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Review: The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Title: The Golden Compass
Author: Philip Pullman
Publisher: Random House LLC
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 368
How I got the book: Purchased with own money
Where to buy: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository

The Golden Compass follows the story of a girl called Lyra and her dæmon Pantalaimon. In her world, the souls of humans are tied to that of animal creatures whose bodies change up until the time of puberty. It was an interesting concept and I very much enjoyed it. These dæmons are either male or female depending on their human counterpart. Female humans have male dæmons and males have female dæmons. Again, very neat idea. What set this book apart from all others however is it’s dedication to world building. In Lyra’s world, witches and talking polar bears exist as well as all other kinds of magic. There’s organization that is the main ruling structure of their society. It’s all really fascinating!

In this story, Lyra is an orphan, and as such lives in a college as protégé of one of the scholars.

The book progresses quickly. From the very beginning, Lyra is witness to an attempt at her uncle’s life. In trying to stop it, she’s forced, or rather, allowed to witness a presentation from her uncle that sets off what is to be one of the greatest fantastical elements in the story.

I remember reading through this scene and thinking to myself. It’s like I’m in that world. I will not spoil, in this review, but I will say that when Lyra witnesses the presentation from her uncle, you also get a glimpse at what the next two books are all about. It’s very exiting.

There is also a mention of a group of bandits nicknamed by the kids and gypsies in the story as the “Goblers”. Many kids are disappearing throughout the country and through a turn of events, one of her best friends also disappears, kidnaped by what it is believed to be these Goblers, and it is up to Lyra to find him and rescue him. In doing so, she discovers that she is not just any ordinary orphan as she believes she is.

If you’re looking for something fantastical and thrilling. This is what you need to read.


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 alethiometer. 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.

For more reviews see the reviews page.

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About Fran

Fran is someone who likes reading, listening to music and learning as many languages as she can. You can find her reading by a large window with plenty of sunlight all while listening to music in the background. Also, on Goodreads and Twitter at @verybookishh
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