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Monday, 21 November 2011

***Review*** Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1) – Philip Pullman

On the Back of the Book

When Lyra’s friend Roger disappears, she and her daemon, Pantalaimon, determine to find him. The ensuing quest leads them to the bleak splendour of the North, where armoured bears rule the ice and witch-queens fly through the frozen skies – and where a team of scientists is conducting experiments too horrible to be spoken about.

Lyra overcomes these strange terrors, only to find something yet more perilous waiting for her – something with consequences which may even reach beyond the Northern Lights...

Pre Read Thoughts

I have so many book that I’ve been meaning to read for years and this is one of them. I finally decided to read this when I realised that the whole trilogy had been challenged and I’m taking part in a “Banned Books” challenge on GR. I bought the book ages ago at my local British Heart Foundation charity shop for the princely sum of £1.50. The cover I have is quite dull and is possibly part of the reason why it’s been sat on my shelf for so long. The synopsis makes the book sound amazing and I can’t wait to read it.

Post Read Thoughts

I liked this book but it took a while for me to get into it and that really held it back for me. Some of the ideas were really intriguing and I love the idea of having an animal form of yourself (the daemons). The theories about Dust as they arose really caught my attention. The author is really good at his craft as I had no problem picturing scenes and I found myself being flooded with the emotions of Lyra. I’ll tell you more about her in a few moments. The whole journey is well depicted except for one scene but even that manages to work itself into the book’s favour.

Lyra is the main character and I really connected with her. She had some qualities that are hard to come by in an MC now. She also had a childlike innocence that really endeared her to me. The faith she put in the adults who saved her without questioning them was sweet, though a bit stupid. The bond she shares with her daemon, Pantelaimon (Pan for short) was interesting but I’d love to know more about  how the daemon thing works in future books. My personal favourite character was Iorek Byrnison the armoured bear. I can’t explain why he was my favourite, he just was. I will say that when he entered the story started to find its stride.

Overall I can’t find anything too negative to say about this. The only major downside for me is the fact that it took so long for me to start enjoying the story. Everything else was good, I loved the author’s writing style and the story that he’s starting to weave. Another big thing that I would’ve liked is more detail and a way of looking deeper into the ideas of Lyra’s world. I understand that this is a YA book though and not all teens want detail.

My Rating

3 stars – An enjoyable read that should appeal to boys and girls. Although I feel that girls will relate to Lyra better, there are plenty of elements that young boys should love. This is a solid start to the trilogy and I can only hope that book two is just as good if not even better.

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