The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials Series #1)by Philip Pullman
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch/b>/i>/i>
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The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.
Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal--including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.
Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.
But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help on of them will be to betray the other...
A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which contintues with The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.
A #1 New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
Published in 40 Countries
"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years." --The Washington Post
"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times
"Pullman is quite possibly a genius." --Newsweek
“Superb . . . all-stops-out thrilling.” —The Washington Post
"Very grand indeed." —The New York Times
"Powerful […] a fantasy adventure that sparkles with childlike wonder." —The Boston Sunday Globe
"Marvelous […] the writing is elegant and challenging." —The New Yorker
"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years […] If [The Subtle Knife] is as good as The Golden Compass, we'll be two thirds of the way to the completion of a modern fantasy classic."
—The Washington Post Book World
“Pullman is quite possibly a genius…using the lineaments of fantasy to tell the truth about the universal experience of growing up.” —Newsweek
"Masterful storytelling […] with a cast of instantly beguiling characters." —The Dallas Morning News
“The most magnificent fantasy series since Lord of the Rings.” —The Oregonian
“Pullman has created the last great fantasy masterpiece of the twentieth century. An astounding achievement.” —The Cincinnati Enquirer
"Once in a lifetime a children's author emerges who is so extraordinary that the imagination of generations is altered. Lewis Carroll, E. Nesbit, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien were all of this cast. So, too, is Philip Pullman, whose Dark Materials trilogy will be devoured by anyone between eight and eighty. The most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings, it is as intellectually thrilling as it is magnificently written." — New Statesman
"Thrillingly paced and exotic […] breathtaking." — Columbus Dispatch
“[…] a rare few have minds capacious enough to engage in vast cosmos-making, imagining realms and inventing universes. I am thinking of Dante and Milton and Blake. We may now add Philip Pullman.”
—Parents Choice (online)
"The Golden Compass is one of the best fantasy/adventure stories that I have read in years. This is a book no one should miss." —Terry Brooks, author of The Sword of Shannara
"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."
—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“This first fantastic installment of the His Dark Materials trilogy propels readers along with horror and high adventure, a shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe.” – Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"This first fantastic installment propels readers along with horror and high adventure […] A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." —Kirkus Reviews, Starred
“The characters of Lord Asriel, Mrs. Coutler, and Iorek Byrnison and the cold and beautiful Northern setting are captivating; the constantly twisting plot and escalating suspense are riveting; and Lyra and Pantalaimon are among the gutsiest and wiliest of adventurers. Touching, exciting, and mysterious by turns, this is a splendid work.” —The Horn Book Magazine, Starred
“Glorious. And what an ending — simply operatic.” —School Library Journal, Top 100 Children’s Novels (#28)
"This is a captivating fantasy, filled with excitement, suspense, and unusual characters." —School Library Journal
"A totally involving, intricately plotted fantasy that will leave readers clamoring for the sequels."
—Booklist, Starred review
“Glorious. . . . The Golden Compass is one of those lyrical suspensions like Alice in Wonderland and The Lord of the Rings that crosses all age lines and intertwines mythologies and legends with seamless beauty.” —BookPage
Read an Excerpt
THE DECANTER OF TOKAY
Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen. The three great tables that ran the length of the hall were laid already, the silver and the glass catching what little light there was, and the long benches were pulled out ready for the guests. Portraits of former Masters hung high up in the gloom along the walls. Lyra reached the dais and looked back at the open kitchen door, and, seeing no one, stepped up beside the high table. The places here were laid with gold, not silver, and the fourteen seats were not oak benches but mahogany chairs with velvet cushions.
Lyra stopped beside the Master's chair and flicked the biggest glass gently with a fingernail. The sound rang clearly through the hall.
"You're not taking this seriously," whispered her daemon. "Behave yourself."
Her daemon's name was Pantalaimon, and he was currently in the form of a moth, a dark brown one so as not to show up in the darkness of the hall.
