There are many books in the world where one read simply doesn’t do them justice. There are some books that have to be read, if not over and over again, at least more than once. Three of these such books are Northern Light, the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass, or ‘His Dark Materials’ if you want to sound fancy.
Northern Lights focuses around the young girl Lyra, who lives in a world parallel to our own. This world has many differences. The North is ruled by a kingdom of vicious, talking Ice Bears whilst the skies are roamed by clans of witches. However the main difference is that people’s souls walk beside them in animal forms known as Dæmons. Lyra lives in the stately; Jordan College where she has been left by her uncle Asriel when her parents were killed in an airship accident. However her care-free life is destroyed one day when, hiding in a cupboard in the strictly out-of-bounds retiring room, she saves her uncle from an attempt to kill him by poison. Soon she is whisked away from Jordan College by the evil Mrs Coulter (who turns out to be Lyra’s real mother whilst Lord Asriel is her father) and then rescued by the boat-dwelling Gyptians who take her with them on a mission to the North to recover children stolen by ‘The Gobblers’.
This for me was a great book with a brilliant storyline and superb writing style. The first chapter stood out the most for being brilliantly written and subtly (see what I did there) revealing tiny details which become vital throughout the rest of the trilogy.
I particularly like how Pullman has subtly modified everything about our lives to create Lyra’s parallel universe, from Geography, place names, language, fashion, religion and knowledge of science.
This first book was the basis for the movie ‘The Golden Compass’. But don’t get me started on that. I hated that film, and I mean HATED it.
COMING SOON! I review the next in the trilogy; The Subtle Knife.