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334 of 358 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Compass AKA Northern Lights
WARNING
Please be aware that this book was previously sold as 'Northern Lights' and is the first book of the trilogy and NOT a new book. I was very excited when I saw this as I had hoped that it was. I would recommend the trilogy to anyone as it has an easy reading style while at the same time appealing to adults. Something that is rare.
Published on 29 Oct 2003 by mbogle

versus
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Show and tell...
After years of hype about this novel I finally got round to reading it as I have to teach it to Year 8 in the coming year. Much of this book is amazing and wonderful and well imagined. But in the end [once the Dust has settled] the overall impression is that it is just too much telling and not enough showing as another reviewer has mentioned - which is the First Law of...
Published on 18 Aug 2011 by Gmt Barnes


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334 of 358 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Compass AKA Northern Lights, 29 Oct 2003
By 
mbogle (ireland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
WARNING
Please be aware that this book was previously sold as 'Northern Lights' and is the first book of the trilogy and NOT a new book. I was very excited when I saw this as I had hoped that it was. I would recommend the trilogy to anyone as it has an easy reading style while at the same time appealing to adults. Something that is rare.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Too gripping to listen to whilst driving!, 17 Jan 2003
Now that Philip Pullman's work is available in several audio versions, you may be wondering what makes each one distinctive, and, considering the large differences in price, which one to chose. This version is a complete and unabridged reading, the author himself is the narrator, but there is also a full cast to give voice to each character.
The plot: briefly, as this title has been thoroughly reviewed in its book form only a few mouse-clicks from where you are now:
In a parallel world to our own, feisty 12-year-old Lyra and her daemon live in a recognisable-yet-different Oxford, where they eavesdrop on a secret meeting of scholars and their charismatic visitor Lord Asriel. She hears mysterious tales of Dust, a city that hangs in the air above the Aurora Borealis, and an expedition that ended in a gruesome murder. Lyra's friend Roger disappears, stolen like many other children by the Gobblers, and then she herself is taken from Oxford to live with the sinister Mrs Coulter. Rescued by gyptians she learns who her true parents are, and that the stories and disappearance of her friend are connected. Travelling with the gyptians to the frozen North, Lyra is drawn into a savage struggle among the armoured bears and witch-clans of the Arctic. At the experimental research station of Bolvangar Lyra finds the lost children, where horrific experiments are being performed upon them. To fulfil a prophecy, Lyra's journey leads her to the ice-forts of Svalbard, the rescue of her father and eventually to the city behind the Northern Lights, but only after she has made a terrible betrayal.
What does this dramatised reading bring to the story? Philip Pullman narrates his own work well. Many of the actors are recognisable from BBC Radio 4 dramas - Sean Barrett (as Lord Asriel & Iorek Byrnison); Garrick Hagon (as Lee Scorseby); Stephen Thorne (as the Master of Jordan College & Farder Coram). Mrs Coulter is voiced by Alison Dowling, best known for playing Radio 4's Elizabeth Archer for many years! She is a revelation here; giving real ice and menace to the part. You almost want to boo and hiss when you hear her incisive, cut-glass accent. If you're not a Radio 4 listener and don't know what I'm talking about: don't worry, these are masters of the medium, with rich, expressive voices that bring the text to life. Even where one actor voices two characters you would *never notice*! As Lyra, Joanna Wyatt's Oxfordshire accent wobbles considerably over time, but this is only a small criticism.
On a technical point, the 9 CDs are badly indexed - the 5 minute intervals are inaudible but don't necessarily coincide with chapter starts, making it hard to find your place after a break. Unforgivably, there is a change from one CD to the next right in the *middle* of the climactic armoured bear fight.
If you aren't inclined to read the book, but don't want to miss out on the full text, this is a fine substitute, although the poor arrangement onto CD may well be irritating.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No comparison, so don't try, 25 Oct 2007
By 
A Heaver - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Firstly, I am tired of reviewers 'comparing' this trilogy to JK Rowlings Potter Series. Secondly, There is no comparison. Meaning you may as well compare Chocolate with Steak. Both have their place at a well planned dinner table! We need to be reading a balanced meal.
I love The HP books equally as I do the 'His dark Materials' Trilogy.If you're looking to replace the 'Potter' rush with the Pullman books, it won't happen, this is a deeper and darker league. You will find yourself drawn into places and plots, lives and ideas almost impossible for many an imagination. Perfectly written and a great main course after the 'Potter' starter, however, I will be returning to the be-specticaled one for dessert. (The lighter option) Again, I say... No Comparison, maybe complimentary.
Enjoy your time with His Dark Materials,lose yourself in the questions the books will awaken and be prepared to miss your stop if you read it on the bus! I just hope the up-coming film does Pullman justice.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Show and tell..., 18 Aug 2011
By 
Gmt Barnes (Bracknell, Berkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
After years of hype about this novel I finally got round to reading it as I have to teach it to Year 8 in the coming year. Much of this book is amazing and wonderful and well imagined. But in the end [once the Dust has settled] the overall impression is that it is just too much telling and not enough showing as another reviewer has mentioned - which is the First Law of novel writing. The poor reader is bludgeoned by 'Science' until he just has to surrender and accept it. Lyra is supposed to have little imagination but her non existent reaction to the revelations about her real parents is not believable. A pity. I liked the daemons with the humans - a master stroke but in the end there was just too much lecturing - as at any University!
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113 of 126 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ALSO KNOWN AS: Northern Lights!!!, 21 April 2004
By 
Chrestomanci (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
If, like myself, you think you've just discovered a hitherto unheard of book in the Dark Materials Saga. Sorry ... you haven't. This is in fact'Northern Lights' with an alternate title. So, why has this book been called something else?
Well, when overseas publishers buy publication/distribution rights, they occasionally change a book's title if they feel this will work better for their target audience. Remember how 'Harry Potter & the Philosopher'sStone' became 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' when released in America. This particular edition of 'Northern Lights' is the same kind of thing.
That being said ... if you haven't read 'Northern Lights' A.K.A. 'The Golden Compass' ... then why not? It's a jolly exciting read! The first part of a hugely successful trilogy, the adventure starts on page one and never lets up. However, if you're new to Pullman's books, and intend to start reading them, begin with 'Northern Lights;' or better still, why not chose one of the compilation editions containing all three books together.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFULL, 4 Jan 2007
By 
E. Davies "Little Miss Book Worm" (OLE LONDON TOWN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I was recommended this book and now i am recommending it to others.