"They're making too much noise to hear from the kitchen," Lyra whispered back. "And the Steward doesn't come in till the first bell. Stop fussing."
But she put her palm over the ringing crystal anyway, and Pantalaimon fluttered ahead and through the slightly open door of the Retiring Room at the other end of the dais. After a moment he appeared again.
"There's no one there," he whispered. "But we must be quick."
Crouching behind the high table, Lyra darted along and through the door into the Retiring Room, where she stood up and looked around. The only light in here came from the fireplace, where a bright blaze of logs settled slightly as she looked, sending a fountain of sparks up into the chimney. She had lived most of her life in the College, but had never seen the Retiring Room before: only Scholars and their guests were allowed in here, and never females. Even the maid-servants didn't clean in here. That was the Butler's job alone.
Pantalaimon settled on her shoulder.
"Happy now? Can we go?" he whispered.
"Don't be silly! I want to look around!"
It was a large room, with an oval table of polished rosewood on which stood various decanters and glasses, and a silver smoking stand with a rack of pipes. On a sideboard nearby there was a little chafing dish and a basket of poppy heads.
"They do themselves well, don't they, Pan?" she said under her breath.
She sat in one of the green leather armchairs. It was so deep she found herself nearly lying down, but she sat up again and tucked her legs under her to look at the portraits on the walls. More old Scholars, probably; robed, bearded, and gloomy, they stared out of their frames in solemn disapproval.
"What d'you think they talk about?" Lyra said, or began to say, because before she'd finished the question she heard voices outside the door.
"Behind the chair—quick!" whispered Pantalaimon, and in a flash Lyra was out of the armchair and crouching behind it. It wasn't the best one for hiding behind: she'd chosen one in the very center of the room, and unless she kept very quiet...
The door opened, and the light changed in the room; one of the incomers was carrying a lamp, which he put down on the sideboard. Lyra could see his legs, in their dark green trousers and shiny black shoes. It was a servant.
Then a deep voice said, "Has Lord Asriel arrived yet?"
It was the Master. As Lyra held her breath, she saw the servant's daemon (a dog, like all servants' daemons) trot in and sit quietly at his feet, and then the Master's feet became visible too, in the shabby black shoes he always wore.
"No, Master," said the Butler. "No word from the aerodock, either."
"I expect he'll be hungry when he arrives. Show him straight into Hall, will you?"
"Very good, Master."
"And you've decanted some of the special Tokay for him?"
"Yes, Master. The 1898, as you ordered. His Lordship is very partial to that, I remember."
"Good. Now leave me, please."
"Do you need the lamp, Master?"
"Yes, leave that too. Look in during dinner to trim it, will you?"
The Butler bowed slightly and turned to leave, his daemon trotting obediently after him. From her not-much-of-a-hiding place Lyra watched as the Master went to a large oak wardrobe in the corner of the room, took his gown from a hanger, and pulled it laboriously on. The Master had been a powerful man, but he was well over seventy now, and his movements were stiff and slow. The Master's daemon had the form of a raven, and as soon as his robe was on, she jumped down from the wardrobe and settled in her accustomed place on his right shoulder.
Lyra could feel Pantalaimon bristling with anxiety, though he made no sound. For herself, she was pleasantly excited. The visitor mentioned by the Master, Lord Asriel, was her uncle, a man whom she admired and feared greatly. He was said to be involved in high politics, in secret exploration, in distant warfare, and she never knew when he was going to appear. He was fierce: if he caught her in here she'd be severely punished, but she could put up with that.
What she saw next, however, changed things completely.
The Master took from his pocket a folded paper and laid it on the table beside the wine. He took the stopper out of the mouth of a decanter containing a rich golden wine, unfolded the paper, and poured a thin stream of white powder into the decanter before crumpling the paper and throwing it into the fire. Then he took a pencil from his pocket, stirred the wine until the powder had dissolved, and replaced the stopper.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Meet the Author
Philip Pullman has won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Philip Pullman is the author of many books for young readers, including two volumes related to the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North. He lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit www.philip-pullman.com and www.hisdarkmaterials.com.
