The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials

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The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials

by PHILIP PULLMAN

Random House Children's Books | May 22, 2001 | Trade Paperback

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials is rated 4.7788 out of 5 by 104.
Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is a masterwork of storytelling and suspense, critically acclaimed and hailed as a modern fantasy classic.

This Yearling paperback edition includes 15 pages of bonus material: some found letters of Lord Asriel, his scientific notes and other archival documents. This edition also features artwork by Philip Pullman at the opening of each chapter.

New York Times Bestseller
Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
 
"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times

"Superb . . . all-stops-out thrilling." --The Washington Post

"A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"The Golden Compass is one of the best fantasy / adventure stories that I have read. This is a book no one should miss." --Terry Brooks

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 432 pages, 7.63 × 5.13 × 1 in

Published: May 22, 2001

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0440418321

ISBN - 13: 9780440418320

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fantasy for Youth and Adults! If it weren’t for my book club, “The Golden Compass” is probably a book I would never have decided to read. I picked up a copy of the book from the library, only to have my 22 yr old daughter start it and tell me I was going to have to get another copy if I wanted to have it read in time for my next book club meeting. So I did...and I started reading with mixed feelings, wondering how a fantasy novel written for youth was going to capture my attention. Twenty pages in and I was hooked. I thought the language might be intended for younger readers, but it’s really not...this book is well written and challenges you to think. With all the religious controversy that I heard about this book I was prepared for that aspect, but instead found myself not necessarily paying any attention to anything but the story that the author, Philip Pullman, is telling. To end this review: I loved “The Golden Compass”...I fell in love with the Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon...with the armoured bear, Iofur Raknison...with Farder Coram. I have the second and third book in the trilogy waiting for me...after the quick mystery that I decided to fit in first.
Date published: 2011-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eat your heart out CS Lewis! Far from your typical wish-fulfillment type adventure story for children, in which an ordinary kid discovers he or she has been endowed with a magical weapon or power or whatnot, and sets out to become a hero - His Dark Materials is a series for youngsters with some real philosophical and existential meat to it. It is no mere magic sword or treasure map discovered by Lyra our wiley protagonist, nor the magical ability to fly or turn invisible. What she learns instead, is that her enigmatic Uncle is conspiring to wage war against God. What she finds to get her started on her journey - an instrument called an alethiometer which allows her to decipher the truth in all matters of cosmology and discourse. This is a story at it's heart about truth and free will -- the value of real human volition. This is no Percy Jackson and certainly no Narnia -- Hallelujah, Amen. Add to this impressive pseudo-Miltonian plot, this not-so morally cut and dried counter-thesis to CS Lewis' didactic Narnia series - a highly inventive Victorian steampunk fantasy world complete with airships, bow-wielding flying witches and a society of armour-sporting polar bears warring for dominance in the North Pole, and you've got yourself a pretty badass fantasy trilogy that children and adults seeking a more humanistic approach to fantasy will enjoy sinking their teeth into. Okay fine, most kids aren't going to read this for the treatise on doing away with church made fabrications about the afterlife in order to focus on bettering the world at our finger tips in the present -- the life we have in front of us right now, but I think they'll sure as hell enjoy the armoured Polar Bears. I most certainly did, and then some. I found the Golden Compass to be the most enjoyable installation, mostly for the physical distance covered in the actual journey and the compelling darkness of the ending. The Trilogy ends up playing out as an endorsement of free will over pious servitude. The fall of Adam and Eve is regarded by Pullman, as a positive event in mythology rather than the troublesome origin of all ill-fortune as is viewed by tradition. This is the kind of story most kids with devout church going parents will want to smuggle in from the library and read with a flashnight beneath the sheets at night. And don't watch the movie. It's crap.
Date published: 2011-01-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great! The book was great! A bit too religious. First book.
Date published: 2010-02-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good This was a good book there where some parts that seemed to drag on for a little bit but other then that it ways very good with a lot of interesting plot twists.
Date published: 2009-12-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from absolutely wonderful This series is my favorite, it is a clinging suspensfull awesome book, and if you don't read this book you really are missing out, Philip Pullman is my favorite author, these books won't let you down! Buy them! seriously. A must read for any age.
Date published: 2009-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from absolutely wonderful This series is my favorite, it is a clinging suspensfull awesome book, and if you don't read this book you really are missing out, Philip Pullman is my favorite author, these books won't let you down! Buy them! seriously. A must read for any age.
Date published: 2009-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Warning: This book is brilliant! I am a Christen and I stil love this book (and the whole series). The book didn't make me change my opinions about God or anything, it's just a book. I don't know why Christians or Catholics (or anyone who believes in a God) hate is so much.
Date published: 2009-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from an ok start the start of teh series that was so highly reccomended to em from my brother turned out to have a dissappointing begining. it was ok but not what i was expecting out of it. the first one lacked something that the others had although the ending for the first one is very cliff hanger if you like that sort of thing. I would reccomend this only cause the rest of teh series was good
Date published: 2009-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from had to read all three Once I finished this book I had to go on to read the other two right away. I also found out that some side stories are out there in the cutiest hardcover format. So, of coarse, I had to read them too. I love the way Pullman writes. It draws you right into the story and does not let you go until it is finished with you.
Date published: 2008-10-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fabulous Lyra is a 12 year old girl who has been raised at Jordan College in Oxford by scholars. She has been somewhat neglected and hence has become a 'wild' child. She plays with Roger, one of the kitchen maid's sons. When Lyra sneaks into the retiring room and catches sight of the Aurora Borealis and visions of an alternate world, she is excited beyond belief. Roger disappears one day and Lyra is terribly concerned. Soon thereafter she is apprenticed to a Mrs. Coulter who is planning a trip to the Arctic. Before long however, Lyra finds out that Mrs. Coulter is really one of the people who are snatching children off the streets. The rumors of what are done with these children are horrendous. Lyra begins a real adventure and rescue. Pullman has created a fantasy world that is wonderful. Each human has a daemon who is attached for life. Animals talk, witches fly and there are polar bear kings. All the stuff of a really good 'fairy' tale.