It is a great tale for young and old, keep you reading even past your tube stop...and that is when you know it is a good book...enjoy
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37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Compass - Phillip Pullman, 28 Nov 2003
By A Customer
If you are a Phillip Pullman fan you will not be disappointed. This is a very exciting read that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
But you will be disappointed if you think this is a brand new book, it is actually The Northern Lights - I assume given a different name for the American/Canadian market.
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85 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BEWARE BEWARE, 25 Mar 2004
This is a renamed version of Northern Lights!!!
Not a new book about Lyra.
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51 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Also Known as Northern Lights - Why Change the Title?, 13 Feb 2005
By 
Chrestomanci (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
The Golden Compass
If you've already got a copy of 'Northern Lights,' then you needn't buy a copy of 'The Golden Compass,' as they are the same book with alternate titles.
The question you may be asking is: why has this book been called something else? Is this some ploy to prise hard-earned cash out of the unwary public?
Well, when overseas publishers buy publication/distribution rights, they occasionally change a book's title if they feel this will work better for their target audience. Remember how J K Rowling's 'Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone' became 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone' when released in America? Another example is 'Charlie Bone and the Blue Boa' also published as 'Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy.' This particular edition of 'Northern Lights' is precisely the same kind of thing.
That being said ... if you haven't read 'Northern Lights' A.K.A. 'The Golden Compass' ... then why not? It's a jolly exciting read! The first part of a hugely successful trilogy, the adventure starts on page one and never lets up. However, if you're new to Pullman's books, and intend to start reading them, begin with 'Northern Lights;' or better still, why not chose one of the compilation editions containing all three books together. They're great value ... and after reading the first instalment, you'd simply have to read the other two!
Alternate titles can be very confusing - but hopefully, by reading the Amazon reviews carefully, you should be able to avoid buying the same book twice!
Enjoy your reading!
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Converted Potterer, 24 Dec 2002
As a massive Harry Potter fan and a student of theology and religious studies I have put off reading Philip Pullman for years. Firstly, on the grounds that surely nothing can compete with Harry potter and secondly because I didn't want to read some quasi-theological, anti-establishment piece of heresy, which is what several reviewers have portrayed 'Northern Lights' as being. Having just finished reading it however, my only regret is that I didn't do it years ago.
It's hard to escape the Harry Potter analogies as it is the seires of the moment, so let me do a quick comparison for you. Harry Potter is well written, with good dialogue, a realistic fantasy world and solid archetypes. It's of a good level for its target audience (lets say 8-12 year old kids) and offers enough escapism and wry humour to entertain adults as well. Compared to 'Northern Lights' however it is very lightweight.
Without giving away too much about either plot 'Northern Lights' is far tighter, its universe is much more plausible than Harry Potter's and there is a far greater sense of unity in Pullman's world and Lyra's purpose in it. J. K. Rowling's philosophy is by her own admission patchy and pilfered, Pullman presents an intelligent extrapolation of our history and theology and shows it working in the world, something on which Rowling has always been rather weak.
As for the theology, which one reviewer on this page has suggested is rather fantastical, I've read a lot of theologians and they frequently come up with suggestions about the world based on scripture that seem so bizzare that you would laugh at them if they came out of anyone else's mouth. That's the nature of the beast and Pullman portrays well the fact that religious doctrine and the church is not about fixed universal truths at all but political machinations and human interpretation. Pullman's world is in this respect, as in many others, profoundly realistic. He sees the way things are and isn't afraid to say so. That's not heresy, that's fact.
The atmosphere of 'Northern Lights' is all together more sinister than Potter at it's darkest. The characters are enhanced by a level of moral ambiguity that Rowling's lack and although the dialogue isn't as smooth as that in the Potter books it's all the more realistic for it. The plotting is very tight and the writing pared down whereas increasingly in the Potter franchise the books are growing and the content isn't kepping up. There isn't a single page of 'Northern Lights' that isn't relevant to the plot or establishing the setting an characters. Not only does it make for a better read but also keeps the pace cranked up.
This is a brilliant, fast paced and intelligent novel. I did find myself wondering when reading it exactly how much of it a twelve year old child would understand, but I think that the straightforward parts of the narrative are so compelling that they'd be prompted to work out ar research the rest, and anything that gets youngsters to think and read is a good thing! My grandfather loves the books, as does my mother and my twelve eyar old cousin. They'll appeal with anyone with an eye for adventure and a curious mind.
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Northern Lights (His Dark Materials 10th Anniversary Edition)
Northern Lights (His Dark Materials 10th Anniversary Edition) by Philip Pullman (Hardcover - 24 Oct 2005)
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