- Oxford, England
- Date of Birth:
- October 19, 1946
- Place of Birth:
- Norwich, England
- Exeter College, Oxford University
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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First off, yes this is sold as a young adult novel. It really isnt though. It is actually a novel... young and old alike will like it. Second... where do i begin in saying how good it is? The world feels fully formed and the writing is breathtakingly good. The character are all well thought out and are multi dimensional. The plot has just the right amount of twists. And the story is incredible. Yes this book was written as "an atheist response to narnia"... but it goes so far beyond that as to become a fully fledged fantasy classic on its own merits. Give it a read - you will not regret it.
Woah, woah, woah. Guess what. The golden compass, is FICTION. Evryone knows what that means, right? It is not real. Its just a story. It has absolutely nothing to do with God. Quit freaking out and saying you hate this book because your religious. If you dont like it because you think it attacks god, that doesnt mean it isnt a good story. Im christian, too, i understand, believe me. But all of you are overreacting. If you dont agree with it, leave it alone. Its not like one series will destroy your entire religion. Its not like its trying to prove god isnt real. Its just a fantasy. And all of you who dislike it because you think that just wont look past your church to see reality. Its obvious. Instead of making a hateful comment like the church tells you not to do, just read something else for god's sake.
The Golden Compass is a thrilling book. I highly suggest reading it. This book leaves you hanging and craving for more of Pullmans brillance. Lyra and her deamon,Pan, captivate you in there world and you never want to leave. Pullman manages to suck you up in this book and make you never want to leave the adventure.
"...I definitely stayed up way too late on some nights, just because I didn't want to put the book down, and I was a little sad when I finished it; it ends with a lot of action and mystery, and I look very forward to reading the second book in the trilogy so I can find out what happens next for Lyra and Pan, and see who, if any, of the other characters might also be around. If you've seen the movie, but have not yet read the book - read the book. Seriously. As much as I enjoy the movie, I was pleased to find out that the book has even more action and adventure, and more mystery as well! You're definitely cheating yourself if you haven't read this yet, and I wish I hadn't taken so long to get to it..." For full review, please visit me at Les Livres on Blogger: jaimeliredeslivres dot blogspot dot com
I really liked this book. Phillip Pullman is incredably original in all of his ideas. In my oppinion at least. I suggest this book to anyone who liked Ender's Game or Harry Potter, though they're not alot alike.
I loved this book and then passed it on to my niece. A great adventure with great characters. The movie version was a disappointment except that the cast was well chosen. I also thought Pullman's presentation of a different understanding of the interface between religious and scientific understanding quite interesting and worth pondering. Highly recommended no matter at what level you read. I recommend Pullman's other books as well. Great series.
The Golden Compass is a tangled web that has many problems that make you feel that this book should not have been a Fantasy book for children, but overall Philip Pullman was able to make a book that is able to shine through the problems that it has. The Golden Compass is about a young girl named Lyra and her Daemon Pan, (daemons are animals that are born with there human and there appearances are judged by the persons personality), but because Lyra is so young, Pan has no full form yet. Lyra is a young brunet haired girl who is content to cause problems for the scholars and servants, Lyra lives in a world were churches and scholars rule most of Europe and every person has a Daemon. I can relate to Lyra because she feels that she does not know her own past. Lyra also has a so called uncle called Lord Asriel (a powerful scholar who Lyra fears and respects) Lord Asriel is a powerful man who has many ties with Jordan college. Lord Asriel daemon is a snow lion, Lyra meets a young women named Mrs. Coutler who is a proud scornful women. Her daemon is a golden monkey who also has a short temper. The Golden Compass takes place in a parallel Europe, were the countries are controlled by churches and scholars. People in this world all have animals that are called daemons that are a part of them. This is very important! This story centers around Lyra who is very hyper and begins her quest to save her friend Hennery and find the truth. Unfortunately the author made a mistake with this book that was meant for children. In a later interview Philip Pullman stated that with this book he had killed God, and claims that the gobblers in this story are actually churches in the real world. This did make enjoy the book a little less when I learned of this. Still this book was made to be about truth, love, and courage I also learned from this book that everyone has his/her own problems and must fix them, the conclusion of this book leaves many things open to for the next story.