Date published: 2008-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fabulous! Lyra is a rebellious child who has grown up in a college with scholars because her parents were killed in an accident. She doesn't care to learn much, but would rather explore, play with her friends, and make fun of the scholars. Her daemon, Pantalaimon, has not yet taken a permanent form because Lyra is still a child. Each person in the world has a deamon, an animal that is the soul of the person, showing their emotion, defending their human counterpart and speaking to them. When Lyra hides in a closet as her uncle comes over, she learns about the North and sees a child standing beside a man with a stream of dust coming out of the sky. Lyra is in awe and wants to travel to the North. She soon gets her chance when a woman asks Lyra to become her assistant in preparation for travelling North. But soon Lyra learns that there's more going on in the North than just scientific experiments. Children are being snatched from their home and they are never found, but there are rumors. Rumors of experimentation on children and their daemons. For a fantasy novel, I was surprised at what a page turner this book was. It doesn't take too long to understand the alternate world that Pullman has created and get completely enveloped in it. The ending, however, isn't too satisfactory but this is because there's a book #2 and #3. I'm looking forward to reading the next one and seeing what else Lyra gets up to. She's a smart girl for a 12 year old!
Date published: 2008-09-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Compelling Fairytale A hypnotic, compelling fairytale, despite the difficulties of the opening segments. Destined to become a classic across all age groups. Phillip Pullman creates a story set on an alternate Earth, in an alternate Oxford and London, England, that takes Lyra Belacqua, Oxford ward and hellian, into the perils of the Arctic and the mysteries of the Aurora Borealis. While some of the concepts in the novel are not new and are predictable (a king lost then found; villains who end up related to the protagonist), others are deliciously novel or at least presented with a novel twist. The writing is tight, and after the ponderous and confusing first segments the story suddenly coalesces and launches the reader on an adventure of high proportions. I found myself turning pages and hungering to return. Some of the segments and concepts are indeed very dark, quite adult if moralistic, and perhaps a bit mature for children, although certainly I would recommend the novel to ages 13 to 90. Overall a very good read.
Date published: 2008-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from NOT just for kids! This book is really wonderful! I am personally a bit of a Harry Potter freak (and a nerd :) ) and this stands up to it. The story is much darker, and also has a great deal of depth and very interesting themes. This would be a fab book for a book club, lots of great and dynamic discussions can be had.
Date published: 2008-07-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Refreshing Fantasy Philip Pullman excels in the telling of the tale of Lyra Belacqua, a girl who has lived most of her life in Jordan College of Oxford of the late eighteen hundreds. When hidden in the wardrobe in the male-only Retiring Room with her daemon, Pantalaimon (basically her conscience in the form of an animal), Lyra witnesses the Master of the College pouring a poison in her uncle Asriel's wine. When the Master leaves, Asriel enters, and Lyra makes herself known to her uncle, telling him about the wine. Asriel spills the wine and shows the Scholars of Jordan College some photograms of his strange discoveries he found in the North, something called Dust. The tale escalates from here and with many twists in the plot, it was very unpredictable, surprising, and a wonderful tale.
Date published: 2008-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This is one of the best novels I have read in a long long time. Once I picked up the book I could not but it down You should buy the whole trilogey.
Date published: 2008-04-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Question Everything After all the talk about Pullman's supposed anti-Catholicism or anti-Christianity or atheism or whatever one wants to label it, I approached The Golden Compass (known originally as Northern Lights) with an open mind and found something other than what I'd been told to expect. I found elements that questioned Christianity and Catholicism and the nature of God and its works, but I also found elements that questioned parental authority, the ethical and practical roles of Science, and the nature of good and evil. And it is this consistent questioning that I see as the message of Pullman's first book of "His Dark Materials" -- not any of those supposedly dangerous messages that were focused on during the movie's release. The notion that we should question everything, even if we are children -- or especially if we are children -- is one of the most important messages humankind can hear, and one of the hardest for us to learn or employ. Most people simply do not want to question. It takes work; it takes struggle; it takes strength, and far more strength than unquestioning faith or simple acceptance require. The fact that Lyra questions everything around her at all times is her salvation. And ours if we would only learn the lesson. Say what you like about Pullman's story, but regardless of your religion or politics or economics or taste he does something brave that needs to be respected -- he challenges us to think about everything. I understand that he doesn't maintain the amazing level of The Golden Compass, nee Northern Lights, in the books that follow, but I am compelled to read them to see for myself. I think Pullman would appreciate that.
Date published: 2008-03-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fantastic Adventure! 'The Golden Compass' is hailed as a modern classic and for good reason. Pullman had created a world so beautifully that we feel as if we are a part of it. The relationship between person and daemon is described with such flourish that you can feel the Lyra's pain and horror at the cruely of the 'Gobblers'. A must read for any lover of fantasy and adventure!
Date published: 2008-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Will pull you in Though marketed as a children's fantasy, this book does deal with some mature themes, making it great for all ages. It has a very pure method of sucking you into this world, great for escapists of all ages!
Date published: 2008-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Darker than the movie makes it better If you like Harry Potter, then I definitely recommend checking out the His Dark Materials trilogy from Phillip Pullman! I had seen The Golden Compass in theatres this past Christmas and knew I had to read the book. It definitely did not disappoint me. The main character, Lyra Belacqua, is a fun trickster who is definitely smarter than HP while still being sweet and sensitive. In this fantasy world, every person has a daemon, an animal that is sort of their "soul" and an outward expression of their feelings as well as a helpmate. Lyra's journey begins at an Oxford college and takes her throughout an alternate northern Europe, leading to her meeting many strange and endearing characters, while unravelling a mystery and rescuing her good friend Roger. A caution: the book ends up being a lot darker than the movie, which I appreciated but did not expect. Best to take this book and clear your reading schedule of others so that you can truly appreciate the world that the author has created. I'm taking a break in between this one and the next so I can make the adventure last longer!
Date published: 2008-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful audio production This is an excellent audio production of a great book. The author himself is the narrator and there is a full cast playing all the voices. It's very enjoyable to listen to, and it's unabridged so you're not missing out on any of the detail of the book. Definitely worth listening to.
Date published: 2008-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from For mature children I thought this book was very good- reading it as an adult. I think I would think twice about giving it to the suggested age group- as some parts are quite graphic and violent. It has a very strong female hero- a great thing to see in a book!
Date published: 2008-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A good one to share I picked this one up because it was so popular among my students. It's a great read for 12 year-olds... an intriguing story to keep them interested and high-quality writing to keep them challenged. Pullman conjures up a world that is familiar enough to resonate, but different enough to pique curiosity and provoke thought.
Date published: 2008-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definitely a Surprise! A friend told me about the book a few years ago, and I finally read it. Why did I wait so long! This book invites you into Lyra’s world. Chapter by chapter you continue to turn the pages to unravel the mystery…. now I’m anxiously anticipating the next book.
