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on 26 February 2001
I can't remember the last time I read a book that had me in such giddy suspense as "Northern Lights" (it's "The Golden Compass" here in the U.S.) I'm the daughter of a theologian, and a bit of a writer myself, and yet every twist and turn in this book was a delightful surprise. My teenaged sister loves this book for the plot, and the engaging heroine - and I love it for those reasons as well as its originality and scope of imagination. I'm only sorry that I can't read it again for the first time. Kudos to Philip Pullman for the obvious hard work he put into this series! I appreciate it.
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on 30 July 2012
Northern Lights is an absolutely fantastic read, and to call it simply a children's book would be to do it a huge injustice. It is exactly what literature which spans the age groups should be; imaginative, expansive, intelligent, challenging, at times unsettling and at others comforting and reassuring. In creating a complete universe (or several universes in fact), Pullman cleverly mixes the familiar with the not-so-familiar. There are animals (or dæmons) who talk, hot air balloons and zeppelin aircraft criss-crossing the skies, kindly witches, a bear with a drink problem, and monsters (or gobblers) who snatch children in the night. The overall impression is of a world set in the future yet filled with the gas-lit contraptions, a spirit of boundless exploration and the constrained social values of the Victorian age. There is a strong religious context to the story with the sinister and arcane body of courts, colleges and councils known collectively as the Magisterium always acting to undermine any unsanctioned notion of existence. The prime attackers of that faith are the forbidding Lord Asriel and his irascible niece Lyra Belacqua. It is perhaps because the heroine of the story is a ten-year old girl that Northern Lights is predominantly regarded as a children's book. But Lyra is every bit as convincing a heroic figure as Dickens' Pip, Owen Meany or Jem and Scout Finch - all of whom are children who take centre stage in a very adult world, and so it is with Lyra. Nothing is quite as it seems in Pullman's world, as we see when Lyra's perception of the Master of Jordan College, her uncle Lord Asriel and the alluring Mrs Coulter are turned utterly on their head. All in all, Northern Lights is completely engrossing and an absolute treasure amid much dross.
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on 23 January 2000
Northern Lights was fabulous. I loved Lyra's character and really felt for her and the other characters. The idea of every person's sould being represented by an animal was one I'd never seen before, and it had me captivated. I actually found myself wishing for a daemon of my own! I also read the second book, which mached the greatness of the first. I can't wait untill the third book comes out!! *****10stars*****
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on 2 December 2000
I first read this book when I was 10 and I thought it was the best I had ever read. Three years on I feel the same way if not more so. All the characters are so beautifully described that you feel as if you know them well. The story is in depth and absolutely gripping - I finished it in 3 days! Pullman writes with sheer class. IF YOU BUY ONE BOOK THIS MONTH MAKE IT THIS ONE!!!!
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on 10 March 2001
This is a brilliant book, suitable for children and adults alike. A wonderful fantasy set in a world very similar to early 20th century England, but not quite. The heroine, Lyra, sets out on a mission to Scandinavia to find her uncle who is reputedly held captive by armour-wearing polar bears... absolutely brilliant!
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on 20 October 1999
I'm not completly finished with this book, but i want to read it every second of the day! I wanted to be the main charactor and have my own daemon! Pullman's wonderful imagination inspires and brights up the reader! Please read this book!
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on 10 June 2000
This book and The Subtle Knife have to rank amongst my favourite books now, being so full of complex interactions and the most fantastic ideas, yet accessible for children as well as adults. I am certain that the final book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, will be of equal quality. Might I suggest, since you're definitely buying this one, that you buy The Subtle Knife at the same time, or you're going to be in the depths of despair when you finish this book and have to wait for the next one!
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on 11 July 1999
Welcome to a world like our own - but different. A world where not having a daemon (a sort of advisor and guardian angel) is like not having a face, and the smallest of things can be very important. This is Lyra's world.
A wonderful, imaginative, and thought-provoking book, which is so well writen, you can feel the emotions. Philip Pullman, if you're reading this: Well done, you've done a wonderful job, and I look forward to reading future books in the same series.
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on 24 September 2015
There are lots of reviews of this book so it is difficult to say anything new. It is an outstanding book (the best of the three, in my opinion) and deserves the praise I have seen for it. I kept wondering if it was meant to be a children's book, as I was reading it, and of course it is - but to restrict it to children would be most unfair! I suppose you do need to be receptive to the ideas and have some imagination - but that's no problem to a lot of us big kids.
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on 8 August 1999
When I started reading Northern Lights I thought that I would never finish it! But, even though it took me over a week to do so, I am glad to say that I have finished it at last! The best thing about this book to me was the way that when you started reading, it became difficult to put it down at night! It still is the best book I have probably read so far, and I can't wait to read books two and three!
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