The other reviews pretty much lay out the storyline. But another angle that appeals so much to me is: 'Why do we do what we do?' Entertwined are the themes of family, love, religion, adventure and right/wrong; all presented from the point of view of a wonderfully resourceful heroine, in an amazing setting, described by the author in a way that makes you feel as if you ARE THERE. All ages will relate differently to this book, which I believe makes it destined to be one of the best reads ever. If you enjoy this book AT ALL -- please read the last two books in the trilogy: 'The Subtle Knife' and 'The Amber Spyglass'. AND THEN re-read 'The Goldan Compass' to finish tying up all the ends and thinking about all the intricacies!
I normally "hate" young adult novels due to flat characters, melodrama, and cookie-cutter writing. The Golden Compass is NONE of these things as is just as exciting for adults. The prose is beautiful, the characters are lively and loveable, and it raises many moral questions - not about "God vs Satan" as other reviewers have suggested, but ethical questions about love, choice, morality, freedom, and self responsibility. I was beyond disappointed when I finished this book - and the series - because the adventure was over. This book will make you laugh, cry, and everything in between.
This book is, at its most basic level, an incredibly rich story. But it is so much more than that; it truly is an intricate fabric woven of threads of philosophy, religion, physics, and fantasy. It is not an athiest's Bible. It merely is a story that calls into question things that should never simply be accepted. Religion is meaningless without some adversity and questioning. True faith is being faced with opposing views and remaining firm in your own. So read this outstanding book and look at it not as an assault on religion, but rather as a way to reaffirm your faith while stretching your mind.
The Golden Compass is a great book. I loved it so much because the idea of the compass. I think that sometimes having a daemon would be so cool. I really like Iorek Byrnison he is probably my favorite character. The Golden Compass is a wonderful book about a young girl named Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon or for short Pan. Lyra is put in the care of a wonderful lady named Mrs. Coulter but then she finds the truth with a amored bear named Iorek. Lyra and Iorek must help every kid from a horrible thing. This book is a wonderful fantasy book with great characters, a wonderful plot and a twist.
This is most def an odd book but once u get into it you cant put it down. Great series.
This book is fantastic and quite moving by itself, but it also serves as a gateway to the sequels (The Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass) which are by far richer and more complex. After reading this trilogy (quite a few years ago) I started reading other books by Pullman and he is now one of my favourite authors. I recently bought the deluxe version and look forward to reading them again. It's a must!
When this book was suggested to me, I was told it was written as a children's book. While I am sure that children would enjoy the story, I am not convinced that they would understand most of depth of the story (the part that makes it so good). For the adult reader, this series is very deep in that it discusses the government/church of Lyra's world and how much we should trust authority organizations. Lyra has to decide who she has to trust--the people who have been in her life forever or the people she meets on her journey whom her gut tells her to trust. You will need to read the other two books to fully appreciate the complexity and brillance of the story.