Date published: 2008-01-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Fantasy Book worth reading! I have to admit...I am a huge fiction reader. From mysteries, suspense, thrillers...well you get the drift :-) I picked up this book over the Christmas season on a whim. I had heard about the controversies surrounding the release of the movie but I didn't really know what it was based on. From the first page I was hooked! The writing is superb. The imagination and creativity take you to another world filled with witches, talking bears and great action!! I am currently reading the 2nd book in this series and it is just as good! You WILL enjoy reading this series...guaranteed!
Date published: 2008-01-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Buy The Whole Series at Once I've heard so many good things about His Dark Materials trilogy, so I had a feeling I would be kicking myself for not buying all three books at once. When I bought this one, my first though was: "If I end up liking this book and don't have the others ready to read right after this, I'll probably be really ticked." It's pretty much ended up that way. Despite the book seemingly being written with children in mind, it's still a great story for fantasy lovers. I really liked this and can't wait to get my hands on the others.
Date published: 2008-01-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from wonderful tale I would strongly urge anyone who plans to watch this movie to read the book first. It is a great book and I can't wait to read the sequels.
Date published: 2008-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than Potter! This is an excellent book - although I would say it is for older children (say > 12) as there is violence and death. I was absolutely glued to the book. Although I don't think it drew me in as much as the Potter books, I feel the writing is better, as is the imagery created by the detailed descriptions provided by Pullman. This does draw you into the story - and gives you a good opportunity to create pictures in your own mind of exactly how the scenes and characters should look. I have since read the remaining 2 stories - highly recommended. Warning: in one of the books an adult kills a child to gain his own ends - this could be an issue re: children reading the story. In addition, if you are religious, keep in mind that religion in this book is viewed very negatively - controlling and the killer of creative thought. Still, my 13 year old daughter read it and loved all of the books - she was totally unaware of the religious significance of much of the book. Excellent and recommended!
Date published: 2008-01-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good A really good book. The beginning was a little slow, but once the ball got rolling, it was impossible to stop. Force yourself to read the first few chapters, and you won't be able to put it down.
Date published: 2008-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Children's Book for all Ages The book, and movie (I must admit) were both delightful. The book was very original and is unlike any book or literary piece I have ever read. The movie, which came out recently, was very well made and although it didn't end in the same manner the book did, it followed the storyline nicely. As for the Catholic School Boards who banned this book, they read too much into the meaning of everything, just relax and read along, it's a Kid's book, nobody takes it that seriously, or literally. It's a work of fiction, and although Mr. Pullman said is was 'real' he simply meant that it is a real experience of a character growing up and trying to find herself. Daemons are simply part of the character's souls, and whether or not people decide that, after they have read the book, they have daemons as well, that is not the author's fault, simply it is the reader's fault. People need to learn the difference between fiction and reality, and stop banning this book. Have fun reading!!
Date published: 2008-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best fantasies At first when I started reading this novel, I wasn't sure if it was going to be interesting or not but after a few chapters it got really good. The story was very interesting with all the daemons and alternative universe. This is a book that I recommend for all fantasy lovers of all ages. It's a must read book.
Date published: 2008-01-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite book of all time This is not just a book - it is a work of art; it paints a beautiful picture of different universes and a child's imagination and bravery as she takes on many different adventures. It is not only a very exciting book, but it's also very captivating. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves adventure/fantasy books and want one you can't put down!
Date published: 2008-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome book... This is one of the best books that I have ever read! I am only 13 years old (12 when I read it) and I think that it was just an awesome book. I cant wait until I can watch the movie, I hope that it is as good as the book. ^_^
Date published: 2007-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Suffering From Harry Potter Withdrawl? (www.thebookblog.ca) Lyra has lived in Jordan College since she can remember. She’s your normal young girl, very mischevious and an incredible liar. Lyra is a very different person for a writer to pick as their protagonist. She has an insatiable curiousity about the happenings of the North, where people have been discovering things about Dust and other universes, but she doesn’t quite understand it all. What she does know is that many children her age are beginning to disappear, including her good friends. Lyra also soon discovers that the woman who takes her in as her protege may have something to do with it. This book is hard to summarize, because everything gives something away. I’m sure the succeeding books won’t make things any easier. After reading The Golden Compass myself, I am going to be much more reluctant to recommend it to younger children. The way I see it is that once you’ve read all of Harry Potter, you’re ready for His Dark Materials. An older audience will understand much, much more of it than the younger will, and the faint of heart might want to think about it before picking this one up. This series is not written to be read individually; if you choose to pick it up, be prepared for a three-book investment. If you have read Harry Potter and you’re looking for a new series to satisfy your fantasy craving, this is definately what you need to read...
Date published: 2007-12-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from It Was OK. Not as Good as the Hype Lower class children are disappearing and when Lyra finds that her friend is missing she wants to find him and get him back. Lyra becomes caught up in her new life but eventually realizes that all is not as it seems and those she trusts are involved with the disappearance of the children. Lyra goes on a quest which ultimately results in her following her destiny. I wanted to like this book much more than I did. Honestly, I wasn't even close to blown away. The story was slow to start. Lyra was the only fleshed-out main character and I wasn't fond of her at all. Boring is the word that comes to mind. The book also ends with a cliff-hanger which is a technique I really do not appreciate. I'm not saying this was a bad book though. Once the the pace picked up, I did find the story interesting and parts did read quickly. I'm finding it difficult to write this review as nothing really stood out to me as being great. It was ok; and I will be reading the next book, and most likely the last.
Date published: 2007-12-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from HUGE hit! I read before anyone could imagine...5 years ago. Happy that it's a hit. It should be, a book this good can't hide forever. The series I've read, best I've ever read. Just read and trust me most people will because of the movie. But read it before you watch. The movie still can't compare to the book. Though the movie is good..not great!
