The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1)

by Phillip Pullman | Children's Books |
ISBN: 0345413350 Global Overview for this book
Registered by HoserLauren of Burlington, Ontario Canada on 9/1/2005
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2 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Thursday, September 01, 2005
This is #3 on the BBC Top 100. I received this book from Titletrader.

From Chapters:
The questions, discussion topics, and author information that follow are intended to enhance your group’s reading of The Golden Compass. We hope that this guide will help you to navigate - alongside the story’s young protagonist, Lyra Belacqua - Philip Pullman’s richly imagined universe, populated by armored bears, gyptians, witches, and human beings, whose dæmons are never far from their side.
Dæmons are one of the most striking, charming, and powerful images in The Golden Compass. These spirit-creatures, which seem like physical representations of the human soul, can change form to reflect the myriad of emotional states their humans go through as children. But in adulthood, each dæmon settles into the animal form that best reflects the inner nature of its human counterpart. It is in this unusual and imaginative creation that Pullman turns his sharpest mirror back onto his readers, helping us to imagine our own souls as precious, living extensions of ourselves that we can love, challenge, or even betray.
The Golden Compass is a complex story that turns on a simple word: "Dust." This Dust does not gather in the unswept corners of Jordan College, Lyra’s Oxford home. Rather, this Dust seems to reveal - or perhaps contain - the thing that makes each human being a unique creature. The concept of Dust provokes fear in some; others realize that mastery over Dust could be the source of great power. Although she does not quite realize it, Lyra - along with her dæmon Pantalaimon - finds her life inextricably entangled with the exploration of Dust. And as her understanding of Dust and her mastery over a mysterious tool called the alethiometer increases, the dangerous journey that she seems destined to make takes some astounding twists and turns.

Journal Entry 2 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Monday, August 18, 2008
Lyra is a rebellious child who has grown up in a college with scholars because her parents were killed in an accident. She doesn't care to learn much, but would rather explore, play with her friends, and make fun of the scholars. Her daemon, Pantalaimon, has not yet taken a permanent form because Lyra is still a child. Each person in the world has a deamon, an animal that is the soul of the person, showing their emotion, defending their human counterpart and speaking to them.

When Lyra hides in a closet as her uncle comes over, she learns about the North and sees a child standing beside a man with a stream of dust coming out of the sky. Lyra is in awe and wants to travel to the North. She soon gets her chance when a woman asks Lyra to become her assistant in preparation for travelling North. But soon Lyra learns that there's more going on in the North than just scientific experiments. Children are being snatched from their home and they are never found, but there are rumors. Rumors of experimentation on children and their daemons.

For a fantasy novel, I was surprised at what a page turner this book was. It doesn't take too long to understand the alternate world that Pullman has created and get completely enveloped in it. The ending, however, isn't too satisfactory but this is because there's a book #2 and #3. I'm looking forward to reading the next one and seeing what else Lyra gets up to. She's a smart girl for a 12 year old!

Journal Entry 3 by chronicbooker3 from Hamilton, Ontario Canada on Sunday, December 28, 2008
Picked this up at last months meetup.

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