The Golden Compass
Del Rey, 1999 (1996)
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
his is the first novel in Pullman's trilogy
His Dark Materials
, a magical new fantasy. It introduces 11 year old Lyra Belacqua. She grows up a precocious orphan tormenting the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford in a world parallel to ours, in which everyone has their own daemon, an animal familiar. Lyra runs wild with her best friend, kitchen boy Roger until the beautiful Mrs. Coulter takes her under her deceitful wing, the Master of the College gives her an alethiometer which can reveal truth, and Roger disappears along with countless other children stolen by the Gobblers.
yra is determined to save her friend and to free her imprisoned father Lord Asriel. She finds out that Mrs. Coulter is not what she seems and flees with her daemon Pantalaimon. Lyra travels to the far North with help from the gyptians (gypsies) and witches, and meets and befriends the witch Serafina Pekkala, balloonist Lee Scoreby and armored polar bear king Iorek Byrnison. In Lyra, Pullman gives us a credible and engaging heroine, a steadfast little girl with a very big heart. This is a story for all ages, and one to read through the night. Don't miss it.
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