Date published: 2007-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read I read The Golden Compass after seeing the trailer for the movie and already knowing the name of the movie without reading the book or seeing the name in the trailer, I figured I should go and read the book, and before the movie came out. And I'm glad I did. Lyra is an amazing little girl, and Pan sounds like a very interesting daemon. The adventure that they go on is incredible for their age. The whole book was interesting, and I couldn't put it down. The different worlds, which you learn a lot more about in the other two books, is something that I liked reading about, as well as Dust and finding out what it really "was". I also liked learning more Lyra's Uncle. People are saying a lot about the "religion" subjects it has and that they wouldn't let there kids read it. But really, its a book. A book can't change your mind on something unless you let it, and its fiction. Just read an enjoy.
Date published: 2007-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What would your daemon be? Imagine a world where you are constantly attached to an animal companion. This creature is like your soul, attuned to your needs and its ultimate appearance is dependant on your personality. This is the world of Lyra. She lives in Oxford amongst the scholars of this outstanding institution. However Lyra's Oxford and her world is much different from ours. In Lyra's world everyone has a daemon which is an animal companion that has to stay with their human at all times, any seperation causes pain to both and can even lead to death. In Lyra's world there are flying witches and warring polar bears. Magic is all around and Lyra is about to become an integral part in a convergence of events. When she decides to go looking for her best friend who has vanished like so many other children Lyra starts to learn about the secrets of her world and the lies that revolve around everything she knows. I always recommend this title to anyone who has read and enjoyed Harry Potter or any other fantasy title. For me, Pullman's "Dark Materials" trilogy surpasses Rowling's work and I can only hope that the new movie increases the popularity of his books. This is a great read for people who love to stretch their imagination and discover new worlds where magic and fantasy exists.
Date published: 2007-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Great Read. This book was one of the best books I have ever read. When I saw that is was reccomended for 10-12 year old I was suprised. Even if a 10 year old could read this book they would proboly never understand what it was about or what the people are saying. Out of the series this was for sure my favorite. I also really hope they do a good job of the movie because it would be a very hard book to make into the movie. If they do mess the movie up I will be very dissapointed. I hope that someone that can change the sight will change the age group for this book please.
Date published: 2007-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting and different It's a pretty good book although there are times when I thought I was undergoing a lesson in theology and just wandering off the deep end. I'm still confused as to what Dust is. Also, I was a little surprised to find this book in the kiddie section considering there are parts in the book where it is rather graphic (then again..aren't young children playing Manhunt 2?) Other than those points I mentioned, I enjoyed this book, I liked the relationship characters had with their daemons and the magic mixed with the somewhat modern technology (ie machine guns). Reminds me of other novels I've read. I'll be looking forward to reading the other two.
Date published: 2007-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not really for children When I read online that this book was recommended for kids between 10 and 12, I was very surprised: I've been dealing with Comparative Theology and Religious Belief for 20 years and had trouble understanding the concept of "Dust". I think the first reviewer overstates their case by calling it "psychotic religious nonsense", but conceptually, it is tough to follow: how many years and brain hours have been devoted to the concept of "original sin", and it remains a mystery! Furthermore, it begins badly: I had a VERY difficult time settling in, which is unusual for me, since this sort of fiction is my favourite genre. The only thing that kept me going is my own compulsive nature: I just CAN'T put away a book without reading to the end! Yup, I surely wind up reading through an awful lot of junk that way, but then sometimes I luck out as I did with "Golden Compass". I did not care one little bit about the protagonist or the book until half way through Chapter 3, when suddenly the first child she knows goes missing, and the "Gobblers" are introduced. By the way, LOVE the cocktail party where the name is properly explained! Perfect characterization of the type of social function it is AND of the people there - exceptionally well done! In fact, all of Pullman's characterizations are extradordinarily well drawn, even if it does take some time to care about Lyra, our heroine. I think the back jacket should contain a better description of the novel: what time period is involved; the fact that it is an alternate world; what daemons are, etc. It's true that all of those questions are eventually answered, but it takes a long time to sort out not only the players, but when and where the playing field is! I had a hard time following it, and I just don't see how a younger reader possibly could. You'd just have to accept everything at face value and plough on. As Lyra moves from one setting to the next, I found myself wishing he had kept up with the people in each place, as well as following her specific journey. Pullman is masterful in creating memorable people and believable dialogue: individuals you care about and would like to know more of. The subject matter does become quite dark however, and I really, really would not recommend this to a sensitive 10 or 12 year old child, even though Lyra is right at that age herself. Just as the Harry Potter series becomes very dark at the book "Goblet of Fire", and the movies lose their charming feel of "fun and games" in a world where magic is real; "Golden Compass" quickly becomes traumatic somewhere around Chapter 12 and the poor lost child. I cried for/with him, and I'll bet it would give a youngster nightmares for life! Overall I really recommend this book, but to an adult audience. I'm only sorry I didn't find it sooner.
Date published: 2007-11-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from argh! i personally did not enjoy this book although some parts were interesting. this book sort of dragged on. i recommend u read and buy eragon. its worth every penny!
Date published: 2007-04-09
Rated 1 out of 5 by from absolute worst Could someone writing a book for teenagers comeup with a story that actually coherently captures the true essence of reality, without poisoning us without too much psychotic religious nonsense. I hate the idea of someone actually spending time and making money churning out these horrific creations. Why not spend your time writing something that actually makes sense unlike this dull and worthless book. This almost makes me want to throw things including this book into a fire especially designed for removing garbage like this from the earth. The only possible thing they could comeup with that outweighs the stupidity of this book is a movie of the same name, which unfortunately is already in production.
Date published: 2006-11-15
Rated out of 5 by from IndigoKids Recommends: Experts' Favourites A great suggestion if you liked Harry Potter or Eragon.
Date published: 2006-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remarkable If you are ready to embrace your wild side, than sit down and open up the first installment in Philip Pullman's remarkable series. This is the first book that has ever truly stuck to me, and I found it absolutly amazing. The very first person you truly meet is a youn spunky girl who goes by the name of Lyra Belacqua. Lyra starts her journey to hunt down her childhood friend Roger. Roger is only one of many children who are vanishing and being used in horridic experiments to seperate humans from their life long companions known as daemons. Daemons are animals that reflect each person's true self. What hurts Lyra the most is that her very own uncle is involved in all of this. Will Lyra save Roger? Will she even survive? Find out in this book that lets you truly see the north for what it is!
Date published: 2006-10-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Exciting, Fabulous, New! I loved this book! Though it is written for young adults and youth as an adult I truly enjoyed the unique storyline. I have never read a book quite like this and have yet to find one with such great plot ideas. The idea of a constant companion, a kind of guide for each character intigued me. Never have I looked at the world through such fantastic eyes as when I read this book. I would recommend it to anyone young or old.
