Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $4.50 shipping
The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – March 30, 1997
|New from||Used from|
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
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 souls 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
"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."--(starred review), Publishers Weekly
From the Hardcover edition.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Lyra is a wild girl who lives at Jordan College with scholars, in a world that is familiar but also very different from ours. Her world has a steampunk quality to it, not as advanced as our world, but it also has magic. Here, each person is paired with a “daemon”, a kind of animal familiar that is connected to them. When Lyra and her daemon Pan overhear a discussion between her Uncle Asriel and the scholars about Dust (capital “D”!), it will set her on the adventure of a lifetime. For Dust is directly connected with the Gobblers; evil people who are stealing children for some sinister purpose. And the Gobblers have taken her friend Roger.
As is common in fantasy, much of the trilogy is spent on a quest (or on the run). When Lyra is taken from the college by the beautiful but deadly Mrs. Coulter, the Master of Jordan gives her the titular golden compass – an alethiometer. The device reveals the truth to those who know how to read it; and Lyra is inexplicably able to do so without the necessary books or training. She goes on the run after learning that Mrs. Coulter is working with the Gobblers. It will be up to Lyra to save the missing children, with the help of an unlikely crew.
Overall, I thought this book was brilliant. I loved how Pullman wove his story with concepts of theoretical physics and very subtle religious allegory. The world building is downright exquisite. Lyra is a likeable, if somewhat cliché, protagonist. We’ve all met her ilk in other YA fiction, but her world helps her to stand out. In this world, the difference between children and adults will change the course of the universe.
There are at least two layers to the story. One is the Lyra’s adventures in the worlds filled with magic and amazing creatures. The other layer deals with the serious eternal matters such as meaning and nature of the conscious life, death, moral values and religion. A little warning here; the author views on religions are not exactly positive and may be offending to some readers. Also the fragment when monkey daemon is playing with snake daemon is definitely targeted at the older audience.
I loved every chapter. I enjoyed reading about different worlds, daemons, armored bears, witches, spectors, mulefa, angels, Authority, and golden dust. I liked the names of fictional geographical regions being similar to the real names because it immediately created a general picture in my mind. I also greatly enjoyed the incorporation of elements of old and current religious beliefs, ancient myths, and even some science into the plot because it added the feeling of familiarity.
Each book in the series delivered something new and interesting. It never got boring or repetitive. There were sometimes small logic lapses and I never got a hold on the true motivations and feelings of some individuals, including Lyra’s parents, but that was all minor in comparison with the rest of the great picture painted by the astonishing imagination of the author. Wow.
But if you are looking for a book about magic for your small child and you do not want to scare him/her, it may be better to go for more cozy classics such as “Pasmead” books by E. Nesbit (THE PSAMMEAD TRILOGY - The Magical Adventures of Five Friends (Illustrated): Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet & The Story of the Amulet (Fantasy Classics)).
PS. Do not watch “The Golden Compass” movie, it is no good.