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on 19 October 2017
This was my first Philip Pullman and it was certainly a rollicking adventure.I think it's wonderful for young adult literature to feature a flawed and indisputably leading female protagonist in Lyra too. However while there was lots going on throughout the novel, I did feel that the story lacked something - but for the life of me I can't put my finger on what it was - so I didn't love this. Still I liked it enough to want to try the next one in this series (The Subtle Knife).
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on 2 December 2017
I read this long ago, but since reading the new "DUST" instalment, it spurred me to read Northern Lights again. Having been in Iceland and Norway this last summer, it vividly called up evocations of the summer landscapes in my mind. Here it is deep snow, cold, the little wooden towns huddled below mountains. It is a very touching beginning to the Dark Materials chronicles, as Lyra, utterly innocent, begins to find her strengths, resilience, her brilliant intuitions and investigative powers, and her championing of the oppressed; and her undimmed courage. Terrifying, as well; but unforgettable. I will find it hard not to reread all the books now, especially as the Amber Spyglass has always been my favrourite.
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on 20 February 2018
Firstly, forget the film that you saw based on this book, as I’m sure many fans of this trilogy would like to do. Secondly, I’ve heard great things about this book but was hesitant to buy it after seeing the film years ago which ruined it for me. However, it’s better than the film! And lastly, I found the first 100 pages to be a bit boring and I was wondering whether I should bother reading it anymore, but I’m glad I did because the book got better and better- especially towards the end!
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on 5 June 2018
It's difficult to write a review for this book. I have read all three books in this trilogy and enjoyed them. I bought Northern Lights for my 12 yr Grandson who enjoys reading and is an advanced reader but he didn't care for this overmuch. Maybe this book was more advanced for him or maybe it was just not his style. He always enjoys a really wide range of books both fictional and factual so perhaps he may reread it at a later date and find it a different book. So the three stars are from his view as I purchased this book for him and not me
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on 16 November 2017
I love the books so much and this one looked so nice. I would recommend the books to anyone who likes reading fiction. The way it is written is very grabbing. The author gives adorable little descriptions without losing the attention of the reader. Came on time and in good condition.
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on 18 September 2017
They are without a doubt, the best books I have ever read. I have read the trilogy many times and the layers of detail and meaning means that every time I read them I always notice something I didn't last time!

I love every single character.

The only reason I give this book 4 stars is because 2 and 3 in the series are so so amazing!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 December 2007
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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on 18 February 2016
I really enjoyed this trilogy, even as a thirty-something woman with eclectic reading tastes! I enjoyed both the storylines and the writing style and whilst the themes of religion/original sin are pretty obvious, they were still interesting and philosophically explored, and the idea of parallel universes etc were compelling. The characters were believable and Lyra represents a strong young woman which I liked. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable and often thought-provoking read.
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on 22 January 2016
The first of 'His Dark Materials' trilogy and important to read this one first if the others are to make sense. I found it compelling. The characters come alive and the descriptions of places are also very well done, and allow one to really visualise the scene. Pullman does not attack 'modern' religion directly, but he does challenge the power of the established church in the book (rather like the medieval inquisition). A very thought provoking read, suitable for older children and adults.
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on 19 June 2011
NORTHERN LIGHTS is a truly amazing and wonderful fantasy tale from the brilliant mind of Philip Pullman. His books are usually brilliant so i grabbed this at once! WOW! A brilliant find! The characters in this book all had interesting backgrounds which helped the book come to life! They were also funny and very realistic. The description in this book was so well written it was like a film was playing in my mind as i turned the pages! You may have noticed that i have avoided describing this as a kid's book as it isn't really. It has quite full on violence and some children under 10 might be a little scared by some characters. But still brilliant for any adult and any teenager! WICKED! 10/10!

I highly recommend it!
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