Date published: 2006-08-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing The book "The golden compass" is an amazing fantasy I just got a couple of days ago. The book is about a young girl named Lyra who is determined to find her friend who was kidnapped and was used to experiment on. I definetly give this book a two thumbs up because of it's creativity and expressive writing about the thoughts of a little girl in trouble. I also like the book for it's desrciprive words and dialoge. I love books that go beyond reality and into a fantasy world where anything can happen. It lets my mind wander and i'm glad i picked this book off the shelf. Philip Pullman did an extraordinary job!
Date published: 2006-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not just for kids I loved this book, buy the whole trilogy, it's a keeper.
Date published: 2006-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everything you want in a book! I first read this book when I was twelve and loved it. I recently read it again and I still feel the same! This story, which is the first in Pullman's trilogy of "His Dark Materials", is not just for young readers. In this novel we discover Dust, an important and mysterious substance. Finish the trilogy and you'll be amazed and enlightened to find out exactly what it is.
Date published: 2006-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extraordinary Read!! My mother gave this book to me for Christmas years ago and I fell in love immediatly! I have read and reread it many many times, and it continues to be one of my most treasured books in my growing collection. There is such depth in the characters and the storyline...that it really makes you begin to wonder what life would be like with the subtle differences found in Lyra's World. A truly beautiful book, one that EVERY one should read!! Note: it stands as a great book on it's own, but the other two books are a must to read as well, as they finish off the story. To an ending that will break your heart....
Date published: 2006-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from outstanding read Philip pullman has realy out done him self in the amazing adventure of a girl named lyra and her deamon pan, what a great book to read.
Date published: 2005-12-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent At first I thought the book was really weird and I was missing something. The as I read on the book became very interesting. I loved it because there were so many twists and the end. It was a really good book!
Date published: 2005-06-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from FANTASTIC! This book is amazingly written! It will keep you in complete suspense for the whole story. Once you begin to read it, you will never be able to stop because of all the fantastic happenings!
Date published: 2005-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! The Golden Compass is filled with suspense and interesting fantasy from the works of a great author. This book will lead you to different worlds and show how one girl will make a big difference. This is one novel that you dont want to miss out on!
Date published: 2005-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book is AMAZING This book is so good. I read it on my summer vacation and I couldn't put it down. As soon as I finished it I wanted to read the next one. It is very detailed and the author has a great imagination. I would definetly recomend this book!
Date published: 2004-11-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My review on The Golden Compass The Golden Compass is one of the best books you can read! It is packed with tons of adventure, action and suspense. It is a book you will not want to miss out on reading!!! So go on, what are you waiting for, buy it. It won't be a mistake.
Date published: 2004-03-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must have This book is a must for any reader of any age. This book has everything: adventure, suspense, theological examination..... If you have not read it, go do so, you will not be dissapointed.
Date published: 2004-02-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read This book was fantastic, along with the entire series. Though it's long, it's still a pleasure to read. The fantasy was obviously there, but it seemed like it could be real. The author did an excellent job with the characters, you really felt that you knew them, and the story was amazing. The perfect amount of descriptions, so it wasn't dull. I don't normally read fantasy, but I think I've changed my mind!
Date published: 2003-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great book i thought this book was verry good, it had lots of adventure and was soooo interesting that i could't put it down i liked following lyra on her journey and i loved the 2 siquels. i would recomend this book to all my friens. this book was my favourite of the 3 even though i am only 1/2 way through the third book.
Date published: 2003-05-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Spectacular This was the most amazing book I have ever read, give it a couple chapters and you are unable to put it down, I have read it over and over again. It never ceases in its thrilling quality. Its spectactular and truely genius. I admire Philip Pullman and am in awe at his amazing imagination and intelligence.
Date published: 2002-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from GREAT GREAT GREAT! You'll definitely want to read this book. It's great for Teens, and even Adults. And make sure you read the other two books in the series, The Subtle Knife, and the Amber Spyglass.
Date published: 2002-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An Excellent Book For Everyone This book is a thorughly excellent read. For avid readers, this will complete your collection and for less avid readers, this is very enjoyable. The novel takes you through a compelling journey of a young girl and mixes adventure, science fiction and drama all into one amazing story. I highly recommend it for anyone aching for a good story.
Date published: 2002-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Greatest Book Ever The Golden Compass is by far the best book I have read, next to Harry Potter. This is the book that made me love to read and see the magic that comes from well written work. I love how the author made everything in the book seem so real that you seem to become the person in the book. A wonderful story!!!
Date published: 2002-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome! 'The Golden Compass' is the best book I have read in ages. You can't put it down. It's scary but very suspensful. It may be hard to understand but you will eventually figure it out. The Best Book of All Time For All Ages!!!!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2002-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating The Golden Compass was a great read. If you have read the first book, you have to read the sequels!! The plot just gets more twisted and interesting.
Date published: 2002-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass A masterful work, with suspence every step of the way. If you don't read this book you will never experience tue litteracy.
Date published: 2002-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best of the Best in fantasy...Magical You will be swept away in this story of a girl named Lyra, who starts out as a small orphan girl in Oxford, but who goes on a thrilling adventure. It's suspense keeps you turning the pages and longing for the sequel. Dont miss out on this enchantimg story!!!!
Date published: 2002-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass Rocks!! omg this was the best book ever! i picked it up and couldn't put it down, its a rock-em knock-em sock-em in-the-*** book that will keep you up all night long.
Date published: 2002-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass This book is awesome!!!!! It is just as good as Harry Potter if not better!! I am usually a fast reader but this one took 7 days to complete for me because I didn't want it to end! I am waiting in agony for my order of The Subtle Knife to come in, because I can't wait to find out what happens!
Date published: 2002-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 5 stars it is a very good book. totally breath takin and a twist of an end ,it will take you to a whole other world, filled with magic and mystery!
