French (3)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Portuguese (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (736)
Showing 1-5 of 709 (next | show all)
I’m on the fence between 3 and 4 stars for Golden Compass. My best friend recommended it, so I guess my expectations were very high. The first half or more was SO SLOW I considered DNFing. It got better, and my hope is that perhaps the subsequent two books will move more quickly since the premise has already been fully set.

When this series began, I attended Christian school, so I would have been strongly discouraged from reading it even if it had held any intrigue for me. I understand why the Church would ban this series, because of how organized religion is portrayed. The metaphors are thinly veiled (when veiled at all), and the incorporation of existing entities is blurred with the fiction of the alternate universe in which the story takes place.

Ignoring that, though, the story itself (once it gets moving, finally) is solid and full of action and intrigue. Pullman is creative. I want to live in a world in which everyone has an animal sidekick with her at all times, please. Judged on its own as a fantasy story without any other implications, it’s quite good.

I found it far too dark to consider reading with my kids. (I did try initially, but they fell asleep before I finished a chapter… a few nights in a row.) That was a bit disappointing, since I really thought this series was made for kids/YA. Definitely more YA and not at all kids, IMO. ( )
  jnoshields | Apr 10, 2024 |
His Dark Materials is a richly imagined fantasy trilogy with complex world building, vivid characters and a fast paced and riveting plot. The first book in the series, Northern Lights (also known as The Golden Compass) introduces eleven year old Lyra Belacqua - niece of the famed scholar, Lord Asriel - and her daemon (a spirit animal), Pantalaimon.

A ward of Oxford college, Lyra runs wild as the scholars there try to entertain, tame and teach her. Pantalaimon tries to rein her in but little can stop Lyra when she's made up her mind. Content with her life Lyra gives no thought to the world outside her little bubble - until her best friend Roger, is kidnapped by the Gobblers and Lyra sets out on a quest to rescue him.

I loved Lyra the first time I read this and every time since. Lyra is bold, brash and carefree, prone to lying and capable of incredible loyalty and devotion. I loved her determination to save Roger - even if she's not entirely sure how to go about it.

There were elements of a classic fantasy quest story but then Pullman runs away, making the world building bigger and bolder and creating something unique. The mystery of Dust, the alethiometer (a golden compass-like item that can tell the truth) and daemons kept me hooked, dying to find out more and fill in the blanks. I loved the armoured bears, the witches and the gyptians. And Pantalaimon was the best. I undoubtedly identified with him more as he played the conscience to Lyra's craziness. But you can't have one without the other and they were brilliant.

The conclusion was satisfying (although completely heartbreaking ) while paving a path for the rest of the series to build upon.

A well deserved classic of the fantasy genre. 5 stars. ( )
  funstm | Apr 5, 2024 |
This series is incredible and it is a crying shame that the religious right shut down the movie series productions. ( )
  BethOwl | Jan 24, 2024 |

I don't understand the fuss. The writing style is slow and convoluted, jumps around, and I gave up after a few chapters. ( )
  AnneMarieMcD | Jan 16, 2024 |
The acting for the audiobook was amazing! It had a full cast, and the narration (parts without dialogue) was done by the author himself. The book was just as good as it was the first time I read it. ( )
  Dances_with_Words | Jan 6, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 709 (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
Barrett, SeanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baylay, KateCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bützow, HeleneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beck, IanIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Beck, Rufussecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berdage, RoserTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blackwell, DouglasNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Borbás, Máriasecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brooks, TerryIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Degas, RupertNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dowling, AlisonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hagon, GarrickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
O'Connor, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rohmann, EricCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rooijen, Quirijn denEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sabino, ElianaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sahlin, OlleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheridan, SusanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Shilling, JillNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ströle, WolfgangÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Targo, LindaToimetaja.secondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorne, StephenNarratorsecondary 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
Wyatt, JoannaNarratorsecondary 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.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Originally published as Northern lights in the UK and in the USA as The golden compass (from a title submitted to the publisher). Translations into other languages have used both, including Het noorderlicht (Dutch), La bussola d'oro (Italian) and Der goldene Kompass (German).
This is the record for the unabridged book and associated unabridged audio-books. Other versions, including abridgements, the BBC radio drama (2003), the movie (2007), the TV series (2019), each have their own records. Please distinguish between them.
Publisher's editors
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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.

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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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