Journey to the North

Title: Northern Lights

Author: Philip Pullman

Genre: Fantasy

Series: His Dark Materials, #1

No. of pages: 399

Rating: 4/5

If you have not heard of this trilogy, then stop what you are doing. Right now. And get yourself to Waterstones!!!

This book is the first in a trilogy and a must read for fantasy lovers!

Northern lights tell the story of Lyra, a twelve-year-old girl, who lives in Jordan College with her daemon Pantalaimon, or Pan.

Now, an important thing to note about the Northern Lights universe; the world is very similar to ours, so normal humans, normal world, but with some very slight changes:

  • the era the story is set in is a mix between the industrial era with some steampunk; think zeppelins and spy flies
  • each human is accompanied by a daemon (pronounced demon) which is an animal representation of their soul, children's demons can change as they please while adults demons have a fixed shape.
  • As well as land loving humans, there are Gyptians who are canal dwelling gipsies, witches, panserbjørn which are armour clad bears and many more different creatures 

So, like I said the story is all about Lyra and her journey to the north which becomes a quest for justice. Along the way she obtains the Alethiometer or golden compass which you see on the front of the book. The Alethiometer is a very clever device which tells the truth, and we see as the book goes on how Lyra learns to interpret the device and how she grows an attachment to it.
This book is filled with prophecies and destinies and the most controversial topic: the magisterium or as we know it, the Church.

As I'm sure you know, this book as created into a major motion picture starring Daniel Craig, Nicole Kidman, Eva Green and Ian Mckellan to name but a few. However, due to the controversial topic and low ratings on the big screen, it was never picked up for the second movie.

I think this book helps us question as adults,  whether we force choices on the children we are responsible for, and whether we ask their opinion on important choices which help decide their lives.
That is what I love about Lyra, she questions and analyses everything, she doesn't just take things as the truth.

Long story short, if you want a book that makes you question authority in a fantastical view, then this is the trilogy for you.

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