"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Monday, June 5, 2017

Blog Tour (Review): THE GOLDEN COMPASS (His Dark Materials #1) by Philip Pullman (YA)


It is with great pleasure that today I get to share my thoughts on the original book that started it all, THE GOLDEN COMPASS... 
with the anticipation of getting read for Philip Pullman's next book in the HIS DARK MATERIALS series, THE BOOK OF DUST (on sale 10/19/2017)!!!

His Dark Materials #1
by Philip Pullman
Original release date: July 1995
Published by Yearling (Penguin Random House)
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Mass Paperback, Audio book
Format read: Paperback edition, published May 22nd, 2001


Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule.
North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal - including her friend Roger.
North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world. 

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors?

This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.

But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help one of them will be to betray the other.


EVERYTHING about THE GOLDEN COMPASS is original, wondrous, magical and brilliant!

To start, I oftentimes have a hard time describing THE GOLDEN COMPASS to those who have asked me... to me, it almost feels as if it is a parallel-world to our own, with magical realism, steampunk elements and perhaps even takes place during the Edwardian Era in the U.K. with mythical creatures, hot air balloons and witches... there an organized group of dark and sinister people that are kidnapping children and taking them up North. No one knows why or what they are doing to the children. Soon, people realize that the government, police and more are corrupted and their aren't many people to trust in order to get help and find these innocent children...   

Lyra is confident, stubborn and very determined for her age. She is not one to be caged or tricked into anything. She is extremely smart, observant and is one to decide for herself. She often questions everything and everyone around her; something that is frowned upon but necessary during all that she has to endure. However, like any child, Lyra is enchanted with everything she sees outside from where she grew up in Jordan College and Oxford; until she realizes that she is fated to deal with things that she only knew in stories. Being able to only rely on herself, question the world and tell stories herself saves her from many things and shows us that one will always rely on themselves in order to get through most things. 

The world-building is what dreams are made of - magical and within reach. You can tell that every little detail was carefully thought out and made to be important to all of the characters and the story. I really enjoyed how the narrator would give us their thoughts and extra bits to help us better understand the history behind what was happening.

The whole concept of everyone having their own daemons (pronounced demons) is mesmerizing to me! Our world would be so very different if we all had our own personal daemon to represent and guide us. Although the actual concept as to how and why each person has a daemon is never fully explained except that children's daemons can shape-shift into different animals and accommodate themselves to the child's emotions and needs, until they reach adulthood. Once they are grown adult's daemons seem to take on one animal-like shape for the rest of their lives, representing their person's characteristics since once one becomes an adult one is more sure of themselves and has taken on a role in society. Also, the bond between a person and their daemon is one of life and death - they cannot be separated, it's as if they share a soul. If one dies, so will the other. The realization of having a separate identity that can cause harm to oneself is quite terrifying to me, but still, an enigma that I would love to learn more about and would possibly wish to have. 

My only grievance with Pullman's writing is that I felt as if he went over and beyond with the details and underestimated what his readers would get from his/this world. I truly felt that more could have been visualized with less of the particulars. For example, the narrator would oftentimes step in and give us extra bits about how Lyra was feeling, or what one of the other characters were thinking about it, or more details as to the history of something that had happened which led to what was about to happen - and then the story would jump right back into Lyra's point of view.  Oftentimes it felt like someone was just disrupting the flow to purposefully be spoilery about the things that were about to happen rather than letting the reader have a moment to guess and wonder... I hope that what I am saying is understandable and not truly a negative thing. It is most likely that I am not used to this style of writing. 

Overall, I sincerely enjoyed Lyra's journey and felt all of her emotions through every one of her encounters. Big or small, every moment was believable and cinematic - a true classic that will be read for many, many years!

*I received this book directly from the publisher to post an honest review during the blog tour. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 


"That's the duty of the old," said the Librarian, "to be anxious on behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old." - page 32

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Philip Pullman

In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family. Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years. He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories. 

Pullman has received many awards for his literature, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for exceptional children's literature in 1996, and the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006.

He is most famous for his "Dark Materials" trilogy, a series of young adult fantasy novels which feature free thought themes. The novels cast organized religion as the series' villain. 

In 2007, the first novel of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy was adopted into the motion picture "The Golden Compass" by New Line Cinema. 


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