Sunday, July 9, 1995

Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass (aka “Northern Lights”) published

First posted 6/26/2020.

The Golden Compass (aka “Northern Lights”)

Philip Pullman

First Publication: July 9, 1995

Category: young adult fantasy novel

Sales: ?

Accolades (click on badges to see full lists):

  • Carnegie Medal (outstanding British children’s book)
  • Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
About the Book:

Northern Lights, or The Golden Compass as it was called in North America, was a #1 New York Times bestseller published in 40 countries. BN It is a young-adult fantasy novel set in a universe in which humans’ souls exist outside of their bodies in the forms of talking animal spirits known as daemons.

The story focuses on “a plucky, wild, courageous, amazing 12-year old girl named Lyra Belacqua [and] her beloved daemon Pantalaimon.” AZThey journey to the Arctic “where witch clans and armored bears rule” BN to find her friend, Roger, who has been kidnapped by the Gobblers. She also must face “her fearsome uncle Asriel [who] is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.” BN

The book deals with “political intrigue in a world VERY much like our own in crucial ways” AZ as well as theology and the Church, all in “the hands of an author who is a great storyteller.” AZ

The book is the first in the trilogy, His Dark Materials, followed by The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. In 2007, The Golden Compass was adapted into a feature film and in 2019, the BBC launched a television adaptation of His Dark Materials.

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