Date published: 2001-10-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass Rocks This book is a thriller it is like a roolercoaster because it twists and turns. It has you on the seat of your pants and you wont be able to put this book down !! It has a conclusion that is totally what you least expected !! THis is not compareble to Harry Potter because this is by far better than that. This is the best book ever seen in children's literature. I hope you take the time to read Philip pullman's Masterpiece. This book is the first in a set of three entitled His Dark Materials.
Date published: 2001-06-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Girl Power! This book was a story about courage, strength and wit. It's the story of a young hero, Lyra, on a quest to find the truth about her past and to find out about the Gobblers. This novel had depth, creativity and imagination beyond our beliefs. This novel was an excellent novel. You never knew what was going to happen or what was to become of our young hero who plenty of times, almost was captured and caught. What I loved most was how the author pictures the girl as the hero and the boy as the person in distress. Unlike many stories, the hero is always a brave man who sets out on a journey to save a fragile and weak girl. This book somewhat reflects on society and how we are changing. Women now can be pictured equal to men and taken more seriously. This book is more than just an adventure story. It shows the development of a young girl who began as a troublemaker, to a responsible growing girl who understands love and friendship. You’ll be sure that you’ll see me at Chapters buying the sequel to this novel.
Date published: 2001-05-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of the best books i have ever read but beware This is one of the best books I have ever read. The depth and detail put into this world matches(if not surpasses) anything done by Frank Herbert, JRR Tolkien, Terry Pratchet or CS Lewis. The story focus arround Lyra and her Daemon (the physical representation of her soul) Pantelimon. They must travel the world and work along side with gyptians, witches, armoured bears and many other strange and wounderfully people/creatures. The characters are amazing and all totally belivable. Although the story and characters are superb. I would advise caution to Christian parents. Go over this story yourself before letting your children read it. As Some of the Ideas Phillip Pullman expresses in this trilogy are spiritually dangerous. But this is still a great book. I feel that this book is a must read for anyone who enjoys great novels.
Date published: 2001-05-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pure Fantasy! This is one book you would NOT want to miss if you're a fantasy reader. It's the best book I've ever read. Un lire du suspense a ne pas manquer!
Date published: 2001-05-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from good, good, good This was an absolutely terrific, fantastic book. Anyone who can read well enough, even if you're an adult, should read it. The setting and characters, especially the daemons, are really good and well described and overall this book is just really, really, good.
Date published: 2001-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass the Golden compass was absolutely wonderful. I could feel every emotion twist and turn in the story , it was amazing. When i finished The Golden Compass I immediately thought where can i get the next book. I was so involved I couldn't put it down, I had to know what happened. This is one of the greatest books i've ever read almost as good as Harry potter.
Date published: 2001-04-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass This book starts with a girl in her normal life. Then it starts to tell of her abnormal life in Jordon College being brought up by scholars. Then it goes on to tell about Lyra's adventure to the north. This book is amazing and just as soon as you think the book can't get any better it does. This is an action pack adventure that is enjoyable for any age. As soon as you pick it up you won't want to put it down. It's absolutly amazing, so READ IT!!!
Date published: 2001-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderfully writen The Golden Compass showcases the great powers of imagination. Philip Pullman creativily ties in suspense with awesome character development to produce a wonderfully written novel. The Dust, daemons, witches, polar bears and arctic regions fit together perfectly, like a puzzle. Mr. Pullman has indeed put on a show for the reader: The Golden Compass.
Date published: 2001-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ThE bOmB!!! Hey! This is a book for more advanced readers but all the adventure is great! When first started reading it I was already excited it is really interesting right from the beginning when lyra.... well I wont tell u that !!
Date published: 2001-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Tale Unfolds This is a wonderful tale about a young girl named Lyra. She and her daemon are on a mission. A mission to stop the dreaded Gobblers. On her way she encounters armoured beas, mechanical bugs and finds out a horrible secret. Be sure to add this to your shelf. You'll want to read it again and again.
Date published: 2001-01-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Perilous Journey! Do you plan on ever going on a perilous journey? Well, now you can, by going on a perilous journey with Lyra and her many new friends. This is an exciting tale, of which you do not want to miss. As Lyra journeys on, she must make many new friends, face many new adventures, and outwit many frightning creatures. Don't miss this million dollar fantasy, for soon, this adventure will be gone!!!!!!!!!!
Date published: 2001-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Written A great read...he is an articulate writer; who makes you smell, taste, touch and feel where you are at. I can't put his books down! Love it.
Date published: 2001-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from InTrIgUiNg! WoW! ThIs BoOk WaS GrEaT! ReAlLy! i would recomend this book 2 anyone! But i think that the plot is gOOOd for a child...(i got the book in the 11 and UP section at chapters)...but the words and descriptions are two big for an 11 year old...(maybe a jordan collage scholar but not a kid)...even I a fairly smarter 13 year old had to look up some definitions in my trusty dictonary!...i found this book on the amazon(sorry*chapters) but i bought it at chapter store! and i loved it ever since i read the back of the book! troughly enjoyable and a beautiful work of art! pullman's descriptions are amazing --- i am goin tobagganing and i think even the veiw of the hill in my eyes won't be as magicacal as he descripes the aurora in the north!************** stars, ************** stars baby!
Date published: 2001-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a book This is an extraordinary book. Philip Pullman weaves an intricate story full of adventure, suspense and uncertainty. The reader has almost no time to catch their breath before Lrya and Pantaliamon plung into another adventure. If you ever have the oppertunity to read, I strongly suggest you do. Then don't forget to read the second and third installments!
Date published: 2001-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from ~**FANTASTIC**~ This book, from the beginning always drew me in, every night i would read it, page by page was adventure either in the collage, or lyra waggering war in the clay beds with her ragga muffin friends.The far north riding astrid the back of an armoured bear.Haven read this book two time i have always injoyed reading of politics and mystery of a different world. I love to read and when i started to read the Golden Compass, every word just captured me in a world very different from mine, when i read am in my own world,a video screen pertraying lyra and her deamon in great adventures. A world were my soul has it's own personality, were every where u turn is mystery, coning skills in tirckery. i throughly injoyed this book as well as the second book to lyras adventures in the unknown. Am waiting for anouther to here of faraway lands, lyra and pantalaimon.
Date published: 2000-12-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass This book is very well written. The book is mainly fantasy but as a fantasy story, it is very exciting to read. The book always has new adventures. You can't wait to see what will happen next, and the ending of the book just wants you to read the next one. The book is really good, and I think kids should read it. I would definatly say the book is excellent. Philip Pullman has written many good novels and would say that this book is one of the best-by far.
