: The golden compass (his dark materials, book 1) (9780440238133) : Philip Pullman : Books
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The Golden Compass (his Dark Materials, Book 1)

by Philip Pullman
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf
  • Publishing date: 09/09/2003
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780440238133
  • ISBN: 0440238137


Pullman introduces readers to a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, of Redwall, wherein lives a half-wild, half-civilized girl named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars of Jordan College is about the shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors.

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  • Anti-Christian
    From Amazon

    This is completely anti-Christian and so is the movie
    Don't read it if you are offended.

  • The parallels didn't work
    From Amazon

    The book was a bit shocking in that Pullman used the word "demons" to describe a cute and loyal friend. Once I got past that, though, I was able to enjoy a well written story. Well, it was well written until about chapter 20, when he tried to make parallels to our actual universe. It was a bit sad to see how he sees the church, man, and God. His world view is weak when compared with those stemming from Jesus.

    Oh, well. They can't all be Harry Potter and Narnia.

  • Wetting Your Metaphysical Appetite
    From Amazon

    Since I read "The Golden Compass" in a one-volume edition of "His Dark Materials," writing a review on it is like restricting my comments to merely the first third of a book.

    So if you buy "The Golden Compass" in the expectation that here you will find the first book in a SERIES, you might be disappointed. "The Golden Compass" is part of a trilogy much like "The Lord of the Rings", not a series like Harry Potter, Narnia, Artemis Fowl or Lemony Snicket. In other words: It doesn't have a proper ending at all.

    As for the reading experience of this 1/3 of a book, I was utterly pulled in right from the start. Inspired somewhat by Milton's "Paradise Lost," Pullman wets the metaphysical appetite of the reader by introducing several mysterious concepts (such as "Dust") without fully lifting the veil on them. This left me eager to turn to Part II and III of the trilogy.

    I don't want to say too much about the actual story, in case you are still unfamiliar with it, because one of the greatest joys in reading "The Golden Compass" is the gradual discovery of Pullman's fantasy world--which is similar to our world in many respects, and yet very different, too. It is the fantasy world of an alternate reality, not a Middle Earth in the distant past or a classical fairy land.

    As such, one institution from our world that you will find in the book is the Church. And of all things, it takes on the role of the villain. This has made "The Golden Compass" similarly controversial as "The DaVinci Code," which doesn't exactly rain compliments on the Church either. However, I'd say that Pullman puts forth a better grounded and more profound critique of the Church than Dan Brown--a critique that might not even have sound amiss in the mouth of Christ Himself.

    For the Christian reader who is worried about the portrayal of the Church in "The Golden Compass," it might help to remember that many Christians in the past have likewise been critical of the Church as an institution (and of God as set forth by religious rulers). Read Martin Luther. Then read Pullman. The latter's critique will seem very restraint in comparison.

    - Jacob Schriftman, Author of The Crack Beneath the Worlds and Other Books

  • A classic fantasy that will stand the test of time!
    From Amazon

    It is difficult to find enough superlatives to describe Philip Pullman's masterwork fantasy "The Golden Compass". Heart stopping adventure pitting good against insidious evil and weak against strong, a cast of magnificently crafted characters, compelling dialogue, a child's sense of awestruck wonder and insatiable curiosity, the heart wrenching sadness of unexpected death, a healthy serving of ultra-modern science and cosmology cleverly juxtaposed against a soupçon of old-fashioned Victorian lifestyles and a completely original "world" will all ensure that "The Golden Compass" has a place in the classics section of libraries for decades to come. It has earned that status and will hold its head high beside other ground-breaking fantasy adventures such as "Lord of the Rings" and "Duncton Wood".

    Lyra Belacqua, an orphan girl raised from infancy by the masters of Oxford College, is now approaching womanhood and must soon leave her childhood haunts to be educated by the enigmatic Mrs Coulter, a scholar and explorer. On the very night before she is to leave, Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, overhear a secret discussion about "dust", a mysterious particle or force apparently originating in the far North that seems drawn to children. She is then inexorably swept into a maelstrom of events - an assassination attempt against her uncle, the abduction of children, the invasion of Svarlbad by an overwhelming force of Tartars, a fight to the death for the right to rule an army of armor clad polar bears, inter-clan warfare among witches flying through the northern skies on their twigs of Cloud Pine. It all leads to a climactic struggle against the "magisterium", the ruling church, the religious force and the political power in Pullman's world that will do almost anything to suppress opposition. The battle rages around the search for knowledge of the source of "dust".

    Many readers (almost certainly of the Christian faith) have soundly criticized "The Golden Compass" as being anti-Christian and pro-atheism. I disagree. Beyond an extraordinary fantasy adventure that will appeal to children of all ages, what I read was a morality tale that cautioned adherents of any faith against the slavish acceptance of dogma if those rules insist upon blind faith and prohibit any questions or exploration into the fundamentals of that doctrine or faith. Frankly, it didn't appear to me that Pullman set out to target the Christian faith but I doubt if I'm the only reader that saw the irony in the aftermath of its publication. I suspect the vehement insistence that "The Golden Compass" be banned from the shelves of children's school libraries was probably an act that placed themselves into the very category of narrow-minded religious sectarianism that Pullman was talking about.

    Highly recommended. "The Golden Compass" is the finest book I've read for a long, long time.

  • The Golden Compass = AMAZINGLY AMAZING!!
    From Amazon

    What would you do if you had the run of Jordan Collage, a HUGE spread of land with adventure around every corner? For Lyra Bellequa she chooses to sneak into the Retiring Room no matter what Pantalaimon, her daemon, says. But what she doesn't know is that this little trick will change her world. Forever.
    Lyra is a half wild, half mature girl who seeks attention wherever she goes. She can tell lies right on the spot or make up any kind of story that fits the mood. She prides herself on her talent and "being part of Jordan".
    Jordan Collage is a massive masculine series of buildings and one of the largest collages in Lyra's world. Lyra had many adventures there. Like the war in the clay beds, climbing the roof tops, and hunting for Gobblers. But she has to change when it's time to get formal. Lyra hates it, but it's a must. And when she can get away, she does.You see, this is Lyra's life. Playing and pretending to listen. And Lyra loves it.
    But when she sneaks into the Retiring Room, things change.
    Her Uncle Asriel comes to visit. He is a well supported, well know character in this book. And a very powerful one too. Lord Asriel happens to visit on the day Lyra plays her trick. Lyra hears about politics, Dust, and the City in the Sky. She is enchanted.
    Later, Mrs. Coulter comes. The beautiful woman of Lyra's dreams, who has so many tales of the North. Lyra loves it and when Mrs. Coulter asks if she would like to stay with her, Lyra automatically says yes. But the Master knows better.
    He hands Lyra an Altheiometer, a truth teller. It has three movable hands and a mysterious hand that moves by itself. Only certain people can read it, but only with the books, the years of training, and the skill. And, for some reason, Lyra can read it in two weeks, no books, and not nearly enough time (or attention span).
    This is an amazing book that I just could not put down. I recommend this book to kids ten and up. People who like Harry Potter will definitely like this book. Join Lyra, as she dives feet first into the world of skillfulness, sweetness, and lies in the Golden Compass!

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