Review: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

Phillip Pullman is an author I haven’t read before and so it’s part of my New Authors Challenge which is hosted by the Literary Escapism blog. Check out their blog and also the challenge. I’m really enjoying all the new authors I’m reading this year!

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bannedbooksThe Golden Compass is also frequently on banned or challenged book lists. Even though I’ve had this book in print form for years and my family have all read it and told me how good it is I hadn’t read it before now. I was curious why this book would be a banned book.

Rita_h at My Home of Books has issued a challenge for readers to read at least one banned book by the end of September. There’s a list of 100 frequently banned books on her blog and at the American Library Association site (Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009).

Banned Book Week 2013 was this week–September 22-28. This week I have posted my two reviews of the banned books I read

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golden compassThe Golden Compass
by Phillip Pullman
Series: His Dark Materials, book 1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers, 1996
E-book, purchased
368 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: 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.

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What I like about this book:

  • Lyra Belacqua is such an innocent. She’s had a very odd childhood, but she has grown up completely unselfconscious about herself. She hasn’t had a lot of formal education, but she has learned honesty, loyalty and how to make friends.
  • The world Phillip Pullman has created is very similar to ours, but just enough different to make a great fantasy world.
  • It’s a very original plot.
  • Although it’s a young adult book there is plenty to keep an adult interested.

What I don’t like:

  • It ends with a cliffhanger.

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My thoughts: 

Again, as with The Handmaid’s Tale this book paints religion in a very poor light so I can understand (even if I don’t agree) why people might want to ban the book.

However, I loved the book and look forward to reading the next two.

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What do you think? Have you read any of His Dark Materials series? Have you read other banned books?

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

3 thoughts on “Review: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman”

  1. I read this series about 10 years ago, the first one is amazing, Think I read it in day and half (quick for me). I could not put it down. The next two are good just not as good.


    1. I did love this book and look forward to starting the next one! I hope I’ll like it as well. We’ll see, I guess. Thanks for coming by.


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