The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass (or, if you follow the British print-run, Northern Lights) is the first book of Philip Pullman's extraordinary, controversial, thought-provoking, fascinating, infuriating, allegorical trilogy His Dark Materials. Followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, the books have a huge range of ideas and meanings; from exploring the bond between the body and soul, to denouncing modern religious practices, to retelling Milton's Paradise Lost from a completely different point of view. Throughout, the story is compelling and beautifully told, the source of endless debates and discussions, and a narrative with such an extreme an... Read More
Philip Pullman(1946- )
Philip Pullman is from Norwich England. He was a teacher until he began writing full time in 1996. He has written numerous stand-alone novels and a couple of historical fiction mysteries for children. He won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the most prestigious prize in children’t literature, in 2005. Learn more at Philip Pullman‘s website.
His Dark Materials — (1995-2000) Ages 9-12. The Golden Compass is titled Northern Lights outside the US. Publisher: 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.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman
The Subtle Knife is the second in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, beginning with The Golden Compass and ending with The Amber Spyglass. It is an amazing piece of literature; often more suited for adult readers than for the children/young adults that it's geared toward, and with a message that — though controversial — is immensely thought provoking and worth pondering. Strangely enough, this second book is actually my favourite installment in the series; odd since middle books are often those that flounder.
At the end of The Golden Compass, Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon walked into the Northern Lights, across the bridge Lord Asriel had made and into another world. Readers might be discon... Read More
The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
At the end of The Subtle Knife, things were dire. Lyra had been kidnapped by her mother Mrs Coulter, whilst Will was left in the company of two angels with the subtle knife (which can create windows between worlds) and the altheiometer (that communicates with the mystery substance known as 'Dust'). Refusing to accompany them to Lord Asriel, who is on the verge of war with Heaven itself, Will enlists the angels help in tracking down Lyra, and is soon joined by Iorek Byrnison, the king of the polar bears. Meanwhile, Lyra herself is forced into an enchanted sleep by her mother, whilst the powers of the Church and the Authority close in to end her life and thus the terrible threat she poses against them. When the two children are reunited, they hatch a plan to go right to the end of where the subtle knife can take them; right into death itself.
Mary Malone, who... Read More
Lyra's Oxford by Philip Pullman
Everything Means Something...
First of all, if you have not read Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, then don't attempt to read this story, as you'll be utterly baffled. But if you have, you'll be treated with another glimpse into the parallel Oxford that Pullman so vividly created and explored in Northern Lights/The Golden Compass.
The book itself is beautifully presented, bound in cloth and filled with engravings of the city by John Lawrence, a style of art that perfectly matches Pullman's atmosphere of a gritty, turn-of-the-century English city. Included in the book is a quote from an Oxford guide, an introduction, the short story itself entitled "Lyra and the Birds", a map of Oxford, and then a collection of bits and pieces that may or may not mean anything: a page from a... Read More
The Scarecrow and his Servant by Philip Pullman
We Might Sometimes Go Hungry, But We Will Never Want for Adventure...
Philip Pullman is best known for his young-adult fantasy series His Dark Materials as well as the Victorian thrillers starring Sally Lockhart, but he also has quite a few children's books under his belt, all of which are whimsical and comedic in nature. The Scarecrow and His Servant is one such story, highly reminiscent of Lloyd Alexander's work and definitely a change of pace from Pullman's darker, more sophisticated fare.
A farmer builds a scarecrow with a turnip for a head and a broomstick for a backbone, and plants it in a field with these words of advice: "Now remember what y... Read More