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Wednesday, January 19th 2005

11:58 PM

I finished reading two weeks ago... Northern Lights, by Philip Pullman

Normally my book reviews are "I've just finished reading..." but unfortunately (see previous post...) I've had a few computer problems over the last couple of weeks and, well, I just haven't got round to writing this review on the other computers I've managed to borrow time at during my period of PClessness. But better late than never, as they [sometimes] say.

Quite understandably many reviewers fall into the trap of comparing the His Dark Materials trilogy with certain other popular young persons' books inhabited by one Mr H Potter, Esquire. You will, of course, have realised that by mentioning HP I too have already fallen into said trap. However, I only intend to linger in the presence of Joe Rowling's lucrative creation long enough to say that Northern Lights is miles better. I was somewhat disappointed when I reached the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - not so with Northern Lights.

Northern Lights (published occasionally as The Golden Compass) is the first of the three His Dark Materials trilogy written by Philip Pullman. In the opening book we are drawn into the world of Lyra who, at the start of the narrative, lives in a college in Oxford in a world similar to ours in so many ways but different from ours in other ways. Lyra and her dæmon, Pantalaimon, are pitched headlong into an adventure which takes them first to London and then to the frozen North where armoured bears roam and witches fly in the icy black sky.

Pullman creates characters we can truly believe in, ones we can really care for. The maturity of the writing shines through every paragraph of every page, and as such we can picture the 'different' world that Lyra inhabits as clearly as we can see our own. So if anyone is sitting there desparately waiting for Harry Potter and the Half-Baked Idea to be published (Darn! That's the second time I've mentioned him) you can do no worse than buy Northern Lights. Highly recommended.

3 View Comments.

Posted by charlie white:

i totally agree with your review - although in my opinion any bookis better than harry potter! - and also think that northern lights was very good. it's ending links well to the other books unlike a certain other childrens book and the others its series) and the characters have distinct personalities which i think that phillip pullman brought across successfully. i found it interesting from the start (i can't stand it when books go on for several chapters about nothing) and i am still pondering what time period the book was set in and it took me a while to figure out weather it is in a different world or not. it was clever of the author to create daemons, as they seemed to make it seem more surreal, and the way he portrayed mrs coulter was absoloutly brilliant. i think i'll take this chance to sneakily slip in a recommendation of a book to anyone who agrees with my comment - the *inkheart* trillogy is far and away the best book i have ever read other than lord of the rings and has all of the above features and more. thanks :)
Monday, April 10th 2006 @ 9:30 PM

Posted by me **:


I was just wandering and somehow ended up in this journal. I decided to post a comment, because I've read the book and loved it! OMG! It's great!
The whole trilogy is amazing.

There's just one thing I don't agree with you... Harry Potter is also a great story and you can't possibly compare these books to one another.

well, that's all.

I also highly recommend you to read The Golden Compass, or Northern Lights.
Wednesday, March 29th 2006 @ 10:42 PM

Posted by isaac:

i agree with you, nothern lights is an amazing book but you havnt read anything until youve read the rest of the series(The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spygllass).:)
Saturday, February 4th 2006 @ 2:13 PM

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