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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Masterpiece
Northern Lights is an amazing book right down to the snazzy front cover. Philip Pullman is an extremely skilled author and has written this book in such a way that everything is described in great detail and crystal clarity but he still leaves enough out to keep you reading.
This book captivates you and hauls you in to the world of Gyptians, Tartars and shape shifing...
Published on 8 Nov. 2001

versus
178 of 210 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Golden Compass
BEWARE BEWARE
I love Philip Pulman books.
So much so I had bought this one already except when I bought it it was called NORTHERN LIGHTS.
Don't get cought out like I was.
Amazon Post a warning this is Northern Lights
Glenn Atherton
Published on 17 Dec. 2003 by Glenn Atherton


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40 of 44 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
5.0 out of 5 stars I wish i had a daemon!, 5 Aug. 2005
By A Customer
This book proves one fact for me: Don't pick up a book, read the first couple of pages and put it down because you think its boring. The first couple of pages of Northern Lights i was confused but i kept reading and it's good that i did because it's one of the best books i have read! Philip Pullman must have an extroadinary imagination to think of the stuff in this book. Northern Lights is centred around Lyra and her daemen embarking on a exciting, nerveracking adventure. It's one of those books where you can't bear to put it down, i just couldn't stop. Brilliantly written and i can't wait to read no 2
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly Imaginative, 7 April 2000
By A Customer
I hate it when they call a book as good as this a Children's Book.

Pullman has created an utterly convincing world; teasingly familiar yet fantastic. A world which shape shifting daemons, witches and armoured bears inhabit alongside more familiar elements such as electric (or anbaric) lights, dishonest politicians, and a not-quite Oxford.

Where the book does frustrate however, is in its ending. The Northern Lights is (as it never attempts to deny) the first instalment of a trilogy and no attempt at any resolution is made at the end of this episode. The reader is left high and dry. Having said that, the book is marvellous and I suspect that most readers will, like me, immediately rush out and buy the second instalment, The Subtle Knife (Likewise worthy of 4 stars).

In conclusion, if read as part of the trilogy this is a book worthy of a full 5 stars, images and ideas will stay with the reader long after they have finished the book. I would not recommend it however to anyone who has no intention of following it up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it now!, 7 April 2006
... and then buy the other two books in the trilogy!
I must admit, the first couple of chapters didn't have me hooked straight away. but when I got a bit further, I was unable to put it down!
The main characters are well developed and although the author brings several people into the story, it never gets confusing. There's something for everyone here.
When I reached the end, I realised I shoudl have bought all three books at once - now I had to wait for the next two to arrive before I could find out more abuot the characters!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want a daemon, 17 May 2008
This book is un-put-down-able; when you start reading, you can barely put it down. I read it in about a week reading two or three chapters on a school day and five chapters on a weekend. The book has 23 chapters of approximately 15 - 30 pages. Every page is exciting and adventurous and not one page is badly written - this book is brilliant! It is among my favourite books; I look forward to reading the other two books in the `His Dark Materials' trilogy. Phillip Pullman has written many books, a lot of which, I have read but this book is 10 times better than all of them (I am not saying those books are bad). The story is about a girl called Lyra whose friend, Roger, gets caught by Gobblers. She has many adventures on her way to finding him and when she does, she finds out he is not the only one to be rescued...
This book has been turned into a movie called `the Golden Compass' - that was the book's original title.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One to Read, 19 Aug. 2003
I might as well start this review with my conclusion. This book is one of most well written, well thought and unbeleiveably convincing fantasy stories ever written. The author has written in such a way you could forgive yourself in forgetting it isn't real. Philip Pullman is a genious it has to be said, his creative talents are out of this world are as his stories. As you read the story you are immersed in the dark underworld that is the church, set in a parallel universe, Lyra the star is drawn in to a struggle between her uncle Lord Asriel and the church. In this universe the super power isn't America but the church. Along with her daemon(demon) she has an urning to explore the North but doesn't know why, is it her choice or fate that eventually takes her there. Once there she is faced with danger, terror and unspeakabe horrors. Enough said read this book and you wont want to put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved every page of this book, 28 April 2013
'But think of Adam and Eve like an imaginary number, like the square root of minus one: you can never see any concrete proof that it exists, but if you include it in your equations, you can calculate all manner of things that couldn't be imagined without it.'

PLOT

This is the story of Lyra Belacqua, an Orphan living in Jordan College, Oxford. Her only relation is her Uncle, Lord Asriel, who left her at Jordan College under the care of Scholars, while he works all over the World. Lyra is a fantastic character, a little girl full of vivacity, strength and stubbornness; but also full of fierce loyalty to her friends, which makes her highly likable.

Lord Asriel is researching Dust, a celestial phenomenon that is a mystery to all. Through his research, Asriel believes he has found an alternate Universe, visible in the in the Aurora Borealis. Meanwhile, children are going missing, kidnapped by the so called 'Gobblers' and nobody knows where they are being taken, or for what reason. Lyra's best friend Roger has been taken, and she takes it upon herself to rescue him, and all the other children, and bring them home to their families.

