Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Title: The Golden Compass

Author: Philip Pullman

# pages: 399

Date published: 1995

Genre: YA fantasy

Series: #1 in His Dark Materials

Challenge(s): Unread Authors Challenge, New Classics Challenge, Raved-About Reads Challenge, What an Animal Challenge, Book Awards Challenge II


(one of my favorites)

First Sentence:

“Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.”

What Is It About? Lyra Belacqua lives in a world that is similar to our own, but with some key differences. For one thing, people in Lyra’s world are always accompanied by a daemon. Their daemon is an animal that represents that person’s soul. When children are young, their daemons can change shape but as they grow older their daemons settle into one form and stay that way.

When children all over England begin to disappear, including Lyra’s best friend, Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, embark on a quest to the North to save the children.

Random Thoughts: I loved this book. For me, The Golden Compass was a great, exciting adventure novel. I know there are many people who consider this series anti-religious, but I didn’t really notice a strong anti-religious sentiment in The Golden Compass (although I fully admit to knowing little about organized religion, so maybe it just went over my head. Or maybe this aspect becomes more obvious in the other books in the series?).

Favorite quote(s):

Lyra asks:

“But suppose your daemon settles in a shape you don’t like?”

“Well, then, you’re discontented, en’t you? There’s plenty of folk as’d like to have a lion as a daemon and they end up with a poodle. And till they learn to be satisfied with what they are, they’re going to be fretful about it. Waste of feeling, that is.” (p. 167-168)

Fun tidbits:

Let’s give people a variety of opinions! If you've reviewed this book (or a book by this author), leave me a link to your review in the comments and I'll link to your review, too!


Jeane said...

I think the religious overtones appear later in the series. I began reading these books a few years back (when I was more religious) and halfway through the third book found it disturbing and quit! Now I want to go back and try to read them again....

Fyrefly said...

The first book has hints of being anti-organized-religion, but yes, those themes pick up a lot more strongly in later books. I think a lot of the backlash against the series has to do with some anti-religion things Pullman has said in interviews and such, and not so much with the actual books - which I imagine a fair number of the people railing against them haven't even read.

(Also, I love the entire series; I hope you like the next two as much as you did the first one!)

Beth F said...

I'll be curious to read what you think about the ending of the last book. I won't say anything -- don't want to accidentally leave a spoiler.

Kristi said...

OK, well at least I don't feel like such a dolt. I mean, with all the hoopla I was expecting that even someone as ignorant of organized religion as I am would still be able to detect the anti-religious sentiments. Sounds like I just haven't gotten to that point in the series, yet.