Date published: 2000-12-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Why to read the exotic adventures of Lyra I received this book a while ago, and from the first sentence to the last, I was amazed and delighted. The whole idea that a person could have their soul on the outside in the form of an animal was what drew me in, and the exitement of Lyra's adventures was what made me continue on. Lyra's character seems to beckon to the reader, as if you're actually there with her, experiencing what she is. I think Philip Pullman must have an enthralling mind to have thought of "His Dark Materials" trilogy. I recommend this book to all science-fiction lovers, young and old. I find that whenever I am engrossed in one of Mr. Pullman's books, I cannot stop til my fingers turn to the last page and my eyes read the words therein. I would gladly meet the auther, had I the chance, since anyone who can think of such wonderful novels with such facinating plots is obviously a man of interest! I aspire to be an author myself, when I am older, and I believe that being able to read Philip Pullman's novels will help to give me inspiration for my own books. In conclusion, this author writes books that are too wonderful to be described by any words, so I would encourage any and all to read one and form his or her own opinion that occured over the space of 300 pages.
Date published: 2000-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book was AWESOME! I started reading this book in the class with the teacher and I thought, "what boring sort of fantasy book could he have found now?" But as we read on, I realized, this book was cool! Lyra and Pantalamion went through many adventures together, making their world a better place and I can't wait until our teacher starts the Subtle Knife! I think it will be just as exciting as the first one!
Date published: 2000-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from This book was the bomb! From the minute I started reading this book I knew that it would be a book that would pull me in. I was really disappointed when it ended but now I am starting to read the second book, The Subtle Knife, and I know that it will be as good as The Golden Compass.
Date published: 2000-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Best Book Ever! My friend recommended this book to me, and when I started reading, I couldn't stop! Lyra goes on a marvelous adventure filled with tears, friendship, and laughter! Mostly when Lyra tells a lie to get away with something, I burst out laughing! I was only 12 but I recommend it to all ages, kids and adults. I hope everyone enjoys this book as much as I did.
Date published: 2000-10-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from YA GOTTA READ THIS BOOK!!!! This is like the best book if you like reading fantasy. It leaves your heart pumping and yearning for more every turning page... Pullman writes about things that no one can ever dream of, its plot is very twisty and complicated (in a good way of course). I'm only 14 and I LOVE THIS BOOK! It is recommended to all ages. There are a few tears and some shocking things happens to Lyra, the main character. You will learn to love her. I won't tell you what this book's about, so find out for yourself!
Date published: 2000-10-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass I only wanted to read a book longer than a regular sized young adult novel and stumbled across this book. It suprised me as to how exciting it was and how I just couldn't put it down. Now I can't wait for the last in the trilogy to come out, and I'm ordering it today.
Date published: 2000-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Perfect Pullman This is an excellent book! The author is magnificent at creating atmosphere, setting and characters! I recommend this to anyone who loves fantasy, and to anyone who wants a good read!
Date published: 2000-10-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from wow this is the best book i've evr read. it took me on a mystical journey along with the main character. i can't wait to read the last book in the trilogy
Date published: 2000-10-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Work of Art This book is an example of a truly great piece of literature. I love this book because it is filled with twists and turns of mystery, suspense and creativity. The plot is fascinating and it definitely leaves you wanting the next book! The whole book is proof that Philip Pullman is one of the outstanding writers of our generation!
Date published: 2000-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Fantasy A young girl named Lyra and her daemon (a physical manifestation of her soul) use the golden compass to battle the Gobblers. A very excitng book with many plot twists.
Date published: 2000-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from an awsome book! This is a wonderful book full of mystery, suspense, detail etc. this book is about a young girl named Lyra and her deamon Pantalaimon who set out on a journey north to save a friend. it's a beautifuly written book set in a completely different wourld than ours. You should definetly read this book. I love it!
Date published: 2000-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass I truly loved this book, it was of pure magnificence!
Date published: 2000-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great book to read... If you enjoy reading a delightful mix of dangerous adventure, dark suspense and even a lil' bit of romance then i highly recommend this novel. The plot of this book is that a young and curious girl named Lyra and her friends, the gypsies, go searching in the north for missing children. One of the abducted children happen to be Lyra's dear friend, Roger. A lot of mystery surrounds the complicated characters of this book. Characters such as Mrs. Coutler, Lyra's "uncle" the Lord, the bear and many others... This book combines rich, warm humour with dark secrets that leave you wanting to read the sequel.
Date published: 2000-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic...! This book is one of the best (if not _the_ best) books that I have ever read in my life and I truly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I'm sure you've heard this before, but this book is indeed amazing, the story, enticing, and the characters are truly well-developed. Read The Golden Compass, and you'll be enchanted, not to mention that you'll be dying to read the sequels.
Date published: 2000-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible!!!!!! This is probably the best book I have ever read!!!Lyra and her deamon Pantalaimon!! Such a mysterical and magical adventure!!! I just want to read this book this book in one whole day!!!This author is amazing, such creative imagination!!!Phillip Pullman fantastic job, keep up the magical work!!!
Date published: 1999-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from *Magical* Pullman is a true storyteller! It's a timeless adventure in a world so enchanted and original...it's a must-read! Pullman is right up there with CS Lewis and Guy Gavriel Kay. Once you read his books you'll be looking for more!
Date published: 1999-11-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful, Lyrical tale A joy-filled fantasy with a strong young female character. Unforgettable images and high adventure aimed at readers of all ages - though some scary bits might be too scary for children! Takes place in an England like our England but not quite...Full of magic and metaphor. Part one of a Trilogy.
Date published: 1999-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass This wonderful book crafted by Philip Pullman tells a tale of a parallel world to ours. Yet it is a very believable world where people's spirit is in the form of a daemon and it is believed that once a decision can go 2 ways it goes one way and another dimension is created where it went the other. It is a surprisingly easy book to follow about a girl named Lyra who gets her past revealed to her finally. I'm currently reading the sequel to it, The Subtle Knife, and I expect to be just as good. I highly enjoyed this book and I am a very picky reader. I recommend it to anyone who's ever thought about the purpose of life.
Date published: 1999-04-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass Having never read a fantasy novel before, I had no clue what to expect. Pullman creates an imaginative story of a young girl and her "pet", overcoming the evil forces of Cruella prodigy. I can't wait to start book two, The Subtle Knife.
Date published: 1999-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass Having never read a fantasy novel before, I had no clue what to expect. Pullman creates an imaginative story of a young girl and her "pet", overcoming the evil forces of Cruella prodigy. I can't wait to start book two, The Subtle Knife.
Date published: 1998-12-18

