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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
The book itself is great. I love the story, but this hardcover copy is about the size of a mass market paperback. Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Manny O
Overall, I enjoyed this book. Of course, I read it out of sheer curiosity because of the controversy brought about the author's agendas. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Blueeyedshook
Having seen the movie, the book is as always so much better. The book IS a little difficult to get in to. But, once that happens...you are hooked.Published 16 days ago by Kathryn Price
I don't usually read this genre, but my 63 year old twin absolutely insisted I at least experience the first book in the series. I did, and thoroughly enjoyed The Golden Compass. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Karen M. Folger
Please note that this book is a bit difficult to get into if you expect your books to string you along, tell you everything, and keep checking in on you to make sure you're... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Swankivy
Lyra Belacqua makes the most of her life at Jordan College. It's not typical for a young girl to be raised at the College, but the Scholars take care of her and ensure she learns... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Jamie W.
I couldn't get through the second half of the story. I don't mind the writer's voice or pace at all; I just don't think I care too much for the story. Read morePublished 29 days ago by ChicagoDuffer