With the help of some powerful friends, Lyra finds where they've been taken, but the truth will shock her more than she expected, and will only make her more determined to help make things right.

MY OPINION

I absolutely loved this book. It was sitting on my bookshelf for years, and for some reason, I never got around to reading it. I'm kicking myself now for not paying attention to it sooner. I was drawn into Lyra's world from the first few pages, I couldn't keep myself away from it for more than a few hours before I started to miss it. Lyra is selfless, she keeps going when it would be easier to turn back. She's determined to save her friends, and is one of the bravest little girls I've ever read about. I highly recommend this book to readers of any age, who love stories or friendship and bravery; but be prepared to be sucked into Lyra's World.

THE AUTHOR

Phillip Pullman has such a way with words that he had me fearing for the characters in danger, and cheering when they were safe. I could visualise every character and every setting in the book,making it impossible for me to put down. All I could think about was this book, and getting a chance to read the next chapter, which always escalated to several. The whole His Dark Materials series is up there with my all time favourite books, and I will be reading them again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A vivid imagination at work, 27 Dec. 2007
By 
Ralph Blumenau (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This is one of those books written for young teenagers but which also appeals to many adults, who have praised it for the way Pullman plays with the ideas of Milton's Paradise Lost and other epic sagas: a whole scholarly literature has already sprung up which tracks down or comments on these allusions. As an adult who is not very familiar with these sources, I am in that respect on a par with the young readers. I can appreciate it simply for its qualities as a yarn: for the adventure story; for the way its settings are described (evoking, often poetically, the atmosphere of an Oxford College, of the Fens, the frozen North, etc); for the imagination that has gone into the animal daemons which perpetually accompany every person in the story as an integral part of who they are; for the ingenuity that has gone into the creation of the truth-containing alethiometer, its levels of meaning and the gifts needed to read it; for the manifestation of archetypes (villains and witches with magical powers, brave heroes, a spirited tomboy heroine who is in a crucial sense an Innocent, etc); for a tremendous battle-scene; for the conveying of some wisdom and some moral teaching. But in the end (what with armour-plated talking polar bears, witches riding on cloud-pine branches etc.), it appeals to me only as a good book aimed not at my age group, but mostly at a very much younger one.

If I try to put myself into the place of that target audience I see that Philip Pullman does not talk down to it. There are aspects of the book which it would require a rather bright young person to enjoy. Notably, the vocabulary can be testing: in J.K.Rowlings' Harry Potter books it is quite clear which words are invented by the author; in Pullman's it is, intentionally, not: he is after all concerned with creating a world which resembles but is different from the world we live in, so that would apply to the language also. A youngster (or an adult, for that matter) who would want to look up in a dictionary the meaning of unusual words might be quite frustrated: he or she would find the word `chthonic' there, but not the words `anbaric', `cahuchuc', `coal-spirit'. (These all occur within four pages).

In this first volume of the trilogy, there is as yet relatively little discussion of philosophical issues. Near the end there is a brief discussion of Free Will; there an important re-telling of the myth of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; and the story's famous hostility to the Church comes into focus about 25 pages from the end.

I cannot understand the mysterious connection in the book between Original Sin, Dust (particles that are supposed to come from another world and cling especially to adults), the quest to find the source of Dust in that other world, daemons, and the Church sponsoring cruel experiments in separating children from their daemons - and I see that scholars have produced the most complex guesses of what was actually in Pullman's mind. A teenage reader will surely be equally perplexed, but may be carried over these difficulties by the sheer impetus of the story. I gather that philosophical issues will become increasingly important in the succeeding two volumes in which the characters have actually crossed over into another universe, and maybe I would then become more enlightened about the puzzles presented in this one - but this book has not gripped me, as an adult, sufficiently to want to read the sequels. Shame on me?
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want my own Dæmon!, 26 Dec. 2007
By 
E. Coldridge-Holmes (Crewe, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is one of those notorious books that you simply cannot put down! I just wanted to read on and find out what was going to happen next to the brilliant Lyra Belacqua!

Phillip Pullman has sucessfully created a wonderfully rich fantasy world with an amazing plot and strong moral understones such as love, respect, friendship, doing what's right - and most importantly - telling the truth; and not being afraid to do so.

The book is also full of amazing characters that you can't help but become attatched to (my personal favourites being Lyra and Iorek) - not to mention the evil Magisterium and it's twisted followers who you can't help despise!

My only complaint about this book is that it ends in somewhat of a less than conclusive ending, but of course it does! It is a trilogy after all. This version (I'm not sure about the others) even contains the first chapter of the next book "The Subtle Knife" which I'm currently reading - and loving it just as much!

I highly recommend reading this book (and the other 2 in the trilogy) - to both adults and children - especially as I felt the film adaption was very poor in comparison. They left out several important parts of the book, and even changed a lot of the story line leaving it poor and disjointed, not the way it should be seen at all.

As a future teacher, I will definitely ensure this is on my class' reading list - His Dark Materials trilogy is just far too good to miss out on!!
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The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials) by Philip Pullman (Audio CD - Sept. 2004)
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