The Golden Compass is the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman. This novel follows young Lyra as she tries to discover more about the world that she lives in, why things are the way that they are, and who exactly she is. I was a bit biased coming into this book, having heard that is the “atheist’s Narnia” and such. To be honest, I wasn’t quite sure what that meant. And I’m still not sure! I picked up the book with the intention of reading it for enjoyment, for the fantasy and characters and great story that I have heard Philip Pullman could write. I got sucked in in the beginning, loving Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. After 100 pages or so, I got a bit confused and bored and put the book down for a bit. Once I picked it up again, I raced through it, wanting to find out who would triumph in the end. It wasn’t until I got to the end that I realized there was way more to the story than I had even considered. After I put the back down, my husband asked me, “What’s wrong?” I simply replied, “I totally didn’t get it.”
I am not a philosophical thinker. I understand life and human nature at their basic levels, but I am not one to sit and ponder. Yes, I understand the spiritual dimension and correlations of the Chronicles of Narnia, but that mostly comes from being raised in the church. For a series like His Dark Materials, I’m afraid it would take many readings to understand the depth of the world that Pullman has created. Have any of you, my readers, enjoyed this series? I would love to hear more about your experience and your insight into these novels.
The Golden Compass
by Philip Pullman
Originally published in 1995