Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1) by Philip Pullman

Published: April 16th 1996 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1995)
Hardcover, 399 pages
sbn:  0679879242

Goodreads Summary
"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 dæmon, the manifestation of their soul in animal form. For another, hers is a universe in which science, theology, and magic are closely allied"

My Take: 

This book was absolutely brilliant! I don't know why i didn't read this earlier! It was passionately written, beautifully thought out and a very emotional journey! I was hooked from the beginning and on the edge of my seat the whole time!

The characters were vivid, wondrous and fantastically diabolical! I also love Daemons and the idea of them!

I think this book shows that you can't always ignore or undervalue the power and influence of children. We are very quick to ignore what they say. We have to listen more carefully.


I was so close to tears when they found Tony! It was heart wrenching!
Oh and Roger...

My Questions:

I don't get why everyone was so against this book. Yes it talks about the church etc. But this is fantasy... Its not attacking the church in real life, its attacking the church in the book... Because you know this is a world with Daemons, and witches and talking bears...

I could be wrong and  Philip Pullman has a plan of taking over young minds with his "kill god approach". Yes that could be it, but I choose to enjoy the book for what it is. A story!

I think this book has a way of making one want to be a better person, want to be as sure and as brave a Lyra about what is right and what is wrong!

Favourite Quote:

"You cannot change what you are, only what you do."
Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass)

What Daemon do you have?

Take the test here:
Tell me in comments please :)

My result: Suggested forms: Swan, Elephant, Koala, Panda, Chameleon, Wolf.

Link to the Author:

Videos that will make you want to read this book:

My Rating:


Next Instalment: 

The Subtle Knife (His Dark Materials Series #2) by Philip Pullman


Missy said...

A lot of people take fiction books out of context and try to make it where what is written in the books is positively the message that the author is giving in the book is something he's trying to "brainwash" kids with. I am a Christian, and I can tell you that I absolutely adored these books ... I wasn't offended at all. Great review!

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Lu said...

Thanks so much for the comment Missy! Its good to know that I'm not the only one that loved this book! :D

Sullivan McPig said...

Great review! I love this book and think people make too much of a big deal out of it. I never even thought it might attack the church until I read about it on the internet

LupLun said...

Golden Compass was a good read, but its politics annoyed me. It's not so much that Pullman is an atheist casting organized religion as the enemy, it's that his argument is shallow and banal. He characterizes their villainy primarily- perhaps even universally- in terms of sexual repression. This is such short-sighted and simplistic reasoning that it's almost laughable. The fundamental questions which religion is meant to address- the nature of the universe, the order under which it operates, the purpose of humanity, the distinction between right and wrong- go far beyond the proper care and handling of gonads. In fact, it's such a myopic view that one could make a serious case that he's pandering to his young and horny YA readerbase. (This is where loudmouths with a knack for discrediting their own arguments get the whole 'brainwashing' idea.)

I liked it and I'm probably one of the few readers who actually picked up on the Fool's Journey parallels, but I wasn't inclined to pick up the sequels. Especially after hearing that the third book degenerates into long, didactic speeches from the characters a la Ayn Rand.

Audra said...

I actually found the second and third books to be even more compelling than the first. The first is a lovely adventure; the second and third books really develop this into an exploration of philosophy, religion, history, and physics. I think adults are uncomfortable with children being aware of sexuality, morals, and other 'deep' issues that are typically found in 'grown up' novels. Pullman doesn't talk down in his works, which I think is why folks find it so challenging.

I also really enjoyed the gender dynamics that Pullman employs -- none of his characters are very stock and there are so many individuals and identities for the reader to connect with -- even the villains are motivated out of a misguided desire to do good (as so many are in real life), and I think Pullman is very deft storyteller.

Lu said...

I really look forward to the next two Audra! I just mooched the second one, so now I just wait :(

I can't wait to discuss the others ones in more detail with you :)

Audra said...

Lu, you're inspiring me to pick them up again -- I might try to do one and two in the next few weeks so we can discuss! I read Philip Pullman's Ruby in the Smoke trilogy as a teenager, which I didn't enjoy as much as the HDM.

Lu said...

Sweet! Can't wait to discuss :D

Now to wait for my mooch to come... :(

Mmm I wonder if I'd like that trilogy? A well too many books still to read, to worry about it!

Audra said...

I know, waiting for a desperately-desired book is the worst! And I hear ya on too much to read -- but if you do end up reading the Ruby in the smoke books, we should talk. I found all the characters in those books wholly unlikable, including the heroine!

Lu said...

I will definitely come knocking when I pick up that series :)

I'm going to get a copy of the Golden Compass DVD asap, so I can watch it again!

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