I decided to read this book after the movie (along with all it¿s controversy) came to theaters. What better way to judge a book than to read it for yourself? At first I didn¿t think I was going to like the book. It was okay, but it didn¿t pull me in from the start. I also found the beginning a bit confusing. In one aspect that works with the story as we view the story through Lyra¿s eyes, and she knows very little of the world outside of Oxford where she grew up. However, it took a long time for Pullman to explain what daemons are and the sort of laws or taboos that come with them. When he finally does describe them, we only get small bits at a time, so a complete picture isn¿t created until at least halfway through the book. I really began to enjoy the book from about the time Lyra meets an armored bear, Iorek Byrnison, to the end. That is where I began to feel connected to the characters and that drive to finish just so I could know what happened. That alone makes me want to read the rest of the series. As far as the controversy is concerned (I am aware that most of it stems from the third book), Pullman doesn¿t hide the fact that the Magisterium is essentially a branch of the Catholic Church. The Magisterium also conducts experiments on children which may also be open to controversy. Neither of these things bothered me when I read the book, but it might bother other people, so keep that in mind when deciding to read this book.
This book is too dark for children. The miss quoted Bible verses made me want to stop reading, but I have obligations that required me to read the entire book.
This is by far my favorite fantasy -- intelligent, unique, and despite having a child protagonist, excellent reading for adults.
The story line and the characters and absolutly amazing. The idea of daemons and gyptians and Dustare as good as the world of Harry Potter. Thank you for this wonderful read and the insspiration for a stunning movie, but I will be back to Harry
I HAVE NEVER READ SUCH A BEAUTIFUL BOOK IN MY LIFE
I absolutely loved this series!
The book The Golden Compass, written by Philip Pullman, was published on 1995. Is a fantasy novel taking place on a different world where everyone has a daemon. A daemon is a animal that is part of your soul and when you get older the animal takes one shape. The book follows Lyra Belacqua a clever, witty girl who decides to travel to the north to save her friend. Along the way Lyra experiences dust, Gobblers and other things. Lyra also meets many allies and faces off against many enemies that she is able to beat in an interesting way. In Lyra’s adventures she meets plenty of interesting characters that make the book interesting and fun to read. like Iorek Byrnison, a polar bear who was outcasted from his society and becomes great friends with Lyra after she gets his armor back. Another character is Fader Coram who acts like Lyra’s mentor and helps her accomplish reading the alethiometer, a device that can tell you anything you need to know if you know how to read it, which gives Lyra an edge over her enemies. There are plenty of more great characters, but the most interesting one is Lyra. Lyra even though she is only eleven is more clever than any adult. She is able to trick the bears even though one says,”We see tricks and deceit as plain as arms and legs”(226). Lyra is able to find weaknesses in most people and use them to her advantage. Like when she is able to see her captors are not very organised and use it to her advantage to escape. Lyra is easily one of the smartest kids in a book I’ve ever read. It is almost unrealistic. Another way the story is interesting is through the style of the writing. The story is written from third-person but the narrator never talks, the narrator just records what everyone is saying. To describe the scene Pullman has Lyra talking to her daemon and that will let you perfectly understand what is going on. Here is an example of Pullman’s writing style is “Where are we going to sleep, Pan? she said as they trudged down a street of closed and shuttered shops. A doorway somewhere. Don’t want to be seen though. They’re all so open though. There’s a canal down there…”(101). Pullman’s writing style is very unique way of writing that I have never seen before. And would like to see more of the writing style. Another aspect of the book I like is that a huge part of it is about religion. What i think is cool is that he is able to incorporate it but the book isn’t full of religion instead he just talks about it in a few pages but something from religion still affects the whole book. Also the theme focuses on religion. In the The Golden Compass one of the main themes is religion. The book talks about original sin and what would happen if we destroyed original sin. “That’s original sin. And I’m going to destroy it. Death is going to die." Even though it takes place in another world it talks about religion in our world. Another theme is that there is no good or evil. In the book we follow Lyra and assume she is told we don’t know if her enemies are doing the right thing or not. We just know Lyra doesn’t think it’s the right thing. Overall, I like the book. If you enjoy a fantasy book, with a major plot twist around the corner. And an interesting and dynamic character. You will love The Golden Compass book and you will be guaranteed to love Pullman’s writing style. I hope that you like The Golden Compass.
Yeah. Ask why her bff was making out
Follow the brave Lyra into the beginning of an epic adventure.