– More About This Product –

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials

by PHILIP PULLMAN

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 432 pages, 7.63 × 5.13 × 1 in

Published: May 22, 2001

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0440418321

ISBN - 13: 9780440418320

Read from the Book

OneTHE DECANTER OF TOKAYLyra 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
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From the Publisher

Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jodan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side. But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle—a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears. And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or to lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is a masterwork of storytelling and suspense, critically acclaimed and hailed as a modern fantasy classic.

This Yearling paperback edition includes 15 pages of bonus material: some found letters of Lord Asriel, his scientific notes and other archival documents. This edition also features artwork by Philip Pullman at the opening of each chapter.

New York Times Bestseller
Newsweek Top 100 Book of All Time
An Entertainment Weekly All-Time Greatest Novel
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
 
"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times

"Superb . . . all-stops-out thrilling." --The Washington Post

"A shattering tale that begins with a promise and delivers an entire universe." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred

"The Golden Compass is one of the best fantasy / adventure stories that I have read. This is a book no one should miss." --Terry Brooks

From the Jacket

In a landmark epic of fantasy and storytelling, Philip Pullman invites readers into a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, or Redwall. Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, "nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing--victims of so-called "Gobblers"--and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

About 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.

From Our Editors

The questions, discussion topics, and author information that follow are intended to enhance your group’s reading of The Golden Compass. We hope that this guide will help you to navigate - alongside the story’s young protagonist, Lyra Belacqua - Philip Pullman’s richly imagined universe, populated by armored bears, gyptians, witches, and human beings, whose dæmons are never far from their side. Dæmons are one of the most striking, charming, and powerful images in The Golden Compass. These spirit-creatures, which seem like physical representations of the human soul, can change form to reflect the myriad of emotional states their humans go through as children. But in adulthood, each dæmon settles into the animal form that best reflects the inner nature of its human counterpart. It is in this unusual and imaginative creation that Pullman turns his sharpest mirror back onto his readers, helping us to imagine our own souls as precious, living extensions of ourselves that we can love, challenge, or even betray. The Golden Compass is a complex story that turns on a simple word: "Dust." This Dust does not gather in the unswept corners of Jordan College, Lyra’s Oxford home. Rather, this Dust seems to reveal - or perhaps contain - the thing that makes each human being a unique creature. The concept of Dust provokes fear in some; others realize that mastery over Dust could be the source of great power. Although she does not quite realize it, Lyra - along with her dæmon Pantalaimon - fin
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Editorial Reviews

“Extraordinary storytelling at its very best.” —The Detroit Free Press    “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  
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Bookclub Guide

US

1. The author tells us that The Golden Compass takes place "in a universe like ours, but different in many ways." How do you think Lyra's universe relates to ours?

2. What is a dæmon? How do they make humans different from other creatures? Why do you think servants' dæmons are always dogs? What sort of dæmons might your friends, relatives, classmates, or coworkers have? Describe your own dæmon.

3. The world of The Golden Compass is ruled by the Church. However, the nature of its power is unclear. What power do you think the Church holds over its people?

4. On pages 89-90, the General Oblation Board is explained in reference to the historical sacrifice of children to cloistered life. "Oblation" refers to the act of making a religious offering. What offering does the General Oblation Board make and to whom?

5. Human knowledge and experience are made physical in Dust. What other psychological, intellectual, or spiritual activities does the author physicalize?

6. What is the relationship between "severing" and death? Is the author using this fantasy to explore the notion of psychic or moral death?

7. Why do you think the author stresses that Lyra is not an imaginative child? Why would "imagination" be dangerous to her? How would it affect her understanding of the alethiometer? Is Lyra a truth-seeker? Who is Lyra Belacqua and/or what does she symbolize?

8. In what ways is gender a significant or stratifying element in the novel? Why do you think all witches are female? Why are dæmons usually the opposite gender of their human counterparts? Is the fact that Lyra is a girl-child relevant to the themes of the story?

9. Alongside human society in The Golden Compass, there exists the community of the armored bears, who have their own hierarchical structure and moral code. In one way Svalbard seems little more than an interesting foil to the human condition, yet the bear kingdom is also a final destination, the site of the story's climactic conclusion. What do you think is the author's purpose in inventing - and exploring - the world of the armored bear?

10. The author has filled this novel with binary imagery: person-dæmon; mother-father; Iorek-Iofur; Lyra's universe-the universe in the Aurora. What other binarisms can you find in the structure, landscape imagery, and vocabulary of this fantasy? How do these dualistic elements affect the novel's larger themes?

11. Discuss Lyra's "betrayal" of Roger in relation to other betrayals that occur in the novel. Has reading The Golden Compass altered your understanding of the act of betrayal?

12. Are Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter in collusion or are they fighting each other? How and in what way?

13. Curiously absent from The Golden Compass are four words that are prevalent in most fantasy adventures: right, wrong, good, and evil. Can these terms be applied to this story? How and why, or why not?

14. On the last page of the book, Lyra and Pantalaimon recognize that they are still "one being; both of us are one." The expression resonates with a phrase from marriage ceremonies. Contrast this moment in the story with the preceding interplay between Lyra's parents.

15. The Golden Compass is the first book in the trilogy His Dark Materials, which gets its name from a passage in John Milton's Paradise Lost, quoted at the beginning of the novel. Philip Pullman has said, "Milton's angels are not seriously meant to be believed - beings with wings and halos and white robes. They are psychological qualities, conceived and pictured as personalities. With them, Milton tells one of the central tales of our world: the story of the temptation and fall of humankind." Discuss the passage from Paradise Lost and this statement from the author in relation to The Golden Compass.

16. When Lyra walks "into the sky" at the end of Book One, we can presume that she is walking into the world of Book Two of His Dark Materials - "the universe that we know." What do you think will happen to her and Pantalaimon when they cross the bridge?

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12