There's something so very magical about the His Dark Materials trilogy, something deeply connected to memories of childhood, and something very... British.
What is it that makes the worlds created by British authors so very... epic? Young Lyra is a feisty orphan, ward of Oxford's Jordan College, in a world so very like ours, but in some ways incredibly different.
For one, each person in Lyra's world is born with something called a daemon(demon), which is an embodiment of their soul.
A visit from her Uncle, and another from the glamorous Mrs Coulter, and Lyra goes from having clay wars with the children of Oxford, to travelling north in search of kidnapped children, and the true meaning of "Dust".I decided to re-read these books for several reasons: a)
I was missing them a lot, and my memory of the details had become somewhat fuzzy. b)
A friend recently said that she found them quite preachy, and I wanted to know if I would feel that when reading them as an adult.c)
I wanted to see if teenage me and recently-twenty-seven-years-old me would have the same taste in books.
For the record, I didn't feel Northern Lights was preachy and, in this instance at least, teen me and current me enjoy the same books.
Something to take into account when entering Philip Pullman's world is that you can't read it as quickly as you might other books, there's too much to take in.
The world, the characters, the history, the geography, the politics and so on. They're all so very realistic, and well put together.
The writing is elegant. Pretty, but without being purple, descriptive without going over the top and info-dumping.
I loved some of the characters, I hated others, I felt indifferent and confused about others still, but isn't that what the human existence is all about? Not everyone's motives are going to become clear to you, and sometimes you find yourself shaking your head at the weird logic, or lack thereof, that another person chooses to adhere to.
Philip Pullman has managed to capture so much of OUR world in this book, so we can't help but find Lyra's world believable. So much of it is our world, but certain things are just that little bit unusual, different, strange.
Anyway, rather than gushing on about the book, I'll let you read and decide for yourself. The thing that has stuck with me most, from one reading to the next, from teenage to now, is that there's actually nothing WRONG with the book.
There are scenes I don't like, for sure, but they are crucial to the story, I understand that.
At no point in Northern Lights(Golden Compass), do I find myself pulling my hair out, banging my head on the desk, SCREAMING at the characters that they are stupid. The characters are never stupid for the sake of making something happen in the story,
and the story doesn't bend over backwards to give the reader a happy ending.